"RUSTY today was very fresh and I was afraid that I might have problems because of the wind. I made too many mistakes and I hope that I will not make them again on Wednesday." - Ulla Salzgeber - Germany " /> "RUSTY today was very fresh and I was afraid that I might have problems because of the wind. I made too many mistakes and I hope that I will not make them again on Wednesday." - Ulla Salzgeber - Germany " /> "RUSTY today was very fresh and I was afraid that I might have problems because of the wind. I made too many mistakes and I hope that I will not make them again on Wednesday." - Ulla Salzgeber - Germany ">
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Riders' Comments about the Grand Prix Speciale

Sweden's Jan Brink & Briar

German favourite Ulla SALZGEBER lost the advantage she took into the Grand Prix Special in windy conditions brought on by the Meltemi.
After several mistakes from her 16-year-old gelding RUSTY, mainly in the flying changes, the German has a slight advantage with a total score of 76.524 per cent, finishing the test with just 74.84 per cent.
Defending gold medallist Anky van GRUNSVEN (NED) closed the gap and is now on a score of 76.004 percent after winning today's competition with 77.8 percent.
Her ten-year-old SALINERO coped well with the conditions after having worked twice in the morning and nearly bucking his rider off at the first work out in the early morning.
Third place before the final goes to Beatriz FERRER-SALAT (ESP) on BEAUVALAIS who rode the second best performance in today's Grand Prix Special.
Deborah MCDONALD (USA) and BRENTINA are ranked fourth now, delivering the third best test of the day.
Martin SCHAUDT (GER) dropped back to 8th place after his gelding WELTALL, lost his nerve.

Ulla SALZGEBER (GER) - leading rider
On her performance:
"RUSTY today was very fresh and I was afraid that I might have problems because of the wind. I made too many mistakes and I hope that I will not make them again on Wednesday."
On preparation for the Grand Prix Freestyle of the Individual final:
"I know that it is always possible to have someone who is coming from behind. To be in the lead so far doesn't mean that I will win. The difference between Anky VAN GRUNSVEN (NED) and me is getting very small and I intend to fight to be in the first place."

On her performance:
"I am very happy with the result. SALINERO was very fresh today. I had to ride him earlier this morning and do a lot of cantering. Fortunately no spooky things happened today and I felt my horse was really good, more relaxed than in the first test."
On her leg injury:
"After the surgery I had last September my leg has improved and it does not bother me at all nowadays."
On her horse, SALINERO:
"My horse is a very hot horse, very willing to go and this suits me very much. We find a perfect balance. He is very young though, only ten and I hope that once he gets older he will settle."
On her individual gold medal in Sydney and how she feels being so close to the leading rider:
"I do not feel like I am defending my gold medal here because in Sydney I won with BONFIRE. I am here for myself and for my horse to do well and I focus on that. It is not my responsibility how the others perform. I am here for myself to do a good test."
On her performance:
"We did very well my horse (BEAUVALAIS) was not bothered by the wind. We had a clean test and everything went pretty well."
On why she hasn't competed in the past few months:
"My horse had some problems caused by shoeing. He is fine now. I would rather not have been in Aachen (Germany) last July though he was fine, I decided to keep training for the Olympic Games in Athens. I wanted him to be in top form here."

Rafael SOTO (ESP)
On his performance
"My horse was tired today. The last few days he had a cough. Maybe that is why he did not perform so well".
On the Freestyle test of the Individual final 
"The point is to be in the final with good chances to win a medal".
"Although Beatriz is doing good their difference is quite big now".
Juan Antonio HIMENEZ (ESP)
On his score
"I am not pleased with my score, nor with my performance today".
On his horse
"My horse is not very well today. We had problems with our communication".
On the Olympic Games
"I'm very pleased with our Team winning the Team silver medal".
On his performance
"I am not pleased. I would have prefered a better score"
On his horse
"My horse is very young and not very experienced. Following of an accident we had this year, we did not participate in many competitions. This is is only our third show for this season".
On the Freestyle test of the Individual final
"I do not think I can claim a medal. My goal coming here was to finish in the top ten. The music I chose is by Toto. The same I used in Aachen (GER) last July when we placed third".
Deborah McDONALD (USA)
On her performance
"I am very excited. I had a few mistakes in the transitions and the noise coming from the flags affected her more than I had thought it would. In general it was not something that bothered me a lot".

On his performance
"I'm absolutely thrilled with what we did today and  what makes it even more important for me is that six weeks ago in Aachen (GER) I came last. I'm absolutely delighted. On the last extended trot I did a mistake, but it was only because I tried to be smart and I paid the price".
On his horse
"He is amazing, he has a marvelous walk and is very talented. All the problems we faced today came from the fact that he is very nervous and not very experienced. Fortunately he likes to work and he is not difficult to train. There is absolutely nothing that he couldn't do".
On the Freestyle test of the Individual final
"Usually I don't do music because he is afraid of it and so I chose a very simple program. The song is 'Here comes the sun'. To be honest I wasn't expecting to be here and this is why I chose such a simple program. It might be that I use Richard DAVISONs' (GBR) program, but that will be a last moment decision".
On his Team performance
"We had a very good Team here, but the problem is that you can't expect everyone to do well on the same day".
Robert DOVER (USA)
On his performance
"It was fun to ride today. Everyday I learn something more about my horse. He is a wonderful animal. Everything went great today except the second pirouette that I overcollected. I am very happy with the score though when I finished I felt so satisfied that it didn't matter. Today I trusted the horse and I let him lead the way. He prooved that he gives a lot when I let him. On Saturday I was too worried about the Team result".  
On the Olympic Games
"I learned a lot since the last Olympic Games. I am thrilled today because my parents were watching me and they saw me doing a good job".
On his score
"I am not happy with the score, but I cannot say I did a good job today. I did too many small mistakes. My horse was not focused, he felt a little tense and maybe he was nervous before entering the arena. I probably pushed him a little bit too much, but this is what you have to do sometimes in order to take the best out of your horse. I don't know if I will be in the Freestyle because there are many good riders still to follow. I think it will be very difficult for me to qualify".
Hubertus SCHMIDT (GER)
On his performance
"I really made a silly mistake in the flying changes. It' s been long since the last time my horse made a mistake in this exercise. My goal was to qualify for the Grand Prix Special and so I did, so I am satisfied".

On her performance
"I am very happy, even though I believe that we could do better in today's test. However I feel really happy with our performance, because it has been a hard year for me and my family".
On her horse
"He is a very special horse and not very easy to handle. I would say he has a strong character. The first day he had a problem with the applause and the whole atmosphere. Today he seems to have gone through that". 
On the Olympic Games 
"At the begining I was very worried, because this is my first time at the Olympic Games and I changed my trainer only last month. It is a very special feeling when you are at the Olympic Games and it is very different from any other competition".
Guenter SEIDEL (USA)
On his perfomance and the marks he got from the judges 
"I enjoyed the beginning of our programme, my horse was very good. As we went on we got better and better. As for my marks I would describe them to be fair, but generally I believe that the U.S team was marked very hard by the judges".
On his horse ARAGON  
"It is quite noisy out there because of the wind and the flags moving. My horse got a little bit worried that is why he swifted his tail all the time. He tried so hard, he didn't make many mistakes".
On why he didn't parade with ARAGON after the Team medals ceremony
"He is really nervous and I didn't want him to hurt anybody. He can get out of control sometimes. He gets hypered in the arena, but in the stables he is more relaxed, he even sleeps when he is travelling by plane".

On the close competition in Dressage
"This time in Athens there have been about five teams competing to take a medal back home. This is fair, how it always should be and the countries get better in Dressage year after year".

On her performance
"I'm very pleased with him, today he did better than in the Grand Prix. I came here as a reserve and I didn't know what to expect. The goal was to make it to the final and I believe that I have very good chances".

On the Freestyle test of the Individual final
"Anky VAN GRUNSVEN (NED), should make it. Ulla SALZGEBER (GER), is not easy to beat so the gold is probably hers. I think that the silver would be great".

On the Olympic Games
"The feeling is great and it is even better today. There is more crowd in the tribunes and more smiling people around. I feel really lucky to be here".

On his perfomance
"I could have ridden a lot better today. I did a stupid riding and I feel like I want to shoot myself. My horse and I usually don't have the lack of communication we experienced this morning".
"I think she was a little bit tired, because this has been a long programme for her. My mare is a fantastic horse with a lovely personality. She is strong minded and gives everything back. She will show you when you have done a mistake and crossed the line. When she competes she loves being in the box, with all these people watching her. Her groom gave her the nickname "Big bird" and I think it suits her fine".
On the Olympic Games
"These are my third Olympics, but I think that these are the best Games I have ever competed in. The atmosphere in Athens is fantastic, everybody here is so friendly with us. This is a lovely experience".
On his performance
"I am satisfied. I did a few mistakes. The extended trot didn't go so well. They were all my mistakes".
On his horse
"He is sensitive to the crowd and especially to the sounds. I have him since he was three and during the first three years he was very difficult to handle. Most of the time I had to dismount and drag him out of the arena. Through the years it got better and better".
On her horse
"He did as good as the other days, although it has been a long test and the weather was really hot. He was really fresh and I am proud of him. He looks like an easy horse, but he is not. He is too forward. These are his 1st Olylmpic Games and he is the youngest horse".
On his perfomance with CAVAN
"We got a very good score and generally I am very satisfied with my perfomance. Everything went as planned today. I didn't go so well on Saturday and today I really wanted to do a good test. My overall score and place in the rankings would be totally different if I had done well on the Grand Prix. My horse and I have started working together just recently, so there are many things we have to learn for each other".
On the Olympic Games
"This is the first time I participate in the Olympic Games and it feels great to be here. I rode in my  first International competition only last May, everything happened very fast for me".

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