"My horse likes classical music and flamengo tunes. You see he is Andalusian and he carries the rtythm in his blood". - Rafael Soto (ESP) " /> "My horse likes classical music and flamengo tunes. You see he is Andalusian and he carries the rtythm in his blood". - Rafael Soto (ESP) " /> "My horse likes classical music and flamengo tunes. You see he is Andalusian and he carries the rtythm in his blood". - Rafael Soto (ESP) ">
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Rider Comments from the Grand Prix Freestyle

On his perfomance with BRIAR
"I am quite happy with my horses' perfomance, I think he was very good today. Maybe a little tense everytime he got close to the right corner. We had a very nice warm up and I felt relaxed before getting in the arena. BRIAR was quite hot at the beginning, but he became very good coming to the end of our programme. He was fresh and I am happier with him today than in the Grand Prix Special, when he was not on his best day".
On his marks
"I am not pleased with what the judges have given me. I came here in order to compete well and get a medal. I guess if you finish the competition in sixth or seventh place it is a good showing. The Olympic Games are the most important competition for all the athletes".
Robert DOVER (USA)
On his perfomance
"It was great, so much fun to ride. It is just a shame that my horse became a bit nervous in the beginning, because something bothered him at the back of the stadium. Then he lost concetration for a while. It is a pity because we could have had an 80% today. The way he moved was like he was flying".
On his horse KENNEDY
"Nothing is simple with KENNEDY. Even the walk is a complicated thing, but he has become so smart now and he is waiting for the crowd to cheer him on. I am with him since October and we have been working since February. Of course we made a lot of changes to the programme, now I know the music so well that I focus on the riding, everything worked out perfect".
On Dressage
"Dressage is an art. It is one way to look for the greatest truths in life. It is very unfortunate that Dressage world is so much different than the Jumping world, because the judges do not face a fault in Dressage as if they had one rail down. They become either very ungenerous or unseeing".
Hubertus SCHMIDT (GER)
On his perfomance with WANSUELA SUERTE
"Again those stupid two flying changes. I cannot believe we the same mistake again there"
On Olympic competition
"This is definetely not a horse show like any other in the world. It lasts over one week, something that makes the horse aware that there is something extraordinary going on".
On his expectations
"I wanted to be one of the top three German riders. I wanted to be among the the top 10 riders".

USA's Debbie McDonald & Brentina & Invasor photo ©Athens2004

Deborah McDONALD (USA)
On her perfomance 
"I am not happy with myself, but I am pleased with my horse. It was out of my control, it is just one of those times, that the body doesn't work with the brain. At least I lived the Olympic experience and I can return back home with my head up high".

Juan Antonio JIMENEZ (ESP)
On his performance with GUIZO
''We were very good today. I am very satisfied with him. He made no mistakes. It went pretty smoothly''.
''I have to thank him a lot. For all the good moments that we had and for being here. He has a very particular personality".
On the medals
''I think it is going to be a girls affair. The medals will definetely go to Ulla (SALZGEBER), Anky (VAN GRUNSVEN) and Beatriz (FERRER-SALAT)''.
Guenter SEIDEL (USA)
On his performance with ARAGON
''I am happy with my performance and very pleased with him. I was wondering how he would handle the electric atmosphere and I was concerned whether he could deal with this situation but he proved that he can. He is getting valuable experience from all this. I realise that he is a horse that can handle most situations. He was very focused today''.
On her performance with LANCET
''It felt very good. At the beginning he was a bit afraid of the shadow but then he did great. I made a big mistake at the beginning but the rest of the test was good. He was a bit low today and I had to work more on him''.   

Spain's Rafael Soto & Invasor photo ©Athens2004

Rafael SOTO (ESP)  
On his perfomance with INVASOR
"I am very satisfied with my horse.The day after the Grand Prix Special he didn't feel well, he had caugh. Today he gave 100% of what he can do. He enjoyed his perfomance, so did I. INVASOR has won many Freestyle events. We have been working on Freestyle for nine years so I guess it is time to be rewarded for the hard work".
On why he chose flamengo music
"My horse likes classical music and flamengo tunes. You see he is Andalusian and he carries the rtythm in his blood".
On the consequences of throwing his hat to the spectators:
"The problem that I am facing right now is that I don't have another hat".

On his performance
''I am extremely pleased. It is my personal higher score. My freestyle was not that advanced so I said to myself that I will come here and do my best''.
On his horse
''He is a very powerfull stallion. If you manage to control him he brings out the best in him. I have been riding him for three years now. When I got him he was very unexperienced but we saw in him so much talent. We worked a lot and now he brought me to the Olympic Games. He is not that easy to ride. He is quite sensitive to the noises and to people but he has matured over the years''.
On his first Olympic Games
''If you asked me a year ago if I would come to Athens I would say that this is my lifetime dream. Going to the final is just amazing. This is the best place I've ever seen. I feel blessed''.
On his performance with CAVAN
''I am pretty satisfied with what I did today. In general it is difficult to say what we expected before we came here. The music is new for me and my horse but the program is old. I did this program with this music only yesterday. There are things we can still improve but I am happy with what we did today''.
On his perfomance with ESCAPADO
"I did my best. The half passes were bad and at the first piaffee he stopped because he got nervous".
On his programme
"This programme was not originally mine, but Richards' (Davidson). I worked on it yesterday for the first time. Before I came here I didn't think I would make it that far and reach the final. The programme that I had prepared was a lot more simple and it was not appropriate for the final. Generally I am a happy man by competing in the final, because my horse is very young and he can get nervous".
On his perfomance with WELTALL
"I am not satisfied at all with what I have done. My horse got nervous and was afraid during the whole test. He was not concetrated at all. It is the third time we participate in the Freestyle together. Maybe the Olympic Games came two years sooner for us. We need more training and I am sure that WELTALL will do better".

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