Seigneur Medicott is constructed like a ‘marathoner’, can battle it out in robust cross-country programs and is a frequent flier, unfazed by the change in environment. Dajara four is formed like a ‘powerlifter’, may also help pocket double the factors along with her sleek jumps however is an anxious traveller.
Like different Olympics-bound Indian groups, Fouaad Mirza is looking at a variety headache of his personal. With the Tokyo Video games lower than two months away, the Indian rider has to finalise which one in every of his two horses will accompany him: Medicott, the skilled gelding, or the younger mare, Dajara. “Each are wholesome and match,” Mirza says. “On paper, it’s very arduous to decide on between them.”
However select he should.
On Sunday, within the Polish village of Baborowko, Mirza confirmed his qualification for the Tokyo Olympics. The 29-year-old had received a quota final 12 months however in response to the foundations, he needed to meet the Minimal Eligibility Requirement to have the ability to compete on the Video games, which start on July 23. He accomplished the formality over the weekend, to formally change into the primary Indian rider to make the lower for the Olympics since Imtiaz Anees, who competed in Sydney as a wildcard.
Not like different competitions, the 29-year-old will be capable to take only one horse to the Olympics. Nonetheless, very similar to in every other sport, selecting the correct teammate will probably be essential. And as Mirza explains, in the case of choosing horses, is as a lot about analysing their temper as it’s about type. “The expertise of travelling round helps,” he says.
Medicott, nicknamed Mickey, has travelled a lot that taking a flight – the mode of transport to Tokyo – doesn’t trouble him a lot. “Mentally, he could be a bit extra settled however for Dajara, the whole lot is new. That’s the case normally with mares; if one thing needed to change, it places them off a bit. So wherever we’re, our routine with them needs to be as shut as attainable to dwelling,” Mirza says.
Dwelling for Mirza and the horses is Bergedorf, Germany. Over the following few weeks, Mirza will conduct a variety trial of kinds, placing them by means of totally different exams.
Medicott, he says, is what they name in equestrian phrases a blood horse. “It means he is sort of a racehorse. Mickey is constructed like a marathon runner. He has a lighter physique sort. Dajara, then again, is constructed extra like a powerlifter; heavier and stronger,” Mirza says.
Dajara’s body, although, places her at a drawback. Her dimension and the muscle mass she carries could make her torpid in a heat and humid local weather, which is how Tokyo is anticipated to be throughout the Olympics.
Medicott has already confirmed himself in such circumstances. Astride the now 15-year-old, Mirza broke India’s 36-year-old medal drought on the Asian Video games by successful a silver medal at Jakarta 2018. It has been the very best level of Mirza and Medicott’s lengthy relationship. However then, Medicott bought injured and in his absence, Mirza teamed up with different horses, one in every of them being Dajara.
Dajara is 5 years youthful than Medicott. She lacks the expertise and temperament of competing in large occasions however her one high quality might be essential in Tokyo: leaping. On the Olympics, the rider-horse crew will compete in three rounds – dressage, eventing (which additionally features a leaping part) and leaping. “That’s Dajara’s forte, so it’s undoubtedly good for her,” Mirza says.
Each are roughly on the similar stage in dressage whereas Medicott pips Dajara within the cross-country. “Mickey holds a bit extra expertise as he has been across the block, has achieved some troublesome competitions and is aware of his job,” Mirza says. “Dajara is simply beginning to do troublesome programs. However in Poland, each of them did rather well on a course and in circumstances that had been actually robust.”
Poland was the final probability saloon for Mirza, who has spent a number of sleepless nights making an attempt to fulfill his MER. Nearly the complete 2020 season bought wiped off due to the pandemic. After the Covid-19 scenario bought beneath management and equestrian reveals started throughout Europe earlier this 12 months, a herpes virus amongst horses lower brief the season.
Quarantine guidelines for Mirza in addition to his horses made it harder for him to compete in quite a lot of occasions, leaving him with simply two alternatives to safe his qualification. “There was one present in Britain however as a result of Brexit, the logistics of travelling there with horses was very difficult. So Poland was my final probability. If I had missed this, the Olympics would have gone as properly,” he says.
Mirza says the stress, which frequently brings the very best out of him, has jolted him into motion so near the Olympics. Not solely him, the horses too. “They each put up a convincing efficiency and confirmed we’re on monitor to peak on the Olympics,” he says.
All three of them will probably be vaccinated – Mirza bought his first Covid-19 jab whereas the horses bought inoculated for the herpes virus — however only one horse will journey with Mirza. And he says they are going to be feeling the stress too. “The horses will be capable to really feel the stress. They’ll really feel the urgency along with your grip after which rise to the event together with you. Therefore, the partnership between the horse and the rider is the whole lot,” he says.