In 120 days, athletes will start competing in the equestrian competitions at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
And the German Olympic Equestrian Committee is aiming for its riders to bring home three to five medals across the displaces.
After the unbelievable success story of recent years, the German team start the eventing competition as favourites. In London four years ago, the team took the team gold medal whilst Michael Jung won the individual Olympic title. They repeated this at last year’s FEI European Eventing Championships at Blair Castle. But they are taking this in their stride.
“The pressure is good,” said German coach Hans Melzer. “The Olympic Games are always special, after all, they are only held every four years.
Melzer doesn’t believe the eventing competition will be a dressage contest, saying: “The track in Deodoro has the most sophisticated profile of all three Olympic Games, in which I have been working as a coach. Very long, hilly, but with very good soil.”
Melzer has the luxury of having no shortage of top riders to choose from. However, this year for the first time he must choose only four to compete instead of five, making his final decision harder to make.
German event rider Julia Krajewski said: “My chance of a place in the team stands at 33.3 percent, to be the reservist, at 41 percent.” For the season, the 27-year-old graduate trainer has set personal goals: the first four-star start with her top horse Samourai du Thot in Luhmuehlen and “if things go well, a start in Aachen”.
Another rider in contention is two-time Olympic Champion Ingrid Klimke, who recently underwent surgery but has returned in winning form. She said: “Thanks to my good stable manager my horses, despite the break, are in good shape and in a good mood.”
With Horseware Hale Bob she plans to compete at The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials in May. Because of the better performances in dressage the Hanoverian mare SAP Escada FRH is currently Klimke number one choice for the Olympics.
The shortlist of the final candidates for the team to go Olympic Games will be made on 18 July following the CHIO in Aachen.