Dec 12, 2021

Quick Quotes from the Team Tokyo Review at the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention

By Meagan DeLisle - USEA Staff
USEA/ Leslie Mintz photo.

The complete U.S. Eventing Team for the 2020Tokyo Olympic Games sat before USEA Annual Meeting & Convention attendees ready to answer questions from U.S. Eventing enthusiasts on Saturday, December 12. Read some of the top quotes from each Team Tokyo member and keep your eyes peeled for the full video, coming soon on

Boyd Martin

On the cross-country track at Tokyo:

“It wasn’t a massive track, I have ridden a lot bigger courses, but it was pretty intense. It was a jump and then twisty and turny and back and forth, I thought it was a brilliant course and exciting to watch. Even though it was seven or eight minutes, all of the horses were pretty tired and used up at the end. You had to really go for it.”

On the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games in Paris and Team USA’s future:

“America coming into the next Olympics is coming very, very strong. I feel like at the end of this year America all of a sudden has eight to 10 really good horses and if they can stick around and keep improving in a couple of years, I think we have the strongest team possible that I have ever been associated with since I have been in America.”

Phillip Dutton

On important takeaways from the competition:

“For me, I think I can take a leaf out of Tamie’s book and get overseas a bit more. It’s fair to say it is easier to win in America than it is overseas, I think that’s the way to sort of see where the standard is and to raise our game a bit more than I probably have.”

On the new format without a drop-score and only three riders:

“I don’t agree with it, but it is what it is. Every other year, Tamie would have gotten a start. Now there are only three, which is every four years, we just have to move ahead. Things are changing. We all have to stay current. We can’t sit in the past and say ‘this is what it used to be or how it should be.’ We have to look ahead and get better.”

Doug Payne

On the pressure of his first Olympics:

“You end up spending a lot of time away from your family and away from anything that is normal, so I tried my best to normalize what was happening and try to, in some ways, remove the significance of the experience because for me at least to mentally do my best I need to take some of the pressure off.”

On going into dressage:

“I am super lucky to have had Quinn now for quite some time. He is 17, so in many ways, there are no surprises. Within reason, I know exactly what he is going to do and how is going to react to things. With a short test, it’s a four-minute dressage test, there aren’t that many movements so if you screw something up it’s going to make a big impact on your score. I do a lot of visualization of riding through the test and I treat it like I would a jumping round. If there was a half-pass or a change, what was the failure mode? If something goes a little bit sideways, I wanted to have my response sort of queued up to be a little bit quicker to adapt if something goes abnormal.”

Tamie Smith

On her experience as traveling reserve:

“I really just wanted to be there and gain as much experience as I could watching all of the other riders train. We watched a lot of the Olympic dressage riders from all of the other countries practice because we happened to be there while all of the dressage riders were there.”

“The most important takeaway was to never be in that position again, and I just have to be better. That was the important lesson of the trip. That being said, I gained a ton of experience and I feel like a different competitor. I was fortunate to have support to stay in Germany and compete multiple horses that fall and it felt like it was career-changing being able to be there and be at the Olympics watching how the ins and outs are.”

And as a bonus, USEF Director of PR and Marketing Carly Weilminster asked the hardest-hitting question of the day: If each rider could select one horse of any of the Olympic equestrian divisions, which horse would they ride?

Dutton and Martin both selected show jumping rider Ben Maher’s 12-year-old KWPN gelding Explosion W (Chacco Blue x Untouchable) owned by Maher, Pam Wright, and Charlotte Rossetter. Payne also opted to go with a show jumper but stayed close to home by selecting Team USA show jumping rider Jessica Springsteen’s 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding Don Juan Van De Donkhoeve (Bamako de Muze x Diva Van De Donkhoeve) owned by Stone Hill Farm. Smith didn’t stray far from the sport of eventing selecting Great Britain Team Gold and Individual Silver medal-winning event rider Tom McEwen’s 14-year-old Selle Francais gelding Toledo de Kerser (Diamant De Semilly x Ariane Du Prieure II) owned by Fred and Penny Barker, Jane Innis, and Ali McEwen.

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About the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention

The USEA Annual Meeting & Convention takes place each December and brings together a large group of dedicated USEA members and supporters to discuss, learn, and enjoy being surrounded by other eventing enthusiasts. The USEA organizes multiple seminars in addition to committee meetings, open forums, and tons of fun! The 2021 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention is taking place at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque Hotel in Albuquerque, New Mexico, December 9-12, 2021. Click here to learn more about the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention.

The USEA would like to thank the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention Sponsors: Adequan, Bates Saddles, Gallops Saddlery, Mountain Horse USA, Nunn Finer, Nutrena, Parker Equine Insurance, RevitaVet, Rebecca Farm, SmartPak Equine, Standlee Premium Western Forage, D.G. Stackhouse & Ellis Saddles, Sunsprite Warmbloods, World Equestrian Brands, Area X, and Saratoga Horseworks.

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