Sport

Albert to quit equestrian after today's show jumping

BY PAUL A REID Observer writer

Tuesday, July 31, 2012    

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LONDON, England — Jamaican two-time Olympian Samantha Albert will compete in the Olympic Games for the final time today when she participates in the show jumping, the third and final section of Individual Eventing at the historic Greenwich Park in London after yesterday confirming her retirement.

Albert had just completed an incident-filled cross country course on her horse Carraig Dubh, a 12-year-old grey thoroughbred, and confirmed she would not be seeking to qualify for the 28th Games in Brazil in 2016, so she can spend more time with her two sons and family.

The 41-year-old was cheered around the 28-jump course by a large group of Jamaicans, led by her mother, brother, sister, both sons and a number of other well wishers, whom she described as "the loudest on the course today".

It was a less than desirable result for her as she picked up 54 penalty points completing the course in 11 minutes 27.57 seconds, outside the 10-minute span designated for the event, for a two-day total of 121.20 points after she picked up 67.20 penalty points in the dressage on Saturday with the show jumping set for today starting at 10:30 am (4:30 am Jamaica time).

Up to late yesterday, Albert was in 59th position, last among those who had completed both disciplines, but at least 15 riders had failed to complete the course.

Among the reasons for her slow time, she told reporters afterwards, was her horse losing a shoe on his right foreleg from the third fence, which caused him to slip each time he tried to push off; a fall at the fifth fence and a delay after a rider ahead of her on the course had fallen.

Looking ahead she told reporters: "I just want to complete (the event) and do the best I can... yes I am disappointed that they had the stop, the horse did not deserve it at all and I would have liked to have come home clear, but that's what Eventing is all about, this is what happens."

It will be a race to get the horse ready for today's start as she said they would have to work through the night to get him ready as having galloped so long without a shoe, the hoof would be sore.

"We first have to ice his foot all night as he is going to be quite sore; he has a shoe and pad on to protect his hoof and he galloped all the way from fence three without a shoe so we are going to have to work all night to just get it right for him. He is a very tough horse and he will fight through it, but if he is in pain he will let us know."

Anthony Pasmore, the equestrian team leader here, said they had got offers from another team's farrier, a specialist in equine hoof care, to help them make sure the thoroughbred will be able to make it to the start.

Albert said she knew something was wrong early on. "When I turned at fence four he slipped a little bit and I thought that's not right he is usually quite surefooted and at fence five when I went to do the turn he just completely fell over."

She added: "He was very good to get up and keep going, but he was slipping every stride he took, that leg was just doing much more than the other and I thought running up the hills I could let him run because he is a full thoroughbred, but he just kept slipping going up the hills as well."

She explained that while the horse wanted to run she explained that "we can't go as fast, so you just have to support him. I nearly fell again at another turn coming down the hill, and you can't go full pelt, you just have to support him. He is a good horse to keep going as it is a horrible feeling for him, every time they go to take it off it slips away from them, so it was very good to keep going for me."

While the 54 penalty points might not have been as bad as it could have been, Albert, who punched the air with her left hand after clearing the final hurdle, conceded: "I would have liked to have gone much faster and clear, but you know this Eventing, you never know what can happen, until I slipped over I would never have thought fence five would have caused any problems, that wasn't my worry at all."

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