When skilled rider Nayel Nassar exited the ring after Spherical 1 of the inaugural $150,000 CSI3* CaptiveOne Advisors Grand Prix of Greenwich (Connecticut), the 30-year-old was happy with his horse’s efficiency however disenchanted to have an unfortunate rail down.
As the category went on, nevertheless, rails stored falling for different rivals; not a single rider went clear. That meant a jump-off for the 9 horse-and-rider combos who had 4 faults. There, it was Nassar who crossed the timers first to take the win aboard Igor Van De Wittemoere, a 13-year-old bay Belgian Warmblood gelding (Cooper Vd Heffinck—Dahlia Vd Heffinck, Orlando) who was additionally Nassar’s Olympic mount.
By any measure it’s been an excellent yr for Nassar, who rides for Egypt. After spending the primary a part of the yr in Wellington, Florida, he competed in CSI5* occasions throughout Europe from Might to July making ready for his first Olympic Video games in August. In Tokyo, he and Igor carried out nicely and made it to the person remaining. A month later, Nassar took Spruce Meadows (Alberta) by storm with spectacular wins aboard Igor, Darry Lou and Oaks Redwood, all of whom he owns with Evergate Stables LLC, in addition to high podium finishes with a lot of the remainder of his string. As if he hasn’t been busy sufficient this yr, he’ll marry fellow present jumper Jennifer Gates this weekend in a ceremony in upstate New York.
We caught up with Nassar to speak about his Greenwich win, his expertise in Tokyo, and what’s subsequent.
Inform us concerning the Greenwich Grand Prix and that four-fault leap off.
It was actually a blended bag of feelings. My horse [Igor] jumped nice, so I used to be barely disenchanted popping out of the ring. I assumed he jumped too nicely to not be clear. However then we stored watching, and fences stored coming down, and when there have been 5 left, we began to prepare for the jump-off as a result of it simply appeared like that was the course the category was going. Clearly, it’s a really uncommon factor to occur, and I don’t assume I’ve ever been in a state of affairs like that. However I knew that if I may simply get to that subsequent spherical that I’d have simply nearly as good a shot as anybody as a result of Igor has been so dependable, and he’s so quick. So yeah, it was a special type of class, however it was actually nice to be part of it and glad that we may come out on high.
Watch their successful spherical right here:
Your loved ones was there to look at this class. Do they get to see you trip typically?
No, in no way. My dad and mom stay abroad, however they’re right here in New York for the marriage, and I’ve a bunch of associates on the town as nicely. I didn’t assume they’d wish to drive an hour outdoors of the town to return watch, however they have been actually enthusiastic. It’s been a very long time since we’ve all been collectively at a horse present, so it was great.
You and Igor have shaped a formidable partnership. What’s he like, and the way have you ever developed him to this stage?
He’s so cool. He has a ton of blood, most likely some of the bloody and delicate horses I’ve ridden. I’ve to say it’s been a little bit of a course of with him. We acquired him in the beginning of 2020, type of as a backup Olympic mount, however the COVID delay gave us an additional yr, and he actually stepped up and have become my Olympic horse this yr. That further yr was large for him.
The final yr and a half have actually simply been about getting the gears into him. Similar to with any horse, it’s been about discovering the precise buttons and determining what makes him tick. It’s been a little bit of an extended course of with him simply because he’s so delicate, however he actually looks like he’s hitting his stride now at age 13. I all the time type of suspected that he was a horse that may most likely peak in his older years, primarily due to how a lot vitality he has and the way he has to be taught to channel that the precise manner.
Let’s speak concerning the Olympic Video games. Was using there a dream of yours?
Oh, 100%. Completely. For a primary Olympics it was little bizarre due to the COVID state of affairs, however in a manner it was one to get a really feel for what the programs appear to be and what to anticipate on the subsequent ones. It was an extended journey for positive. It took a variety of planning, however ultimately to make it to the person remaining and to be there with the crew for the primary time in so lengthy, it was actually particular. I used to be actually happy with the way in which Igor held his personal through the week.
It was the primary time that Egypt has had an Olympic equestrian crew in 60 years, right?
Right. It was actually superb to get a crew certified and to do it so simply. We have been head and shoulders above the remainder of the nations who have been attempting to qualify [from Group F, representing Africa and the Middle East], and that’s a place that we labored onerous to be in. I had a variety of satisfaction being there representing my nation, and to do it as a crew was so enjoyable since you get to spend time along with your teammates and actually bond. It was positively a exceptional week.
You’ve already had an unimaginable yr, and also you’re doing nicely within the rankings. What’s subsequent for you, and what are your targets sooner or later?
I’m attempting to not get too wrapped up within the rating lists. I’ve an unbelievable string of horses proper now, so I can afford to indicate fairly steadily with out feeling like I’m taking an excessive amount of out of the horses. I consider that your rank is only a product of how nicely you handle your horses, and I’m simply going to attempt to keep constant and never over leap my horses. Our greatest purpose on the horizon might be the FEI World Championships subsequent yr. After which, in fact, the International Champions League and all of the 5* Grand Prix now we have right here within the states.
Final query, how’s our favourite horse Lordan doing?
He’s doing so nicely. He was right here in New York, however he simply headed right down to Florida a few days in the past with the remainder of the horses. He’s 17 this yr, and actually he feels nice. He had a simple summer time in New York, however I jumped him a couple of instances final week. My purpose is to hopefully get him up and working by the top of the yr after which most likely give him one other half season after which retire him. He feels too good proper now to cease. I’d prefer to maintain going when he feels this good, and he’s been actually recent and nonetheless having fun with leaping. Clearly he doesn’t owe me a lot, so I’d similar to to provide him one remaining push, after which he’ll most likely retire in some unspecified time in the future subsequent yr.