He arrived in Treffen warmly welcomed.
Three golds and one silver at world championships, two golds and two silvers at European championships, four times Dutch champion, world record holder in Freestyle, winner of the World Dressage Masters…
In his career he has broken so many records, won so many medals and yet the Olympic Games were a premiere for Edward Gal.
Although the likeable Dutchman was actually nominated for Athens in 2008, he had to withdraw when his horse Lingh sustained an injury. It was a bitter disappointment, as the dream of taking part in the Olympics came after years of work with one and the same horse.
Edward Gal delighted his fans and the press all the more with his performances on Glock’s Undercover, a horse with no competition experience. Even after only training together briefly, the Royal Dutch
Warmblood gelding and his star rider showed great promise in the dressage arenas of the world, carried off the Dutch championship title, qualified for the Olympic Games in London and took home Team bronze and ninth place in the individual event.
The man whose skills have drawn huge crowds across the world to what used to be rather quiet elitist dressage arenas and created a global following has found a new horse partner.
Edward Gal, is always being in the public eye a curse or a blessing?
“Maybe both (he laughs)? No, seriously, I’m delighted that so many people are moved by dressage. Generally speaking, if you’re an athlete you shouldn’t just set an example when other people are around. That’s why it doesn’t really affect me at all. The situation is more difficult when you need some peace and quiet to prepare for events.”
How do you prepare for them?
“First of all, I always go to Frits – that’s how we call Glock’s Under-cover at the stables. It’s like a kind of conversation between the rider and horse. Then I usually go to our truck and listen to music. It gives me a lot of positive energy and I bring it with me when I get into the saddle.”
Did you expect to be so successful so quickly with Glock’s Undercover?
“We knew we’d found a fantastic horse that was completely inexperienced in competition.
Which was why we always looked ahead. What happened in London was an absolute gift for us all. Frits is incredible, he wants to perform and was so excited with all the noise, the masses of people, the cameras that he almost exploded under me at the beginning. But he trusted me and did a wonderful job and all that after only four months of training together. After all, it was only our third Olympic Grand Prix Special and a premiere for this freestyle to music. I cannot thank Mr and Mrs Glock enough for their confidence in me and the amazing horse. I just look forward to the future!”