"If Mary thinks spending time with a horse is luxury, she doesn't have an inkling about the animals nor the sport!"
Kudos to Princess Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and her horse Digby who competed in the London Olympics for Team Denmark in dressage. Here are a couple of articles based on BT's interviews with Nathalie before and after the competition was over. Seems Papa Richard watched the whole thing from home. Never a day's rest for the senior Wittgenstein. Too bad we were never treated to shots of Nathalie's young son Konstantin. He must have been home with his paternal grandparents. Don't think Richard does babysitting!
Sick Prince Richard: Gold For Nathalie Before I Die
Princess Nathalie can provide more metal for Denmark.
Today, the Danish dressage team can win another medal for Denmark in the team competition in dressage which will be decided this afternoon at the Olympics in London. The team's Princess Nathalie, together with Anna Kasprzak and Anne van Holst, must defend the bronze medal dressage team which won at the Olympics in Beijing in 2008.
Princess Nathalie today gets her second chance to win a medal when Greenwich Park south of London hosts the world's nine best dressage nations. Princess Nathalie's father, Prince Richard, is a great support for his daughter and her sport, even though he for years was seriously ill with cancer. In 2008 Richard Prince talked publicly about his hopes for his daughter. "I had been very ill and was near death from cancer, but I will not die before Nathalie wins a gold medal. If that happens, it happens in London", said the prince at the time.
Today the picture is different. For although the Danish riders have performed brilliantly at the Olympics, two of the great dressage nations, Britain and Germany, are currently in the top spots on the podium. Nothing is settled yet, and she and the rest of the dressage team still have good medal chances. Princess Nathalie has ridden all her life, and has previously stated that the horses come first, even in spite of her royal rank and file.
And her interest in equestrian activities didn't come from strangers. It's the princess's mother, Princess Benedikte, patron of the Danish Equestrian Federation, and chairman of the association Dressage Friends, which aims to promote Danish dressage sport. Princess Nathalie's Olympic horse, the 15-year-old gelding Digby, are even bred by the family from Berleburg.
Denmark is before today's Grand Prix Special at fourth overall, after the United Kingdom, Germany and Holland, where Holland's closest competitor to the bronze medal. If dressage team rider for medals, it is thus for the second time that Princess Nathalie gets hanged Olympic metal around his neck, and they will also help to tangent the eight medals, Team Denmark had dimensioned itself before the Olympics began. Princess Nathalie rides on the course as the last Dane at 5pm Danish time.
A Happy Princess Nathalie Got Royal Backing: "The Olympics Have Been Fantastic"
Denmark's royal family was represented on the pitch when Princess Nathalie rode her final ride in the individual dressage competition Thursday afternoon. Also in the spectator rows were royal visitors. Queen Margrethe and Queen Anne-Marie had both found their way into the popular grandstand to cheer on their 37-year-old niece, who again today defended the Danish colours. And Princess Nathalie was glad for the royal backing.
"It's fun. They are usually never there", says Princess Nathalie with a laugh when BT captured her over the phone after the ride. Besides the two queens was the third of the royal sisters, namely, Princess Benedikte, who is Princess Nathalie's mother. She was just out of sight, where she supported her daughter.
Again today there was a fine visit to spectator rows when Princess Nathalie had to ride. Both Queen Margrethe and Queen Anne-Marie were in place. "My mother was there with them, but my father stayed at home in front of the TV", said the princess, who is generally satisfied with the day's ride, although there were a few minor errors in the flying changes where the horse gallop switches for each or for every two steps.
"Again, there were some errors in the series, otherwise we would have gotten over 80 percent. But I'm happy. It's been a great Olympics", says a happy princess Nathalie, who however, has no suggestions as to why her otherwise very experienced gelding suddenly made mistakes in an exercise which normally he has mastered in full.
"I have to go home and think about what might be causing it. But sometimes it's just like when you have to do with animals", says Nathalie, who at previous Olympics could return home with a bronze medal in the trunk. This time, however, it's an empty suitcase for medals. In spite of a nice ride, the result was either a medal to the team or in the individual competition.
"We knew that if the Dutch had their strong cards - Adeline Cornelissen, in particular - in tow, it would be difficult. If they didn't have her, we would have had a great chance to get bronze", says Nathalie, who believes that the best thing about the Olympics has been that it has been held in London. England is known as a great nation for horses and horse competitions were held in the middle of the metropolis.
"It has been fantastic. The atmosphere has been fantastic. The mood has been quite extreme. We have never ridden in front of a backdrop with so many spectators before. And an enthusiastic audience, who also understand something of the sport. They certainly didn't come to see synchronised swimming addition is not hither to check ball water, but in order to see the horse. They have an interest in horses", says an enthusiastic princess, who has a new target when she returns home from the Olympics. Despite his 15 years, her horse Digby remains in good spirits and fully enthusiastic about the sport. Therefore, the princess rates high for competition next year.