It was probably a good idea: a life-size statue of a sumo wrestler to bring a bit of local color to the Olympic show-jumping arena. But someone forgot to check with the horses. Jumpers are complaining that the statue, crouching menacingly by the 10th obstacle on the course, has been spooking their mounts and may have cost some their places in Wednesday’s finals, the Associated Press reports. “It is very realistic,” said Teddy Vlock of Israel. “You know, horses don’t want to see a guy, like, looking intense next to a jump, looking like he’s ready to fight you.” Vlock trotted his horse up to the jump before his qualifying round on Tuesday so it knew what was coming. But others were not so careful and several pulled up in front of the jump in question.
The AP said the statue is facing away from the riders, who have to take a sharp turn just beforehand so “the first thing horse and human see is the wedgie created by the wrestler’s mawashi.” “As you come around, you see a big guy’s [butt],” the British rider Harry Charles said. (Although, being British, he probably used the word “arse.”)
“I did notice four or five horses really taking a spook to that,” Charles said.