“I did notice four or five horses really taking a spook to that,” British rider Harry Charles said, noting that the figure’s presence at obstacle No. 10 provides quite an eyeful for the equines.
“As you come around, you see a big guy’s” butt, Charles added after the qualifying round for the individual jumping.
“It is very realistic,” Israeli rider Teddy Vlock said. “It does look like a person, and that’s a little spooky. 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.”
Reuters also reported that the statue appeared to rattle some horses.
A few pairings stopped short of the barrier, and did not advance to Wednesday’s finals, AP noted.
Jessica Springsteen, the daughter of iconic rocker Bruce Springsteen, was among those who failed to qualify on Tuesday. But her problem seemed to happen at a different barrier than the sumo one. She and her horse, Don Juan van de Donkhoeve, were docked 4 penalty points for “knocking down a rail around the 11th obstacle,” NBC reported.