Riding high: Jillian Terceira said she is looking forward to being with the rest of the Bermuda team at the Games and trading Olympic pins. *Photo by Ras Mykkal
Riding high: Jillian Terceira said she is looking forward to being with the rest of the Bermuda team at the Games and trading Olympic pins. *Photo by Ras Mykkal

FRIDAY, JULY 27: Jillian Terceira had her birthday on Monday. The veteran equestrian is hoping her good birthday fortune carries over as the Olympics start today. The jumper’s strong work ethic and determination has carried her to a second Olympic berth, but this time she is banking on her experience from the Beijing Games and her top 10 performance at the Pan Am Games to help her make the jumping finals on August 8.

How old were you when you started equestrian and what got you involved in the sport?

I started riding lessons when I was eight years old with Linda Sousa. My grandfather had racehorses and he bought my older sister a pony. I wanted to follow in her footsteps.

What do you enjoy about the sport?

I enjoy the spiritual connection with the horse. I enjoy the speed and thrill of competition.

I enjoy the sound of the horses hooves galloping and jumping, the sheer power of a horse.

I enjoy the fact that men and women in equestrian sport compete on an equal level.

When did you believe or what made you think you might be good enough to be an Olympian some day?

I was always taught that you must work hard to be successful. I always had a love and passion for horses. I trusted God wouldn’t give me this determination and drive if I didn’t have the talent to succeed.

What are you taking from the last Olympics to help you this time around?

I am taking confidence with me from jumping at the last Olympic Games and my eighth placement at The Pan American Games.

I know I must ride and jump my own game plan.

I must handle the stress involved. I must believe in myself and my horse.

I must rely on my team to pull it all together and rise above.

How did having two horses to choose from help?

Being the only qualified rider and having done so with two of my horses definitely secured my selection. It was just a bonus in case of a horse’s injury or illness.

Besides the competition, what are you most looking forward to about the Olympics?

I am most looking forward to walking in the Opening Ceremonies with the Bermuda Team, living and sharing with them at the Olympic Village.

And, of course, trading Bermuda Olympic pins!

What’s your goal for placement at the Olympics and why?

My goal is to qualify for the final on August 8. It would be a huge accomplishment for Bermuda.

Age: 41
Olympics: This is Terceira’s second Olympics having competed in Beijing in 2008.
Horse: Bernadien van Westuur
Age: 11
Schedule: The jumping competition is scheduled to start on Saturday, August 4 at 6:30am (Bermuda Time). The second round of jumping will take place on Sunday, August 5 at 7am. If Terceira qualifies for the final, that is scheduled for Wednesday, August 8 at 8am.