Lancashire based musician and composer Tom Hunt had a very special reason for watching the Olympics this week.
He felt sheer jubilation as the British equestrian star Charlotte Dujardin won bronze in the individual grand prix freestyle dressage finals yesterday, claiming her sixth Olympic medal.
For Tom, who lives near Garstang, had written the music for Charlotte and the music for all of the Great Britain team members taking part in the Tokyo Olympics' freestyle dressage contests.
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Tom, who also composed the music for Charlotte's Gold Medal win in the Rio Olympics five years ago, revealed that preparing for this year's Olympcis had been a close run race against time.
He explained that an eleventh hour decision was made for Charlotte to change her horse. But as Tom writes his music taking into account both the rider, the horse and the sequence of moves he had to move swiftly to prepare new music.
It meant that Charlotte's success on Wednesday was especially pleasing, coming the day after the Great Britain team also won bronze in the team dressage event.
Tom, 34, a former pupil of Stonyhurst College who attended Leeds College of Music, said: " It was really good because we've not had long. There was a change of horse during the final selection - obviously we needed a new plan and different music. "
With the Olympics imminent it meant there were quarantine regulations to consider and the horses needed to be transported to Japan. Tom had to make do with watching videos of the horse Gio and said: "It wasn't the ideal situation - all things considered it's gone pretty well. You ask the rider about the character of the horse and have to get a feel about what they want for the horse. Every horse has a chraracter in the way they move. If you look at Gio he's quite a small horse with really strong movements but because he's quite a small horse the music does not want to be too powerful for him.The music was all recorded and produced from scratch specifically for this free style."
Tom said all three pieces of music for the GB team, each with a time limit of six minutes, were very different . For Charlotte Dujardin riding Gio the music was inspired by contemporary orchestral film music, for Lottie Fry riding Everdale it was inspired by tropical dance music and for Car Hester on En Vogue the music was inspired by disco music in the style of the Bee Gees.
Tom is renowned for his specialist work and composes for freestyle dressage contestants from all over the world and for riders of all standards. He has also composed award winning tracks for short indie films including The Equestrian.
His main instruments are the piano and the guitar. He said: "Everything starts with the piano and I build from that. I've never formally had lessons for piano, I'm self taught. I did classical guitar from the age of ten or 11."
Tom was measured up for an Olympic blazer, but given the constraints of the pandemic, decided not to travel out to Tokyo.
Watching from home, he said in part he wished he had been able to be there, but savoured the success anyway. He said: "It definitely needs to be celebrated. It has been a very intense few weeks getting it all sorted."
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