WINCHESTER — Despite a rough start at their Olympics on Sunday, 38-year-old Ramiro Quintana and horse Appy Cara still have a chance to earn a medal thanks to a strong performance Tuesday.

Appy Cara is an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding co-owned by Valley Proteins co-owner Michael Smith, who dreamed of having a horse in the Olympics from a young age. The other co-owner is Randy Hogan, CEO of Pentair Industries.

Quintana and Appy Cara’s first competition for the Argentinian team — individual jumping — took place Sunday. During the competition, horses and riders had to clear 13 fences, with penalties (called faults) assessed for knocking down a rail, refusing to jump, falling and exceeding the time limit. Ideally, a rider will not accrue any faults.

In an email sent to The Star on Tuesday, Smith described the first round as "very scary" due to an incident on the course where the ground gave out under Appy Cara, causing him to slip. Had the horse fallen, Quintana would have been eliminated from the Olympic Games.

After the near fall, Appy Cara and Quintana tried another jump, but struggled, giving the duo a total of seven faults. According to Smith, when they returned to the fence that caused them fits, they jumped it "brilliantly," punching their ticket to the second day of competition with 60 riders.

On Tuesday, Quintana and Appy Cara logged only one fault. While the Argentinian team, comprising four riders and their horses, missed the cut, Quintana and Appy Cara made it to the third round of the individual competition, with a total of 45 riders and their mounts.

Today, if Appy Cara and Quintana finish 30th or better, they will advance to the medal round Friday, at which point the slate is wiped clean. All horses and riders start with no faults.

"We are so proud of this horse and rider for staying focused and strong," Smith said.

— Contact Josh Janney at jjanney@winchesterstar.com

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