"Once I get into my zone, I don't see anything, I don't hear anything. Everything is shut out," Ebeling told NBC News after his performance last week, which was one of the longer breaks between dressage competitions in recent Olympic history.
Foremost dressage expert Kenneth Braddick told ABC News there are both positives and negatives to the long wait between the initial performance on the Aug. 2 and today's competition.
"There's more time to fix whatever mistakes might have been or improve up on them, but the bad side is it's never happened this way before," Braddick said, noting the competition is usually over two days and the "huge gap" there means plenty of time for "head games" and "sitting around getting tense." And just as Rafalca and Ebeling possibly try to improve over the gap, their competitors will as well.
"The worst thing you can do in a sport is overthink and this time they have a lot of time to think," Braddick said.