The green light is on and everything is under way. The first Horse Inspection has been completed and I am pleased to report all the British horses passed; as usual they looked great thanks to the hard work of the Grooms.
The British delegation is also arriving in force with the possy nearly at full strength....there will be 28 from Team GBR here by tonight – this is such a valuable opportunity for all to see the venue and get a feel for how things will work next year. Each day I am here I fall more in love with this venue – I have now walked the course and had an opportunity to see at close quarters the work that has been done of the cross country going ....or footing as our cousins from across the pond call it. I am not sure what superlatives to use to describe how successful the work on the going has been....when you walk on the course it is lush green grass and good / good to firm going – go off the course and it baked and compacted hard ground and many bare patches where the grass has been worn away. The locals should be demanding that STRI work on the whole park.
Ok, so there are things that need to be looked at for next year...or rather tweaks...or even re-designed. Let’s start with re-designed..... Many will know Peter Whitehead, an extremely experienced doctor in the eventing world who has worked with the World Class Programme and Team GBR as the lead doctor for many years. Peter is the Venue Medical Manager (big chief quack) and is walking around resplendent in his LOCOG issued poloshirt.......which is Dutch orange in colour...Dutch orange I ask you; we have enough problems beating the Dutch (especially in Dressage & Jumping) and now we have LOCOG staff implicitly supporting them: re-design time.
We have happy Grooms; oh how I wanted to say that: One of the great advantages of Greenwich is that the Grooms are accommodated in Devonport Hotel (which is 200m from the stables) – at last Grooms are getting good quality accommodation and good quality food; as it should be as Grooms are one of the hardest working groups of people at a Games.
Competition starts tomorrow; it is interesting taking a step back and watching how a Home Games Test Event differs for me as a Team Leader (Chef de Mission in non Games talk). At this stage I would be fairly relaxed; everybody would have arrived and a day of dressage is not taxing for me (take it away Tracie Robinson) but tomorrow we also have the Guinea Pig (the test rider for the judges) arriving, Emily Baldwin, who will be riding Drivetime and I have a little suspicion she will have one of the best scores of the day! We have also organised the dressage demo horses and riders, who are Henriette Andersen riding Louis D'Or, Hannah Biggs riding Weltzin and Amy Stovold riding Macbrian......they will be riding Grand Prix tests following the completion of the eventing dressage – this will test the Organisers!
Check your diaries; tomorrow is the 4th July....and there is a large American delegation here at the Test Event; and they think we are sad about them winning their Independence in 1776....not so American cousins, not so.......and p.s. there is no such thing as English (United States) – Microsoft please note.
Must rush as we have the first of 6 briefings about to start; these will be briefings by LOCOG which aim to explain to us how everything will work next year.....