Monday, 4 July 2011

Dressage day

Day one of the competition – what a beautiful day; warm, sunny but a nice breeze, the Park looks truly at its best!
My feet don’t seem to have touched the ground since breakfast. I got to the venue just after Emily Baldwin arrived. Drivetime looked fab and produced a lovely test that would have been extremely competitive had he been in the competition, but then again he is a regular competitor at 3 and 4* events.
Next up were a round of media interviews, some filming for a short film that’s being made about Equestrian Team GBR and then some work with the BBC. It was great to see Piggy on Breakfast TV this morning!
There was also a lot of media work for the dressage riders that are here to watch the Grand Prix horses go this afternoon; with the eventers - Pippa, William and Piggy also inundated with requests, from radio, tv and news journalists.
So isn’t this great, all this publicity for equestrian?
Well, yes it is and it’s all part of why Greenwich is the perfect place to be next year but it is also a real taster of the extra pressures British athletes will face next year. Don’t get me wrong – I love talking about equestrian sport and how it works, but inevitably as the Games draw closer questions will turn to medal expectations and an analysis of what Team GBR hopes to achieve and these are questions that are always difficult to answer, especially when one of the athletes involved in delivering medals in our sport (the horse) doesn’t know it’s an Olympic/Paralympic Games.
We’ve also had two briefings from Tim Haddaway and his staff. These briefings are giving us a great deal of detail ahead of next year and will really help with the planning. I must admit that I felt a little bit proud to be British when the plans were unveiled, that doesn’t mean to say everything’s quite where it needs to be yet but I refer you back to what it says on the can: it is a Test Event.
So it’s the 4th July and we get to celebrate our divorce from the Americans. We’re running a reception tonight for all the participants in the Test Event, the team officials and representatives of the BOA, BPA and LOCOG.
We’ll then be heading off to dinner with the American team to raise a glass to 1776 and quietly remind them that their army was staffed by rather a large number of Frenchmen, while the British army included many Americans. Confusing thing this international politics.
So....... back to the competition.
William and Pippa both produced great dressage test, with a few errors that unfortunately cost dear........ William, who rode Gaucho, finished on a score of 46.70; Pippa, with Billy Shannon, posted 44.1. Piggy again showed true class delivering an exceptional score in the final session of the day to take the lead going into the cross country with a dressage score of 34.1.
Must dash, the dressage demos are about to start.

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