Saturday, 2 July 2011

The Test Event is gathering pace!

Horses started arriving yesterday and the GBR horses came in today; this is a little more complex than might at first appear. All the horseboxes have to go via an Equestrian Staging Post where full security checks are carried out prior to the horseboxes going on to Greenwich. This process has all gone very smoothly although there will need to be small tweaks ahead of next year.

The venue is looking superb......compact and of course different to what we will see next year (LOCOG have worked very hard to keep an element of the Park open to the public). It is very surreal watching horseboxes driving in to a Park in the middle of London but as I have already said......this is most certainly an Olympic/Paralympic equestrian venue that is being created. This Games will be another glorious feather in the hat of Greenwich Park.....a Park with a rich and varied history. It is completely beyond me why some do not want to share Greenwich Park with the rest of the world through the auspices of the Games.

The stables are a brand new design, based on an American barn layout; rubber matting on the floor and wide aisles – they should be perfect for next year. For the Test Event there is one all weather training area and one grass arena: the Main Arena (the Field of Play in Olympic talk) is of course all weather.......but.......built on a stage!! The ground drops away by about 1.5m and to avoid digging the ground out to level it or bringing in soil, LOCOG have had a stage built to give a level Field of Play. It is quite a feat of engineering but it will certainly do the job. Yes, oh yes, our stables are bedecked in Union flags (not, not, not the Union Jack) and Team GBR stable drapes: Brendan Murray and Sarah Armstrong have been busy again.............

Take a look at Google Earth and zoom in to Greenwich Park.... you will see just how brown the grass was when the image was captured on 27th June 2010. Well now much of the Park is a pristine green, thanks to the work that has been done to the cross country course.......

Socially we are managing to survive..... dinner with some of the USA delegation last night..... WEG 2010 all over again. One sad story to report..... Amanda Bond (Chief Executive of British Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage advisor to LOCOG) was testing the bell (not electric) today, ahead of the start of the dressage..... and the donger fell off. That is what the Test Event is for.

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