Friday, 26 August 2011

Day two of dressage in Luhmuhlen

Great debut: Laura Collett & Rayef
They say bad things happen in threes....... we have had our three:

            1.         A sartorial malfunction during the first Horse Inspection

            2.         A geographical navigational error during the first dressage test

And 3......Well 3 is the very sad news that Polly Stockton has had to withdraw Regulus.  When Polly rode out this morning she reported that the horses did not quite feel 100%; following discussions with the Team staff the decision was made to withdraw the horse.  Not an easy decision but the right decision for the welfare of the horse.

Polly was due to be first in to the dressage today so it was not the perfect start to the day but as I repeat....bad things happen in threes and we have had our three.  Ireland put in a sub 50 score with Camilla Spiers and then shortly afterwards Frank Ostholt (GER) entered the Field of Play (or is it the Field of Dreams):  Frank is married to Sara Algotsson-Ostholt (SWE, and lying overnight in 2nd on 36 penalties).  Frank produced a blinder, dancing in to 1st place, scoring 34.00  - the Germans went Ostholt mad and waived their flags yipping and yapping in delight.  Meanwhile our little pocket battleship – newly launched at senior championships – warmed up under the tutelage of her long time mentor Yogi Breisner and dancing choreographer supremo, Tracie Robinson.  Laura Collett – Young Rider and Junior Champion  and first year at seniors.....follows the new leader, a German, in to the dressage arena ....... in Germany; I think that can be the definition of pressure.....

This young lady might not be very good at retaining keys and seems to spend many hours with the hair straighteners (please forgive the lack of technical knowledge of ladies’ coiffeur) but this is one cool customer on a horse.  Throughout the Test she matched Frank stride for stride 8 or 9 for 8 or 9........but for one mistake she would have been neck and neck with him at the last halt but in to second she went on 35.40.  Charlotte Dujardin in Rotterdam, Laura Collett in Luhmühlen – great debuts. 

Back to last night.  The Organising Committee had laid on a get together.  Unfortunately, we had also arranged a buffet for all the Team GBR riders / staff / owners at our hotel (Hotel Sellhorn, Hanstedt).  Having spoken to the Organiser, Mandy Stibbe, Bridget Parker, Allan With and myself represented Team GBR at the Reception leaving the remainder to enjoy the buffet at the Sellhorn – as we left we could see that this was going to be a mouth watering feast (it was being laid out as we departed).  The Reception was great fun and followed the normal procedure of drinks and then speeches.  But then a slight change:  At the Opening Ceremony, all the riders signed a plastic, painted horse and this horse was auctioned at the Reception.....for charity.  What was the charity you ask.......... the equivalent of GBR’s UK Sport; yes the charity was the German sporting (all sports) elite funding agency.  Is it all falling in to’ve got it.....we are having our butts kicked in the Dressage arena and now they want us to help fund their funding agency!!!  We made it back to the Sellhorn to catch the end of our buffet – it was clear all had had a great time; the hotel is really looking after us well!

I keep reading that we are here to defend our title and to try to win the 8th or is it 9th Europeans in succession.  I do not see it that way.  We are here to try and produce the very best performance each rider / horse can produce in each of the three phases (accepted....there can be tactics on the cross country course with “long routes”).  If we win having done that then great....if we do not then we need to keep working to get better.  We know the Germans will be ahead of us after Dressage (major surprises apart) but eventing is not just about dressage.....

So now we await Mark King and William Fox-Pitt.......

Meanwhile back in Rotterdam the Jumping Team get ready to contest the last round of the FEI  Nations Cup:  GBR are safe from relegation, DEN are already relegated.....the battle to avoid the second relegation slot is between USA / BEL / FRA – nerves will be tested and the result will be very interesting....

1 comment:

  1. that is awesome, I remember when I was in Luhmuhlen, they had these pay per head sportsbook services when you can make lot of cash if you are lucky!