Friday, 19 August 2011

What a day for British dressage

The end of the second day of team competition in Rotterdam and all our riders are happily clutching their gold medals... yippee! Yes Carl, Charlotte, Laura and Emile you have done us proud! Words cannot do justice to the amazing performances each of you have put in over the last two days. Wow!
This is a historic day, the first dressage gold ever for GB!  To do it by such a margin - 12 points clear of the Germans - and to break so many records and personal bests along the way is just sublime!  I am a very happy PD!!
A good day in the office by anyone’s standard and testament to the hard work of a whole team of people both here and at home. During yesterday’s celebrations there was a lot of talk about just how far we’ve come as a dressage nation in so short a time... the difference now is we have a system that works and we believe!

 Dr. B, Emile and Carl all regaled stories of Championships as recent as 10 and 20 years ago when selected British riders were simply packed off to the continent to fend for themselves. Hard to believe when we looked around at the assembled party, each with an integral role to play.
Yes we get friendly stick from other nations for the sheer numbers of support staff here adorned in blue Toggi team shirts but it’s a team that makes all the difference and the Brits the envy of the world... what enables US to make this possible is our World Class Programme and the Lottery funding provided through UK Sport. I’ll say no more other than to thank each and every member of the team for their contribution; our chef d’equipe, owners, grooms, physios, farriers, vets and everyone else who play their part in ensuring our operation runs with military precision... and deliver!
I think the enormity of yesterday’s achievements will take a little while to sink in. What we might rather forget is a certain farrier’s singing from last night after losing a bet with a certain Miss Dujardin...!  Proof you can take a man out of Wales but....!
So today provides a welcome down day for the horses and riders and a chance for us all to catch our breath and prepare for the Special tomorrow. There is plenty of work still to do, who knows what the rest of the week will bring.

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