Monday, 19 September 2011

Finale from Madrid

Saturday – I can’t say I was leaping out of bed at 0800 hrs.....but then neither was I crawling in to bed at 2300 hrs the previous evening.  A good day for the Brits as Scott Brash continued to pocket many of the Spanish euros on offer for the speed classes.  He has had a very good week apart from the big disappointment of being the “5th man” and missing out on the Team medal. The big class of the day was the Gran Premio Copa S.M. EI Rey – the baby Grand Prix for horses / riders not qualified for the final of the Individual Championships / riders with 2nd horses; 16 clears meant the jump off was going to be a bit of a hum dinger  and Nick was 3rd to go in the jump off with the 8 year old Big Star – a wow wow round was only just beaten in to second by the last to go Maikel Van der Vleuten (NED).

I took the opportunity of another long break in proceedings (this Show has redefined the meaning of drawn-out) to wander around the trade stands – I resisted the urge to purchase magnums of a rather yummy Rioja but did take the opportunity to inform the occupants of a trade stand promoting an English speaking school....that their Union flag flying at the entrance to their tent...was upside down.  How difficult is it to get the Union flag the right way up!

Sunday – the last day of competition (phew). Yes, they changed the timings again so all the transport plans to the airport had to be changed again. Nick started in 2nd but a great deal of jumping would follow before the Individual medals would be decided.

WHAT A ROLLERCOASTER of a competition.  Plenty of clears to start with in each of the two Rounds but then the 4 faults started to really count.  The pressure was being applied to the top order.... Rolf-Göran Bengtsson sublime......quietly moving up the order to land the Gold. Disappointment for NEDs as, last to go again (as per the Team competition), 8 faults (this time it was Gerco Schröder) cost them a place on the Podium. Germany again on the Podium but it was Nick Skelton and the Widdowson’s 10 year old Carlo who set British pulses racing....ok, so Nick will regret the one down in each round but what a brilliant performance....GBR on the Podium has been a long time coming.

Ben was also very impressive with a 4 faults / 1 time fault, finishing in 12th – Tripple X is only 10 and the youngest horse jumping on the last day.  Peppermill qualified for the last day of competition but John sensibly decided to rest him – he has not long been back at top level competition and he will have an eye on next year.

And so the Championship season for 2011 concludes – I have covered some of the facts and figures but I suspect that this is the first year that GBR has medalled in all four Olympic / Paralympic discipline Team competitions. Add to this the success of many of the Under 21 Teams and the Vaulters, it has been a good year........but there is more we could achieve.  The bywords going forward;

•    Unity of purpose (and not just within World Class / the Teams) it out
•    No compromise approach to performance
•    Do not panic – try to re-create what worked well and do not dwell too long on what did not or where Lady Luck did not smile on us

For now, however, it is time to say thank you; thank you to the horses, to the owners, to the riders, to the grooms (who often receive far too little praise and are sometimes treated very poorly in the way they are looked after at Championships by organising committees), to the staff (World Class and riders’ home teams) to all in the offices at Stoneleigh that support us when we are on the road, to the sponsors and supporters of Team GBR and also to all of you who buy Lottery tickets; the funding we receive makes a very big difference.....keep buying Lottery tickets please!

So what do the next few weeks hold for me..quiet?...Like hell!!  Some of the things on my little list for the next two months;

•    Revisit and revise the London 2012 Plan including roles & responsibilities / accommodation / kit / clothing / accreditation / competition programmes / training camps / transport
•    World Class Programme briefing to the Member Body Chairman / CEOs
•    Recce to Rio de Janeiro (Rio 2016)
•    Write the draft Rio 2016 Plan – we have a number of Working Groups looking at aspects of the Programme
•    Financial reports / performance reports / appraisals
•    Grooms training days
•    Staff CPD (Continual Professional Development) days – this is great stuff linked around communication skills and how o avoid and if necessary deal with, difficult situations – not difficult to find scenarios!!
•    BOA Team Leader Training Workshops
•    Selection Policies for 2012 
•    2012 Owners’ Briefing
•    2012 Selection for the Development Programme
•    A little research project that we are all very excited about
•    Meetings, meetings, meetings to arrange meetings and then more meetings
•    Etc etc

So reasonably busy.  And it is of course the shooting season and I have some really great invitations that I am looking forward to (pour memoire – I gave up a day of Grouse shooting to be at Luhmühlen – Mr CEO of the you know what my bonus {ha ha ha – whatever a bonus is} could be).  Those that know me well, will know that I have managed to shed a few pounds this year (unfortunately some have reattached themselves to me during the Championships (7 ½ as per this morning – but hostilities recommence today) and have also carried out the occasional physical training session resulting in the reappearance of an ability to travel further than 100 metres without having to reach for the claret – I might put this new found skill to the test and follow the hounds occasionally without the aid of an Equus.  Well, I might....Boekelo is on the horizon and I am off to Rio at the beginning of December and straight from Rio to Olympia, The London International Horse Show.

Put the Countryside Race Day at Cheltenham in your diary; 11th November 2011 – Cheltenham have very generously allowed Team GBR to fund raise there and a number of our top riders will be there – there will also be some unique silent auction prizes.......come along and support the Team.

Not sure when I will next be Blogging........never thought I would find myself using that dreadfully modern term.....

1 comment:

  1. that's so awesome, I wanna be a bookie, but after reading your descriptive and appealing posts, I really miss those days of horse rider, thanks for sharing your precious moments!