Tuesday – arrival day for the first of our horses; I suppose this was the moment that it really hit home – London 2012 is upon us, the wait is over – if they cannot dance, jump and gallop by now they are not going to learn! The horses all met up at Mark Perry’s Yard (Dartford area) and travelled to Greenwich (via the ESF) on Mark’s horsebox. Mark is very much part of the Team and always drive the Para-Equestrian Dressage team.
The horses arrived to be greeted by a crowd of volunteers and were unloaded quickly and efficiently under the watchful eyes of Pedens. Escorted to their new homes, they all looked very well and interested in their new surroundings. Their arrival was recorded for posterity by the internationally renowned and friend of Team GB, Kit Houghton and also by a cameraman....the latter making the error of trying to follow the horses in to the Stable Block (Barn in US speak) – eviction followed.
As soon as the horses were settled, the grooms unpacked their kit and started turning the two tack stables in to “home from home”. Grooms must be some of the hardest working people at the Games and give their all so that their charges can perform to their very best...I always like to think that the nucleus of equestrian success is a trilogy of rider / horse / groom. It is one of the major benefits of Greenwich that the grooms will be living in the De Vere hotel at Greenwich, which sits within the perimeter of the Venue. When I spoke to grooms from a number of Nations this morning (Wednesday) they were very very appreciative of their accommodation and the facilities within the “Grooms’ Village”. It certainly throws the gauntlet down for 2014 and especially Rio 2016!
The riders were transported by the BOA from Mark Perry’s directly to the Olympic Village where they moved in to their rooms and visited the Dining Hall before heading to Greenwich on the “bubble to bubble” transport. Now, “bubble to bubble” is not some new age multi dimensional transportation system but the description of a transport route / method that leaves from within one secure venue and drops off within another secure venue – hence avoiding the need for the occupants to go through the airport style security that one has to go through every time you enter an Olympic Veneue.
The jigsaw is coming together. We now have eventing horses, eventing grooms, eventing riders, eventing staff and eventing kit.....all together in one place.....RESULT. The horses were ridden and lightly worked prior to time being called on a busy day. Busy.....even the farrier had to don his apron to carry out some minor running repairs (worry not....the farrier was not running).
|Team farrier, Brendan|
Riders returned to the Village....one rider then called Yogi Breisner to ask if Yogi could collect said riders camera that had been left in the stables....with room keys attached to said camera – the roles of a Team Manager / Chef d’Equipe are many and varied.
Yogi and I had an hour to kill before the chefs d’Equipe meeting so took a stroll around Greenwich. I must be careful not to air my personal feelings about what has happened around security; 17 years in the Army means I have fairly strong views about soldiers being used to cover other peoples’ failings (assuming that is what happened...) and if there are soldiers that have missed out on leave, I hope that they are suitably recompensed; we owe our Armed forces a great deal at the moment. So back to walking around Greenwich...do I feel secure...too right...look what we have moored off Greenwich;
Wednesday, GBR were allocated an early slot in the Arena (Field of Play in Olympic speak)......and what a Field of Play it is...the atmosphere is going to be electric.Am now back in our office catching up on some admin....the sun is still shining!
|View from one of the stands overlooking the London skyline|