Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Day Ten 1/2 - Horses in; start line in view

Apologies for the delay....early training time and I have been writing the Blog before breakfast – yes, oh cynical ones, I do write it myself....well until we get very busy.  Hence, we are now on Day 10 ½!

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 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 I feel secure...too right...look what we have moored off Greenwich;

HMS Ocean
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

The office....


  1. Love the fact that the grooms get more recognition now.. Can feel the atmosphere and sense of expectation building.

  2. Thanks for taking the time out to write this, its very interesting getting a feel of the behind the scenes action. Wishing team GBR all the best!

  3. Yay for lots of recognition for the grooms!

    All the very best elite riders acknowledge that their success is massively down to the dedication, love and commitment of that hardy crew...while you're enjoying the Games, take a moment to think of all those girls and guys who will have been working round the clock to produce the very highest standards of care for their precious charges!

    Many thanks for taking the time to write this, Will, and GO TEAM GB!

    (I'm also going to add a 'GO TEAM NZ!' as I'm Scottish and have a special place in my heart for the brave little Lenamore, ridden by Scottish Borders-based Caroline Powell for NZ ;))

  4. Lovely blog, makes you feel part of it. look forward to reading more hopefully :-)