Friday, 27 July 2012

Day Twelve - The cross country is revealed

Oh boy, the world has gone mad. As I type I am sitting in a hotel with a pair of headphones on, watching Team GB V Senegal and wearing jeans. There will be some of my former military colleagues choking on their claret as they read this as the devil cloth (jeans) and watching soccer during dinner were most definitely banned from any Officers' Mess that I had any influence over. In my is the Olympics and that = out of this world sport.

So yes, prior to taking up the reins as Performance Director I served for 17 years: Royal Regiment of Artillery - I am a very lucky person..... Commanding the King's Troop RHA was a privilege and an honour..... I am lucky because I feel that same sense of pride (most of the time - sometimes I want to hit them over the head with a cricket bat and shout read what you have been sent and stop changing your minds!!) working with the team of people I do now. The King's Troop is well represented at Greenwich: Brendan Murray, Mark Fisher, Brian Elliot, Mark Houghton and  a gaggle of Saddlers amongst others.

I seem to have digressed - I suppose you want an update on what is happening with the ponies et al?

Full on training day... Dressage supremo (Tracie Robinson) reports that they looked pretty damn good. Training was followed by the Press Conference......We have spent many hours looking at the impact of competing at home; one of the areas identified was the increased expectation from the Press. We therefore worked on a plan that tried to give the Press access early in the season - this was done by encouraging the riders to hold "open days" on their Yards and we have had various Press days at training and competitions. We have also agreed to do a Press Conference for each discipline post arrival but prior to was the turn of eventing. The equestrian media worked hard to try and keep the focus on sport but there were a clutch of... I will try to be polite... tittle tattle gossip merchants and some of their questions asked of a certain rider say the least...boring.....barely 1* to equate to equestrian competition grading – should they be required to achieve minimum eligibility standards in the same way the athletes have to?!  Hey ho, that is the Games.

The Cross Country opened for inspection today. No, I make no judgement as to the difficulty..the terrain introduces a dimension that is impossible to predict. What I can say is that it is beautifully presented...expertly built and artistically stunning. Some photos.... 

Walking the course
One of the fences overlooking Canary Wharf

And the squirrels....
We cross the Start line tomorrow.... I hope the riders get a full night’s sleep tonight and are not disturbed by firework rehearsals,  the wrong side of midnight (as happened last night)......but then I guess it is the Games and coping with all the distractions is part of the road to medals.  But did they really need to explode fireworks or could they have used dummy ones......


  1. Re the media / press .. there is a very good piece here .. the face says it all.

  2. Looking forward to seeing team GB on the podium getting their medals. x

  3. How frustrating for Zara and the team! It should be about the Eventing! Good luck...! Great blog, keep it coming.

  4. Incredibly impressed that you manage to write a blog on top of all the million other things you must be doing. It is very much appreciated, as it gives those of us who are excited by the equestrian side of things a lovely insight into the backstage life of the games. Thank you so much for doing it. Especially pleased that you gave a shout-out to the hard-working grooms. I wish you all, and your glorious, brave horses, the very best of British luck, and shall be cheering you on this weekend.