Thursday, 6 September 2012

All done and dusted; home at last

The last day of competition at the London 2012 Equestrian Venue was another successful day for the British; Sophie Christiansen once again demonstrated her domination of 1a with Gold whilst Deborah Criddle and Sophie Wells rode their hearts out for 2 more Silvers. So the final medal haul for the GBR Para-Equestrian team was 5 Gold, 5 Silver, 1 Bronze. More medals than in Hong Kong, same number of Gold; but achieved with less athletes. Will some have wanted a different colour to their medal? Maybe but we have once again shown that GBR sits very at the head of affairs in this sport. It is a first for GBR and I suspect a first for the sport that one Nation won medals in each of the 5 Grades in both the Individual and Freestyle medals: This is what we set out to do and so I feel it is “job well done”. 

The Paralympic Equestrian Medal Table

These Games have seen a cataclysmic leap forward for the sport of Para-Equestrian Dressage. 10 Nations won medals and the quality of the horses, athletes and the standard of performances seen was demonstrated by the high marks awarded by the judges; the score that is now needed to win medals is far higher than ever in the past. 

I admit that there were a few glasses of happy juice consumed on Tuesday evening but it was still an early start on Wednesday to strip out the stables and pack all the kit in to Sarah’s horsebox for the journey back to Bedfordshire and the storage that Sarah kindly provides at home. There are also going to be some very very happy chickens at Sarah’s as they are going to have some of the netting seen at many of the venues to provide them with shade and shelter them from the wind & rain; happy chickens.

The horses, most grooms and Rod Fisher were collected by Mark Perry. Mark is a hot contender for the “going beyond the call of duty” award. On Monday he drove up to clean a certain rider’s boots...said certain rider being very very superstitious. How dare you doubt me? 

Most of the staff departed Wednesday morning although Michelle Tipper has handed in her grooming kit and moved in to the Paralympic Village to help the athletes who will stay in London (enjoying a range of social events, media commitments as well as supporting other sports).

I returned to the hotel, changed and headed up to Russell Square for a meeting with UK Sport to discuss.....the Rio 2016 funding submission. No rest for the wicked! I am home now and all unpacked. ENDEX!
The Olympic Equestrian Medal Table
 At the Olympics, 8 Nations won medals and GBR was top of the Medal Table for Equestrian. GBR Equestrian won 7.69% of the Team GB Olympic medals with 2.40% of the Team GB athletes. 10.35% of the Gold medals won by Team GB were won by Equestrian athletes.

An iconic Venue where historic architecture met modern facilities design. An equestrian venue that can be used as a benchmark for future Games and that demonstrated how a predominately “temporary” venue can have the feel of a permanent venue. A venue, that combined with the LOCOG staff, volunteers, military and officials left me very very proud to be British. Add to this the success Team GB and Paralympics GB had means I must now hunt for a different word to that of amazing. I do not think the whole experience has really sunk in. We set out to achieve more medals across more disciplines / grades combined with assisting Greenwich be the “best ever” equestrian venue. I think we achieved that and I hope that we now have a base on which we can build; united, focused and without discord. I fear the last of these hopes will only be party achieved.

Views from the top of the West Stand

One of my abiding memories will be standing right at the top of the West Stand watching a Medal Ceremony where GBR had won Gold; looking around, able to see across to the Olympic Stadium or across to the Millennium wheel it struck me just how privileged I have been to be part of a truly historic moment in history for the sport of equestrian in Great Britain.

To sum it all up;

 Farewell for now.


  1. Thank you Will, your blog has always been a brilliant read and a place to find behind the scenes info not available anywhere else. Thanks for taking the time to update us who were'nt lucky enough to get tickets. Roll on Rio!

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