Today we railed our way to Greenwich for the second (and by far the most exciting) stage of the Equestrian Three Day Event, the Cross Country. Just in case you didn’t spend your early teens filling your room with posters of ponies instead of pop stars like I did, a Three Day Event consists of three elements, dressage, cross country and show jumping over, as the name suggests, three days. Well actually four days for the Olympics as there are so many competitors the dressage test is spaced out over the weekend, but you get the idea and I love it because it’s a test of skill, endurance and agility of both the rider and the horse regardless of age, gender or class.
Equestrian Eventing is one of the oldest sports in Modern Olympic history, first featuring in the 1912 Olympics with an Endurance test, steeplechase, Prize jumping (show jumping to you and I) and Prize riding (a dressage test). In the 1952 Helsinki Olympics women were finally allowed to compete, but only for the dressage test as jumping was considered too dangerous for the lady folk. However since 1964 it has become one of the only Olympic sports where men and women compete together and against each other.
The current GB Team at London 2012 consist of Olympic veterans Kristina Cook on Miner Frolic, Mary King with Imperial Cavalier and William Fox-Pitt on the brilliantly named Lionheart and has debuts Zara Phillips with the aptly named High Kingdom and Nicola Wilson on Opposition Buzz. After good results in the dressage Team GB came galloping into today in Bronze position but thanks to brilliant clear rounds by all and Wilson, Phillips and Cook coming in way under the given 10mins and 3 seconds have ended the day in Silver medal place.
However scores are close at the top, with only 4 faults between Team GB and the Germans at the head of the table, the equivalent of one pole down in the Show Jumping tomorrow. Team GB also can’t start celebrating yet, having Sweden hot on their hooves from their current Bronze medal position, but tomorrow looks set to be an exciting and intense one where things could easily come down to the very last pole.
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