Dressage Horses Raring to Go in London

Yesterday was not only a very full day but also contained lots of contrasts for me.? At the start was the vet inspection that came before the show jumping phase of the 3-day event (aka eventing).? At the end of the day was the vet inspection for the grand prix dressage, which will start Thursday.? (By the way, Jan Ebeling and Rafalca go early in the rotation, and if you haven’t been paying attention to those names, go to the Colbert Report online.)

So, of the 3-day horses and the dressage horses, which ones would you suspect would be the most likely to run their riders off their feet’? Time?s up.? it’s a real treat to see a tiny woman trying to trot alongside 1,500 pounds of raging warmblood.? They were almost all pretty wild.? (Well, the sweetie ridden the 71-year-old from looked like she was more interested in where her next sugar cube came from than pulling his shoulder out ? and shhh, her name is Whisper.)? Often the horses passaged out of the ring after their trot-up, looking clearly like they expected to be worked ?for awhile in hand.

I found the tension during the trot-up for the dressage horses disconcerting.? I wonder if it is a reflection of the high-stakes nature of this game.

On the other hand, the team that looked truly relaxed was the American team.? I was really proud of them.? Team official Jim Wolf said that Steffen Peters is setting a wonderful atmosphere that is keeping everyone loose and relaxed.? The other team members are also speaking highly of Peters? leadership. I am really looking forward to how Rafalca does tomorrow and how the rest of the team fares.

I got some eye candy today and was able to watch a training session of the U.S. riders, who looked in fine form.? I also saw some of the Germans and Canadians.? FYI, most riders (maybe 3 in 4) on all these teams were wearing helmets, something I don’t recall from past Olympics.

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