Our NZ Olympic eventers have been undergoing their final Olympic preparation this week at a team camp in Surrey, United Kingdom. The camp has involved dressage training with well known UK international dressage judge Stephen Clarke, along with jumping training and a little bit of tennis thrown in for exercise.
The eventing team was officially welcomed into the Olympic Athletes’ Village for a night, to validate their accreditations, receive their uniforms and generally get the lay of the land prior to heading back to the village on July 24 as they get ready for the start of competition on July 28.
Eventing Team welcomed into Athlete Village
The team was welcomed into the village by the Olympic Athlete Support Team and other New Zealand athletes. Thanks to team vet Ollie Pynn for capturing the welcome haka on video. Go to the Equestrian Sports NZ Facebook page to view the video: Click here
Eventing Team at Breakfast in the Village & Vet Ollie Pynn under the Olympic rings
While the athletes and management were on their village visit, the grooms were left at camp to unpack and sort out all the new goodies, including gear trunks, rugs, saddle blankets, buckets, feed bins and other stable equipment. Our sincere thanks to the team at Westgate EFI for their sponsorship of the team equipment - it is something we value greatly. Once the eventing competition is completed, the equipment will then be used by our dressage representative Louisa Hill and our two Paralympics riders Rachel Stock and Anthea Gunner.
Grooms sort all the Olympic stable gear
After a night in the Athletes’ Village, it was back to camp base in Surrey for our riders for an open media session and jumping training. The team has now headed back to their respective homes to rest up and prepare for the final stage before the team and horses move into Greenwich Park in a few days
Meanwhile, Louisa Hill and Bates Antonello have moved up to the UK and are now based at the Oldencraig Equestrian Centre in Lingfield. Louisa says AJ is doing well and enjoying his new surroundings. Louisa and AJ will continue to train at Oldencraig until they move into Greenwich Park on the July 28.
Rachel Stock and Anthea Gunner’s Paralympics preparations are in full swing. Rachel is still based with Hayley Beresford in Germany where they are thoroughly enjoying training hard. She’s thrilled to be learning so much from Hayley , who she says has “been there done that” for Australia. Rachel will move to the UK next week , setting up base at Oldencraig for the next month.
Anthea Gunner and her horse Huntingdale Incognito (Mask) have been training hard at their base in Canterbury. It is just under a week before she and Mask head to the UK. Mask has started his long journey from Christchurch today (Thursday ) and is on the road to Auckland where he will rest before flying to the UK on July 25, with Anthea and her groom, Jenny Affleck leaving NZ on July 24.
Mask all set for the first leg of his trip to Auckland
Once they all arrive in the UK, they will be based at the Bishop Burton College Equine Centre. This is a great place and has all the facilities that Anthea and Mask will need. Rachel and Ricki will join Anthea at Bishop Burton on the August 16, when they will both compete in an FEI Para-Dressage competition. This will be their final warm up competition before going into Greenwich Park on the August 24.
It is all happening! After a long wait and a lot of hard work the countdown is well and truly on for the start of the 2012 London Olympic Games.
To see more photos click on our "Photos" page on the Olympic 2012 page or go to the Equestrian Sports NZ Facebook Page.