It’s all go as WEG cranks up to a new gear as the clock counts down to the first competition of the Games tomorrow morning.
In the world of dressage a late change in the time of the horse inspection left many nations not realising the time had been brought forward. However, Kiwi hope Julie Brougham and Vom Feinsten cruised through it. Coach Andrea Raves did the honours and by all accounts did a super job – thanks to Steiny’s sweet tooth. Julie however had a shaky moment with a bout of food poisoning yesterday. Everyone is feeling John Thompson’s pain after he had to withdraw JHT Antonello before that first horse inspection. There is such a strong team spirit in those stables though and they are all very supportive of each other. Julie and Steiny compete at 9.18am on Thursday.
Eventing are continuing their preparations and all is going well. There were quiet celebrations in the stables today toasting Dan Jocelyn’s birthday today and there was even talk about cake for all.
The endurance horse inspection was a good dose of madness for the afternoon. I am sure they had a method in there somewhere but to the untrained eye, it was tough to follow. It was sad to see some riders and their crews take the long walk out of the inspection area having failed in their mission before even starting the ride. Some riders seemed to have more support crew than some countries had in their team.
Our cabin has moved up in the world. We are now surrounded by big black cars and plenty of bodyguards. While they are not actually guarding our cabin, they like to stand right outside it – in our golf cart car park and anywhere we wish to go. On a serious note, it is definitely royalty in the cabin across the way and while it is a hive of activity in the morning, all is quiet on the eve of the big endurance ride.
It all kicks off at 6.30am and it will be a long day for many of the Kiwi team.
Tonight was the opening ceremony – organisers ended up opening the gates to the local community encouraging them to come for free but meaning seating was very limited.
Jonelle Price did a sterling job as our flag bearer with those on the sidelines gave her 10s for her extended walk across the arena. The rest of the ceremony included parachutists and of course an enormous American flag. It was a good turnout for the Kiwis in the stands including riders, owners and support crews.
The weather is the talk of the town – there was a big press conference to give the latest updates on Hurricane Florence. Depending who you speak to or what you read – it could be coming right at us or since we are in a bit of a safe zone, it could just skirt around us.
However, either way it seems we are going to get wind and rain. That said, the organisers and the FEI have gone to great lengths to assure us all they have robust emergency plans in place, they have full confidence in the strength of the barns and every detail has been addressed.
So we’ve stocked up the cupboards with all sorts of goodies but hope we won’t have to test our own planning.
By Diana Dobson – NZ Team Media Liaison
Photos By Libby Law/ESNZ