More from the Olympics
Cross country day at last. The weather was perfect, being dry, but with patchy cloud and a light breeze. I was on fence 13 -fortunately I am not superstitious! All the years of planning and hard work by the various teams fell into place. On each fence there was a medic, vet, vet technician (to assist the vet and travel with a horse back in an ambulance if needed), jump judges, and water and ice for cooling any horse which may need it. Chaperones were also dotted around the course to lead back any horse which had parted company from its rider- not an easy job with over 50 000 spectators in the park, so visibility to neighbouring jumps was impossible and access tricky. As Greenwich is a world heritage site vehicular activity was kept to a minimum, as was disturbance of the environment. Six horse ambulances were out on the course, which was well planned, as when one moved off station it could be replaced by another one, which minimised delays on the course. Due to the geography and crowd the only place to deal with any incidents safely was on the course, which the ambulances would have to cross several times to transport a horse home/ to the cooling area if it had lost its rider towards the end of the course. The 74 combinations tackled the 38 jumping efforts without major incident. We were positioned ourselves at a very tight turn at the bottom of a steep hill before our fence. This rode extremely well thanks to the years of ground preparation, with only a few skids on the turn, from the speedier horses. High Kingdom lossed a shoe and another horse took out the back of the fence which required a quick rebuild, but otherwise we had no incidents.
I am now on the 5am train, for a 7am shift at the ‘EFS’-equine field station, which is 5miles outside Greenwich Park where we are to check in 87 show jumpers.