Pony Detectives author, Belinda Rapley, kindly agreed to give us her insight into the Equestrian Olympic events
Wow, wow, wow! Just been blown away by the breath taking beauty of GB’s Charlotte Dujardin’s sensational Dressage test! Her horse, Valegro is the most almighty, powerful looking beast who demonstrated such an expressive, explosive extended trot near the end of an amazingly calm and patiently ridden test. The partnership is deservedly in first place after their score smashed the Olympic record. Apparently Charlotte was wearing her lucky breeches – let’s hope she can get washed in time for the next phase as the team go into it in gold position – SO exciting, GO GB!!
And this is after the nail-biting finish to the eventing, where the team won a silver – what an incredible equestrian force GB is right now! Although I have to admit, when I watched the first few event riders spin over the imaginatively designed cross country course (the second phase in the Eventing) with the Greenwich backdrop I felt a tad disappointed; they skipped round easily, one inside the allotted time limit. I wondered if it might not be quite testing enough. But I needn’t have worried – it soon warmed up as rider after rider faced problems, spills and runouts and suddenly the team competition got interesting. For a while team GB had a squeak at winning gold, but the Germans were pretty much immaculate and sealed the win. It was superb that we got a silver, but I couldn’t help feeling disappointed for the British riders not to have won any individual medals, especially my favourite ever eventer, Mary King – she’s always smiling, always upbeat and was emotional at her 6th Olympics (who wouldn’t be?!). I wrote to her once, more than 20 years ago, asking if she had any grooming jobs at her yard. She replied with the loveliest handwritten note, saying that unfortunately she didn’t at the time but she wished me every luck for my future. I remember glowing when I read such a personal, thoughtful response. That sums Mary up, she is just so generous with her time for all her many, many fans.
Alongside the equestrian sport I’ve been loving the swimming in the aquatic centre. I used to swim to county level, along with both my brother and sister, but it’s my nephew, Freddie who is the swimming star in our family – he’s the National Champion for 12 year olds at 100m Freestyle. I’m so proud of him and I can’t help picturing him on the podium at the Olympics!! You never know, watch this space in 4 years time – if China can have a 16 year old champion, maybe GB could too..! In the meantime I’ll continue to be officially Olympic-obsessed, crossing everything I have (including the cat’s paws) for GB in the Dressage, and the Show Jumping hasn’t even started yet! And when that’s over there’s the Para-Olympics to look forward to, where team GB have even more hopes of equestrian glory and medal positions with the formidable, inspiring dressage rider, Lee Pearson. Only one word for the biggest sporting show on earth this year – awesome!
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