Friday, 3 August 2012

She kicked some dressage butt!

She came, she saw.....she kicked some dressage butt. Charlotte Dujardin has arrived in Greenwich and the crowd gave her a standing test down, two to go. What did I say about the margins being paper thin.....the Germans are snapping at our heels and it is too close to call....the next three days (which are Jumping competition days) are going to feel like an eternity for the dressage riders who will be again entering the tilt yard on the 7th August.
Earlier, Richard Davison had enjoyed a South Downs moment (think Tina Cook in eventing) and endured a drenching just prior to his Test. Jenny (groom) has now left for the main Olympic Stadium where she will be presented with the Gold medal for the wet T shirt competition...... Richard pulled off a blinder and again demonstrated his expertise at preparing horses for the Games......he has been to a few before...
We (Team Leaders) have been given iPads by the BOA to use during the Games. People keep asking me if I have an App for this or an App for that; please understand...I am 'appless with Apps. I do wonder whether all of this technology has impacted on our ability to communicate through the perhaps rather too traditional method of....talking to each other.
The eventing riders finally returned to their home bases following a whirlwind tour of media commitments and "Live Sites" in Hyde Park......all said it was a wonderful experience and nothing like anything they had been through at previous Games. Luckily Yogi and I were able to hand over the duties of herding the riders to our long suffering Sports Engagement Manager from the BOA...Georgie Harland...forthwith to be known as Nanny McPhee: Like their competition plans for the spring, they started on plan A and by the time of departure were fairly certain that plan YY would
be the one that they would follow.

I made a schoolboy error today and looked at the Forums having been tipped off that there was a bit of a rumble gathering around rolkur / hyperflexion: one has to question the logic of people making these allegations....which they seem to be basing on one still photo.....There are more Stewards here than you can shake a stick so many Vets that if the British Equestrian Veterinary Association decided to hold their AGM here they would have the largest attendance since their formation. Do these people that are sitting at home making judgements really think that if we saw someone from another Nation cheating we would not say something? Come on...let's have a little dose of common sense...a still photo can tell as many stories as the interpretation of statistics......." lies, damned lies and statistics". I have vented.

In addition to all their other responsibilities, Sophie and Sarah are mow assisting with a restaurant booking service. I hope that all the shops and businesses in Greenwich are benefitting from the Games....everyone has been so welcoming here - a real feather in the cap of Greenwich and another event to add to the long history of this part of London. For the last few days the course building team have been stripping out the Cross Country fences and part of the Park will soon open to the public again.

"Back of House" there is an athlete / staff dining room and lounge. Staffed by an enthusiastic band of lads and lasses, it is where we are well fed and watered. I feel the positive results of my diet being eroded as it is far too easy to eat eat does not help that each dish has the fat / protein / carbohydrate / calorie content listed..... This is so athletes can accurately track their diet.......I just find it depressing!! Belt pressure not being helped by the introduction of a jar full of chocolate brownies......I just love chocolate brownies...

OK, back to the squirrels. I was prevented yesterday from demonstrating that I must be a distant relation of Johnny step and I could have converted this hapless squirrel over the security fencing. Apparently it would have been wrong of me so to do....there are serious failings in the Squirrel Education Programme in London....Boris? Interesting how what is going on in the arena rubs off on those watching......I observed a brace of dressage squirrels indulging in circles and bumps as they prepared to start collecting their nuts for the winter recess.
Meal information

Chefs in the athlete lounge

The athletes lounge

Food on tap!


  1. I agree that one picture does not a complete story tell, but be careful not to belittle the people sat at home whose only concern is the welfare of the horses involved. "These people sitting at home" are horse lovers. They see a horses head in that position and you can't blame them for not liking it. There are plenty of photo's of more than one horse at more than one moment, so like it or not, it has to be faced up to that even if it isn't for long enough to justify action being taken, it is not good to see this on such a grand international stage.
    Whilst I understand the emotive nature of the subject of Rollkur and know how easy it can be for a badly timed photograph to make something look ten times worse than it is...You have to ask yourself when YOU look at those photographs, at the position of the riders hands and horses heads, would YOU do that on YOUR horse? If the answer is yes, carry on shoving the issue under that carpet. But if you wouldn't do this to your own horses, come out from behind the safety of conformity and admit that we shouldn't be seeing this.

    Other than that, fab article and feeling very proud to be British right now!

  2. Well said GG. That particular rider has had a hell of a lot of moments in time caught on camera since October 2009.

  3. and on video which is a bit harder to 'catch' at the wrong moment............. looks fairly conclusive to me.........

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  5. From this blog it appears your only concern for rollkur would be if they gained any advantage over it as that would then be cheating and that would be the only time people intervened rather than actually caring about the fact it is illegal and a welfare issue for the horse. I sincerely hope you have phrased this wrongly. As other posters have mentioned, there is a series of photos not just one. You are accusing people for mouthing off without knowing the facts yet that is precisely what you are doing. Aside from that, fantastic performances from team GB.

  6. from Kerry Weisselberg (kerilli on Horse and Hound Forum)
    This whole rollkur matter has nothing whatsoever to do with 'cheating'... the fact that you automatically assume that it does is pretty telling. Believe it or not, this is not all about medals.
    It is about a degree of abuse of the horse. Those pictures (plural, by the way, and taken in different places in the arena, of a rider with a documented history of working his horse in this position for extended periods) do not show the horse in ANY of the acceptable positions ordained by the FEI (Long, Deep, Round; Low, Deep, Round; Long and Low). We are not concerned about a short-term flexion/stretch. We are concerned that the FEI is doing nothing to enforce its own rules.
    Scandic's response to the rein-back aid in his GP test was more eloquent than anything any of us can say, I suspect!
    I do not hide behind an alias. I posted under my own name (very distinctive) on the FEI page and the BBC Breakfast page on Facebook about this matter. My BBC post has had 1,489 Likes and 862 Shares. These are pretty significant numbers. My post on the FEI page has disappeared due to the inundation with later posts about rollkur, so I can't see the number of Like and Shares - however, last time I could see it, it was again considerable.
    This is a matter about which many knowledgeable horsey people (not clueless idiots stuck on their sofas, as you seem to think) are seriously concerned. It is absolutely not a witch-hunt against just anyone flexing their horse's neck! We all believe very strongly that this practice should be condemned, and not be allowed at the Olympics.