I hope you all stayed up to hear the head Orator of the GBR Para-Equestrian Dressage Team, David Hunter, take the Oath on behalf of coaches and Team staff. David’s fame in Norfolk is now assured through the pages of the Norfolk Evening News although the aforementioned media outlet did report that he took the Oath on behalf of the Judges; which seeing we are a sport that relies on the clear eyes and straight brains of Judges....is kinda interesting!
Only David and Lee Pearson / Daniel Kinson (Lee’s Carer) attended the Opening Ceremony and we held a buffet in the hotel for the staff and some owners to watch the Ceremony – there was much whooping and cheering when the Orator took the stage, dressed in a manner that will have brought pride to his former Officer Cavalry colleagues.
The Green light was pushed for competition to begin at Greenwich. First on the Piste for GBR; a first time Paralympian but reigning European Grade II Champions – what can I say – wow. We could not have asked for a better start; 76.095%, some 3.5% ahead of her closest rival. Natasha is not in the Team so this score did not count towards the Team score but the perfect way for Natasha to say “Cabral & I have arrived; TAKE NOTE”.
The weather continued to laugh in the face of the GBR Team (many a RH Mears Riding Jacket has had to hold out against attack from above). As Lee Pearson warmed up the skies darkened, the wind became stronger and the temperature dropped. Autumn arrived accompanied by a round of applause as Lee entered the arena. Another winning test was delivered although the rain did get in to the sat nav at one point and caused a temporary glitch. A great start for the Team with a score of 74.682%. Pepo Puch (who many will remember from his eventing days) was snapping at Lee’s heals on 73.636%.
Autumn has definitely arrived – the workload is building as attention turns to Rule revisions and most importantly the preparation and delivery to UK Sport of the “Rio 2016 Plan”. I am sure all involved with Team GB at the Olympics and ParalympicsGB at the Paralympics will readily acknowledge the value of the support we get from UK Sport; the funding (Lottery / Exchequer) is epicentral to the success that was delivered during the Olympics and I hope will be delivered during the Paralympics. Making sure the Plan (and hence the funding bid) is as detailed and understandable as possible will be my core Mission through to early October. It is then that I will be able to relax a little and have a real think about my future.