All Dressage Teams at Olympic Venue Ahead of Competition Starting Thursday
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LONDON, July 29–Sweden was the last of the 10 nations contesting the Olympic team competition to move into the stables at historic Greenwich Park overlooking London on Sunday.
About 54 dressage horses–30 for teams and the rest individuals, though the precise number won’t be known until the veterinary inspection–are in the stables getting used to the grounds ahead of the start of the team competition on Thursday.
The dressage horses are among horses from 40 countries on six continents that will be staying in Greenwich Park for Olympic equestrian events of dressage, eventing and jumping that will run through Aug. 9 when the dressage usical freestyle will be the finale.
The stables, which are the equine equivalent of the Athletes Village in the Olympic Park, are all above ground to protect the Greenwich Park grassland. There are 200 stables, each measuring 11 1/2 x 13 feet (3.5x4m).
A round-the-clock veterinary clinic has been set up on site staffed by a team of equine veterinary experts as well as veterinarians accompanying many teams.
Late morning Sunday, the training arena was very busy with the Dutch team of Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival , Edward Gal and Undercover and Anky van Grunsven and Salinero as well as six other combinations, including the U.S. team horses.
“Ravel felt great,” U.S. rider Steffen Peters told dressage-news.com. “Lots of controlled energy. Both Ravel and I can’t wait to go down the centerline.”
The German all-rookie squad of Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill NRW, Kristina Sprehe and Desperadors, Dorothee Schneider and Diva Royal with Anabel Balkenhol and Dablino as the individual combination spent grilled by the German media.
“We’re relaxed and very happy,” Helen told dressage-news.com between interview breaks. “We are all new to the Olympics. We have nothing to lose so we will give it our best and enjoy the experience.”
No one doubts their best could be outstanding as they are defending an unbroken record of team gold medals that began with the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
Great Britain is picked to beat Germany for gold, a remarkable position for the host nation that has never won a dressage medal of any color in the 100 years that the sport has been an Olympic sport.
The bronze medal is anyone’s guess with the USA, Netherlands, Denmark, Spain and Sweden all given a shot.
The Spanish team underwent a change when veteran Beatriz Ferrer-Salat and Delgado withdrew and were replaced by the reserve combination of Jose Daniel Martin Dockx and Grandioso, the P.R.E. stallion owned by Kim Boyer of the United States.