Olympic Equestrian Venue–As Good As Any In World–Riders

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Nip Tuck ridden by Carl Hester and Valegro with Charlotte Dujardin conferring on the Olympic venue. Photo courtesy Ian Cast
Nip Tuck ridden by Carl Hester and Valegro with Charlotte Dujardin conferring on the Olympic venue. Photo courtesy Ian Cast

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 3, 2016–“Impressive,” was the verdict Wednesday of Great Britain’s Carl Hester of the Olympic equestrian venue at Deodoro where dressage begins next week.

“It is at least as nice as London,” said the United States’ Steffen Peters at his fourth Olympics.

“Reassuring that everyone has made so much effort to protect the horses and us,” commented Lyndal Oatley of Australia at her second Olympics.

Overwhelmingly positive were the initial reactions of some riders–all with prior Olympic experience–to the equestrian venue that was one of the last stadiums completed for the first Games staged in South America with the opening ceremony scheduled for Friday night.

Construction delays, the Zika mosquito virus, glanders that is deadly for horses, an ongoing political crisis with the current and former presidents facing corruption charges, a tanking economy that has left police and others without pay that has elevated security concerns have been the overarching themes for the past two years.

Steffen Peters who will ride Legolas in the two days of Grand Prix starting –Security is “very strict and equally comforting. We had to go through three security check points which required a hand sanitization stop before you entered the barn. Everything is organized and secure.

“It is at least as nice as London.”

Carl Hester, a veteran of the 1992, 2000, 2004 and 2012 Olympics, described the venue as “impressive and so far meeting all expectations with stabling being particularly comfortable and among the best you could find.”

Lyndal Oatley and Sandro Boy. © 2016 Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com
Lyndal Oatley and Sandro Boy. © 2016 Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com

Lyndal Oatley, who is riding Sandro Boy here as she did in 2012 at the London Games, said: “The organizers have taken a lot of efort to ensure the safety of the horses and athletes. There is a strong police presence all along the roads and surrounding the venue. The horses all traveled in convoy with police escort and all check points I have been through have been extensive. As I speak, a policeman has come on the bus we go into the gates to check everything.

“The presence takes some getting used to but it is reassuring that everyone has made so much effort to protect us and the horses.””