Olympic Eventing – What’s in Reserve?

Shuffle and Shake – Olympic team reserves come out to play

As the weeks of waiting for the Games to begin shorten into a matter of days and various countries hold team camps for their riders, the pressure is building as reserves begin to shuffle around.

Sam Griffiths has been pulled into the Aussie camp after Bill Levett lost his reserve slot with One Too Many NJ after a minor injury at Barbury Horse Trials.  Rumour also has it that Sam Watson is just a step away from the Irish team. In a devastating blow Team GBR lost Piggy French with both her horses out injured and the accomplished pair of Nicola Wilson and Opposition Buzz got the call up.  Lucy Jackson is New Zealand’s reserve and handled a difficult position in team camp last week with her usual huge smile and good grace.

Team USA have not named reserves in any order so one imagines a nail biting time at Eddie Stibbe’s Lavender Hill base. All the USA reserves are required to stay on site until July 28th when they then have to leave and prep for Burghley on their own.  Team Canada is looking good and their reserve or ‘alternate’ as they call it, is actually on an 8 year old and if not needed, will be heading to Blenheim instead of the usual Burghley route.

All the riders just want to get there now, but as usual by differing paths. Team GB did not ride at Aston Le Walls Advanced this weekend just gone but, pretty much the entire Team NZ squad were out in force with their other horses!  Andrew Nicholson has already sneaked a runner up slot in the Eventers Grand Prix at Hickstead on the fabulous Quimbo just hours after leaving the team training camp….practice makes perfect.

Read the full Equestrian Olympic entries list here.

Dammed if you do – A Report from Dauntsey Park

 After three months of cancellations and relentless rain, Beanie Sturgess and her team were determined to go ahead with three days of competition at Dauntsey Park Horse Trials.  Day one was blessed with just the odd shower but on day two the heavens opened yet again. Spending the day in cross country control gave an incredible insight into the attitudes of some of the riders…whinging about the ground, the mud in the lorry park, the lack of loudspeakers on course. All this without a single thought for the fence judges getting soaking wet with just a radio for company all day.

There were a lot of withdrawals but also there wasn’t a minute without a horse on course between 9.30 am and 6pm. Despite horrible ground conditions in all that time there was just a single horse that was held on course, a few unseated riders and neither the human or horse ambulance moved all day.

A plea to all riders….please have the courtesy to withdraw from the xc before you leave the event as it only takes a few minutes and means that xc control are not frantically trying to locate scores being left completely in the dark as to how many horses they have left to start.

Interestingly enough it was the professionals and the real grass roots that did run. The hunting background of many of the grass roots was evident and it was that middle tier of competitors that withdrew and whined about start fees and mud.  Its your horse and your choice whether you feel you are ready to tackle those conditions but be very grateful to organizers like Beanie Sturgess that at least give you that choice.  I can only imagine what Dauntsey looks like this weekend but thanks a million Beanie!


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Photo is of linseed rings planted by English country farmer Gerald Addicott. Photo courtesy of www.linseedrings.co.uk

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