In truly awful conditions, the eventers had their final horse inspection before the show jumping phase tomorrow at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina. The rain has really set in now and now only is it tipping down from the skies, it is collecting in vast quantities on the ground!
However, eventers are a hardy lot and while there were a few who were obviously not enjoying the conditions, there were still plenty who managed a smile. The best example of that was the Frenchman Maxime Livio who gave the photographers at the end of the runway a huge grin, and set many a heart fluttering. His horse, Opium de Verrieres, passed the trot up and so there will be another chance to check them out tomorrow!
The Kiwis managed a small smile here and there, and probably a bigger one when they were all given the nod by the Ground Jury, so we will see four of them out jumping tomorrow.
According to the FEI report, New Zealand’s four athletes “lit up the soggy afternoon parade by opting to ignore the pelting rain and wear their Sunday best.” For Sir Mark Todd a suit and smart black shoes were the only option.
“Unfortunately I didn’t pack any wellies, I thought it was going to be fine,” laughed the two-time WEG team champion.
The Irish team was in fine form on cross-country, producing some storming rounds to be in second place in the team standings, but they will be reaching for a restorative Irish whiskey after this afternoon’s activities. Two of their riders, Sarah Ennis (sitting in third place with Horseware Stellor Rebound) and Sam Watson (Horseware Ardagh Highlight), had to endure some time with their horses in the hold box. On the re-inspection, Sarah had to trot up twice, but in the end both horses were accepted and team hugs followed.
Then there were the dashing men in uniforms from both the Italian and the French teams. We thought you might like to see a photo of these chaps doing a great job of leading their lovely horses.
There were a few other New Zealanders there in an official capacity. Of course Andrew Bennie was part of the Ground Jury and Helen Christie was there as a steward, as was Susan O’Brien, though we didn’t get a pic of her.
The show jumping is on tomorrow, and starts at 10am in the morning, which is 2am on Tuesday morning in New Zealand.
There is very little between the leaders in both the teams and the individual, so there is going to be a lot of tension!
Britain’s quartet has a two-fence advantage over the Irish in the team competition, who have no breathing space over the French, with the Japanese a further two fences adrift in fourth. But it’s much tighter at the top in the individual standings, with less than a fence covering the top seven horses including our Tim Price.
The forecast is that it will have stopped raining by then, and the arena does have great drainage and footing, but there will be plenty of puddles around in other areas.
Go the Kiwis!