It was day 2 today for the showjumpers with the first of 2 nights which will determine the team medals. Today was also the day that Equine Canada president Al Patterson flew in from Toronto to take in the activities over the next couple of days. Al made it to the Regal Riverside hotel ok and I sent up his luggage of team clothing. Then we met up later in the lobby to take a taxi to the venue (Al’s accreditation doesn’t kick in until tomorrow, so he was ‘regular people’ today with a ticket to catch tonight’s showjumping). It’s only a 5 min. taxi ride to the venue, but it took about 15 mins to find a taxi drive who knew where to go. I think it was likely more a case that the drivers weren’t intersted in taking a fare that wouldn’t make them much money. But at last we made it and joined the crowds who were making their way to the main spectator entrance.
The course was another stunner, designed by Steve Stephens and Leopoldo Palacios. The fences were huge, wide and with technically challenging lines. Out of 71 combinations, only 5 went clear.
Jamal Ramihov of Azerbaijan ran into trouble at the second last fence. It looked like his horse misjudged the width of the massive oxer and started to paddle. The rider went airborne and was caught up in the horse
The rider lay motionless for what seemed forever (probably about 5 minutes) before finally getting up and being helped to the ambulance. The announcer provided updates throughout the rest of the competition and last I heard he was checked out at the hospital with injuries to his hand.
Belgium rider Jos Lansik and Cumano - hot favourites for a gold medal. They are currently sitting on just 1 fault after 2 rounds.
Japanese rider Taizo Sugitani and California
Rodrigo Pessoa does some pre-ride analysis, checking out some rounds before he had his go. He was one of the 5 clear rounds tonight so is sitting with 1 fault.
Ian Millar was also scoping out the competition, watching some rounds to see how the course was riding. Ian and In Style put in another great performance and only had 1 rail (the massively wide oxer)
Mexico watches their rider on course.
Mac Cone and Ole were the first Canadians on course and had an unfortunate 12 faults.
One of the unexpected events that happened tonight was this horse who didn't want to even go into the ring! He kept rearing and spinning. Believe it or not, his rider managed to finally get him on course.
waiting for their turn......
the stands remained packed until pretty much the end of the class.
I'm pretty sure these 2 guys were bodyguards for the Saudi prince who was sitting in my section.
Nick Skelton and Russell of Great Britain incurred 8 faults. The big development later that evening was the surprise withdrawal of Michael Whitaker and Peppermill.....no word on what the story is there.
Team Brazil anxiously watch Pedro Veniss and Blanc de Blancs........
....although they looked great, they met their fate at the 2nd last fence (the massive oxer) where the horse fell.
The Canadian section!
Back up on the podium, this time watching jumping dynamos Eric Lamaze and Hickstead
Eric and Hickstead didn't disappoint, posting one of only 2 double clear rounds (the other achieved by McLain Ward and Sapphire of the USA)
leaving the ring after a job well done
Look Mom - I'm on tv! A shot of me with my Canuck tattoos during the Grand Prix Speciale....now the big question is, do I wear the pyjama pants and tattoos again for the Freestyle?
All in all it was a great night of exciting showjumping. Drama, excitement, a clear round for Canada and we’re now sitting pretty in 4th place – totally within striking distance of a medal. The team event wraps up tomorrow night so everyone keep their fingers crossed!
1. Switzerland – 12
1. USA – 12
3. Sweden – 13
4. Great Britain – 16
4. Canada – 16
6. Netherlands – 17
6. Norway – 17
8. Germany – 20