My catch-up blogs are going to be a little out of order….hope people don’t mind too much.
Our Eventing Team arrived yesterday around 1pm to the venue.
Everything went incredibly smoothly, with the horses & equipment first arriving at the Equine Staging Facility (ESF) which Peden (the official equestrian logisitics company for LOCOG) set up at Greenwich University, about a 15-20 min drive from Greenwich Park.
The logic used for ESF was to have a pre-checkpoint where the horses could be checked (for any obvious signs of distress), and the equipment could be separated and scanned (EVERYTHING must go through xray machines before being transported into the venue.
Because Canada has pre-booked all of our arrival times at ESF, we were given first priority even through Sweden arrived just ahead of us. Sorry Sweden! We still like your furniture though.
Horses could then get back onto the trailer, grooms were scanned through security, and off the lorry (yes, I’m picking up on the British lingo) went to Greenwich Park accompanied by an official LOCOG car complete with flashing lights. The trip to the venue was only about 25 mins, which was great. Another brief stop while the army used mirrors to inspect under the vehicle, then off into the venue itself where the horses where delivered almost to the stable door.
Me, I was not so lucky. The LOCOG car could not proceed on into the venue, which meant I enjoyed some exercise as I hoofed it from Black Heath, right to almost St. Mary’s Gate. I know tha’s about 5 furlongs because the venue has a very nifty galloping track which I was told yesterday is 5 furlongs. I essentially walked from one end to the other, and then some. Albeit did enjoy the company of a very attractive and polite young army officer.
All the horses settled beautifully. Our stable block is one of the longest in the venue and quite conveniently located under the partial shade of trees. Our Eventing & Dressage horses are at one end, and the USA is at the other end, with a couple of Italians in the middle. Beside us are the Brits (looking very sharp with their bunting…I’ve already made a mental note for next Games)
The grooms and athletes seem very impressed with the venue, and were eager to start exploring. In addition to the main competition ring, there are 5 training rings, a lunging ring, hacking area, the aforementioned gallop track, and cross-country school area.
Big Kudos go to Peden for masterminding such an incredibly smooth arrival process, and to KER who had all of our shavings, hay, grains and carrots at the ready.