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Posts tagged ‘Olympics’

Dressage Takes Centre Stage

With the Eventing medals now tucked away in their new owners’ pockets, attention now turns to Dressage. Competition kicks off tomorrow (August 10).

Full Riding Times Schedule for August 10 & August 11

Download riding times –> ORDERTOGO_2016_08_09_GrandPrix

August 10 – 11:36AM Rio time – Megan Lane & Caravella
August 11 – 10:00am Rio time – Belinda Trussell & Anton 

Both Belinda (Trussell) and Megan (Lane) have had the advantage of being in Rio for a few days now with their horses, so they’ve had a chance to get comfortable with the surroundings and see the sights.

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#thesetwotho 💕

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And of course march in the Opening Ceremonies! (read blog here)


Being there early means Anton and Caravella are now well acquainted with the show grounds, with Belinda and Megan having an opportunity to ride in the warm up rings as well as familiarization sessions in the main competition arena.

Although care must be given when arriving early at a Games as some riders can have a tendency to override their horses. More time can mean more opportunity to dwell on things and let nerves get the better of you – especially when you are sharing the training rings with the best-of-the-best in the world. It’s even more difficult when most of these riders are used to riding several horses a day on top of coaching duties..and of course every day life. Being at a Games really does put you into an artificial “bubble”, where you only have yourself and your main equine partner to focus on. That can be great! As long as you don’t fall into the trap of over-focusing.

MLane-Caravellaphoto by Kelsey Rae

Look at that backdrop! 
photo by Kelsey Rae

The Jog

The horse inspection for the dressage horses took place on cross-country day, and both Caravella and Anton passed with flying colours. And the horses were sparkling thanks to the hard work of Lynsey Rowan (Anton) and Evelyn Lucas (Caravella).

Megan will be the 10th rider down the centreline tomorrow’s Session I (Tuesday) , riding immediately after Denmark’s Anders Dahl & Selten HW and will be followed by USA’s Allison Brock and Rosevelt.

This is great as no one likes to go first, and particularly with Dressage as more often than not it takes the judges a few rides to get comfortable with their scoring (although I doubt you’d ever get a judge to admit that on record!)

How to watch in Canada!

CBC is providing fantastic picture-quality live streaming at
Although it is a little dry as there has been no commentary.

If you’re in the UK region (or have a VPN), BBC has been doing brilliant commentary for Eventing and I suspect this will continue for Dressage.

The Big Guns!


Let the dancing begin! 


What a Day! Olympic Cross Country

Holy smokes what a day it was today! Olympic Eventing cross country took centre stage, and it was really great to see lots of people out on course watching compared to the lacklustre audiences for the 2 dressage days.

As predicted by many, the course really shuffled up the leaderboard. While I’m by no means an Eventing expert, watching today reminded me of the  types of courses you would see back in the 80’s and 90’s. Both horse and rider had to be very fit, very brave and very determined.

It was incredible to see many very seasoned riders and horses run into trouble. Who would have thought that the likes of Tim Price, Montgomery Clark and Karin Donckers wouldn’t finish.

Canada’s Jessica Phoenix and A Little Romance were again the trailblazers. At the best of times it’s a very challenging position to be in, but at an Olympic Games over a course like this make it even more so. Jessica didn’t have the advantage to see how the course was riding in order to make adjustments to her plan. Instead, she went out there and attacked it with Don  Leschied’s dynamo mare. Talk about true grit and fierce determination. It was obvious watching these two over the course that nothing was going to stop them for attacking and eating up this Rio course.

Although they did pick up 40 jump penalties and 35.60 time, they showed their teammates that the course was conquerable, and brought home valuable information to help Kathryn, Colleen and Rebecca refine their strategies.

Last minute adjustments before heading into the start box


True grit and determination…this is what sets the good eventers from the great


Kathryn Robinson

It was certainly a bummer for Kathryn Robinson and Let it Bee, who were eliminated on course. They looked great at the start, but it wasn’t meant to be their day today. Thankfully both of them are healthy and will fight another day.

Flying out of the start box


Bummer to be eliminated, but we can’t wait to see you again Kathryn!

Colleen Loach

Colleen Loach and Qorry Blue d’Argrouges looked like cross-country machines. Although they also incurred 40 jump penalties and 45.20 time, that really betrays how good they looked every time I could see them. And I loved how even at the end of the course, Qorry’s ears were pricked way forward almost as if he was saying “Ok, what else Mom?”

It was really hard to believe that this was the first 4* experience for this duo. The future is blindingly bright!



Jumping all stylish like a hunter!

Those ears though!



Rebecca Howard

I can’t imagine the pressure that Rebecca Howard was feeling as she headed towards the start box, knowing that with Kathryn’s out of the game, she had to make sure that they completed the course in order to keep a team result for Canada. Even more so when her Olympic debut in London 2012 was cut short due to a fall on course.

That’s one of the biggest differences when riding at an Olympic Games…. it’s not just about your individual performance, it’s about making decisions in the best interest of the team.

If Rebecca was feeling pressure, she sure didn’t show it. Her and “Rupert” tackled the course like the pros they are.  They added only 12.4 time penalties and jumped up to 15th position heading into the final day.

Heading out of the start box.

The look of pure concentration and focus.

On the way home!


I’d be celebrating too after successfully taking on the most difficult Olympic course in recent history!

Video of Rebecca’s last few fences on course courtesy of CBC

Showjumping Day

The final day of Eventing Competition takes place tomorrow morning starting at 10am Rio time (9:00am EST).

Follow the live results at:

And watch the lifestream on

Go Canada!!

Shout Outs

Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures, but I had to give a shout out to 2 combinations.

  1. Japan’s Yoshiaki Oiwa and The Duke of Cavan: If look up the word “relentless” and “determination”, you’ll see this guy’s picture. No was never an option for him going over this course. Even if the distance or angle was awkward, he just kicked on and let his horse do the rest. And his horse rose to the occasion every. single. time. It was quite something to see
  2. Chile’s Carlos Lobos Munoz and Ranco: If I had this horse during my Eventing days, things may have turned out a lot differently (ie. I wouldn’t have switched to Dressage). Not only does Ranco have the cutest face ever, but he looks like the most honest horse around who loves his job.

The Cooling Stations


The Legend

I couldn’t end this blog without a pic of my Eventing hero – New Zealand’s Mark Todd. He truly gave a masterclass in riding over the course. The man’s leg never EVER changes position. Perfectly balanced at all times.



Dressage Arrives in time for Opening Ceremonies

Canada’s Dressage athletes have arrived (both human and equine), and are now settled into their respective accommodations.

Belinda Trussell (2nd Olympics) and Megan Lane (debut Olympics) were able to fly out ahead of their horses so that they could get sorted out and familiarize themselves with the venue before greeting their Olympic mounts.

Since the dressage jog isn’t until August 8th, this gives both Belinda and Megan (and their Grooms!) valuable time to get organized, get comfortable at the Village, get very comfortable at the venue, and become accustomed to all the “craziness” that comes with being an Olympic Games.

That “craziness” includes the extra security checks that happen wherever you go (entering the Village, entering the Venue, entering the stabling area). Plus getting used to the special Olympic transport system which takes the athletes to/from the Village and the Venue. This operates on a set schedule, so it’s important to carefully plan out your days in advance.

The best part of arriving early, and not having the jog until the 8th is that Belinda and Megan could take part in the Opening Ceremonies!! Sadly Eventing couldn’t since competition kicked off the next day (today).

The Opening Ceremonies are incredibly special for the athletes, and nothing else really gives that feeling of unity with not only the Canadian Olympic Team, but also unity with ALL athletes coming together from all sports across the globe.

And it’s indescribable that sensation when you first walk into the stadium in the Parade of Nations, and you see and hear the crowd. It is definitely very moving, very powerful, and really drives home that you are part of something much bigger. It’s a feeling that you carry with you not only through the Games, but throughout your life. It’s something you can draw upon whenever you feel down, discouraged, or need that extra “umph” when life is tossing you challenges right, left and centre.

Which is why I’m so thrilled that Belinda and Megan were able to march in the ceremonies!

Although it’s not for the faint  of heart, that’s for sure. Athletes are gathered hours before at the Canadian apartment block in the Olympic Village. First order of business is ensuring you have your Opening Ceremonies pass, which is what grants you access. Your Olympic Accreditation is not enough on its own.

You’re then given a run-down of what will happen in getting to/ during / leaving the Opening Ceremonies. And lots of team spirit cheerleading! And there’s no better Canadian cheerleader than Canada’s Chef de Mission Curt Harnett.  He can get you pumped up about going to get groceries at the local store, let alone about to walk onto the world stage and into the history books in Rio.

For these Games, it was having to take a bus for the trip to the Maracanã stadium. At which point, you’re then ushered into a “holding” stadium adjacent to the Maracanã. This is where the Organizers make sure that all the countries are organized in the same order as they will march into the stadium.

More standing, sitting, waiting………chants to keep people entertained and patriotic energy “up”, getting to meet fellow Canadian athletes, water and snacks distributed (if you’re lucky!) and reminders from the Chef de Mission to fully take in experience and not to have your face stuck in an iPhone as you walk into the stadium.

You know….just hanging out with tennis phenom Vasek Pospisil…as one does  🙂

Then you leave the holding pen, and start marching towards the main Maracanã stadium….and more standing and waiting…..spontaneous singing of Oh Canada

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Walkin to da bus for opening ceremonies!!!

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And Chef Curt reminds you to stay bunched together….no stragglers!


But that feeling when you walk in!

Rio Olympics Opening Ceremony

Rosannagh Maclennan carries the flag of Canada during the opening ceremony for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Aug. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)


Although hours have passed before you get to see the Olympic flame lit, and your feet, legs & back are killing you from all the standing, and you likely won’t get to sleep until 1am, it’s worth it….

Canada has officially arrived and is ready to take on the world.

Go Canada Go!



Event Dressage Day 1 at Rio 2016

After an amazing opening ceremonies last night (more on that later), competition officially kicked off today with Day 1 of Eventing Dressage.

Calm Before the Storm

Canadian FEI Steward Jan Stephens caught this incredible sunrise shot at the venue.


Unfortunately the spectator stands were quite empty, and while not unusual for Eventing Dressage it’s still disappointing. Having said that, less people typically means less noise & distraction…and when you’re sitting on top of a finely tuned cross-country machine that is not necessarily a bad thing!

Jessica Phoenix and Donald Leschied’s A Little Romance had the honour of making the very first hoof prints in the Olympic competition arena.

They laid down a very steady test, and were rewarded with one of their best dressage scores to date: 52.0. This is a terrific start for Canada given the toughness of this Olympic’s cross-country course.

Maple Leaf Proud! 

photo Sandra Andresen

Heading down to the main competition arena

2016-08-06-JPhoenix-Dressage2photo Sandra Andresen




That’s an OLYMPIC smile after achieving your personal best! 



Next Canadian in the ring today was Kathryn Robinson and Let it Bee.
Kathryn put in an extremely flowing and harmonious test – and they looked both very focused AND relaxed at the same time, a hard thing to achieve!


Game Face On – Check!

It’s Go Time!


Dancing with the Olympic Stars

Hugging the stuffing out of your horse after having the ride of your life in the biggest sandbox in the world 🙂

…and those in the Kiss & Cry Box look pretty happy too!

Off to see the Stewards after a very successful ride


It’s worth noting it’s a super hot day today at the Deodoro venue with temperatures hitting 33 Celsius and 28% humidity – ouch!


It was interesting to see a lot of families in the audience today. It was apparent that for most, this was their first introduction to equestrian events as they would cheer and clap while horses were in the ring. Great to see the enthusiasm, but definitely a challenge for some horses and riders.


Hats off to the first Brazilian rider down the centreline, Marcio Appel. As soon as he set foot into the main stadium the crowd erupted! And when he rode up to do his first salute down centreline, they erupted again with cheers and applause. Thankfully his horse didn’t bat an eye but instead seemed to soak it all in.

It was also great to see Canada’s Governor General David Johnston and his wife Sharon come out to cheer on Jessica and Kathryn today.

And folks from the Canadian Olympic Committee also came out to meet the athletes and the grooms. Thanks for the love COC!

Multiple Olympic medal-winning short track speedskater Tania Vicent with Lynsey Rowan and Anton

Full Results

Check them out at

Day 2 – Eventing Dressage & How to Watch Online

On deck tomorrow are Colleen Loach (10:16am) and Rebecca Howard (1:54pm) local times.

If you’re in Canada, is live streaming ALL of the equestrian events.

Go to:

The Olympic Organizers are also doing a fantabulous job of getting scores up immediately following the riders.






Good Luck and Git’er Done

No time to blog fully today…busy trying to get everything done, shopped, cleaned, printed, packed for Thursday lift-off.
I leave you with quite possibly one of the most enthusiastic, funny and downright coolest Canadian athlete ever!

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