10 Jul 2011


Cross country phase a success at the Olympic Test Event

Hooked on Horses visited the site of the London 2012 Olympic equestrian events yesterday, for day two of the eventing test event. The venue, Greenwich Park, was chosen for its close proximity to the heart of the Olympic games.There was a lot of positive feedback from many of the spectators in attendance, many of whom now can’t wait for the real thing next year! 
The London skyline took centre stage at the Olympic test event, and spectators were in awe of the the cleverly positioned arena and jumping fences which provided a traditional equine scene complimented by the urban skyline as a backdrop. A considerable change from the more traditional eventing scenes, which are usually based in rural countryside estates.
Britain’s Piggy French holds the lead after a fast and clear cross-country phase at the Olympic equestrian test event inside London’s Greenwich Park. French was one of three riders to go inside the time, around the course designed by Sue Benson.
French and DHI Topper W – who led going into the cross-country phase after Monday’s dressage – hold a seven-point lead over Sweden’s Sara Algotsson with Germany’s Michael Jung in third.
Michael played the part of the path finder yesterday, as he was first on the course and finished just outside the time with a ‘hoof-perfect’ clear round.
The test event is London’s third, and will conclude with the final showjumping phase of the three day event and pure showjumping demonstration today.
Organisers are using the three-day eventing competition to test the park’s capabilities and ahead of next years Olympic event.
Arrangements for the 2011 two star test event do not precisely match those which will be in place next year, with the main difference being the cross-country course, which is much shorter than the real thing and didn’t include fences that will be jumped on the day.
The biggest shock for spectators who hadn’t been the venue before, was the undulating terrain, which will be very testing on horses and riders, especially during the real event at which the course will be considerably longer than at the test event.
There was a lot of cheering as riders flew round the twenty-one fence track, and lots of local school children has been invited to watch. The children seemed to really enjoy their day, and for many it was their first taste of eventing.
They really helped to encourage the riders round, especially around the water fence, where riders were met with rapturous applause as they rode into view before making a splash at the boating lake.
Pippa Funnell is fifth in the standings after yesterday’s cross-country while Britain’s other representative at the Greenwich test event, William Fox-Pitt, is currently in ninth.
Ahead of todays final phase – the showjumping – there was a vet inspection, at which there were a few tentative moments when Piggy’s ride was put into the holding box. Luckily after a thorough inspection, the horse passed and will be going forward to todays showjumping event, with almost two fences in hand.
Visit our gallery for more photos from the cross-country day event.
For photographic coverage from the whole test event series please see Sport in Pictures by clicking here.

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