The Swedish team certainly caught the photographers’ attention in their bright yellow dresses, at the Olympic Eventing’s first horse inspection at Deodoro Olympic Park in Rio today.
The Ground Jury headed up by USA’s Marilyn Payne passed all 84 horses including reserves, fit to compete.
However, changes have been made since to some of the equestrian teams, with Anna Nilsson for Sweden having to withdraw her 17-year-old gelding Luron which will be replaced by reserve rider Linda Algotsson. Whilst, another reserve partnership called up today was New Zealand’s Tim Price and Ringwood Sky Boy, following Jock Paget’s Clifton Lush also declared a non-runner.
Tomorrow sees the start of the dressage phase with 33 horse and rider combinations taking to the arena. First to head down the centre line will be America’s Jessica Phoenix (A Little Romance), followed by Frenchman Astier Nicolas (Piaf de B’Neville) and then Ireland’s Padraig McCarthy (Simon Porloe). Then on Sunday the remaining 32 horses and riders will perform their tests.
However, riders will also be thinking ahead to the cross-country on Monday as course designer, Pierre Michelet from France, has certainly given the riders plenty to think about. “It’s quite tricky and big enough” said Pippa Funnell who will ride Billy the Biz. While Germany’s super cool Michael Jung who will ride Sam his 16-year-old gelding, returns to defend his Olympic team and individual gold. “This is a really tough course, not just because the fences are technical but because the hills will really test the condition of the horses,” says Michael. “They will need to be very fit.”