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Friday, July 27, 2012

The Dressage Team Is Coming!

Today was the 2012 US Olympic dressage team's last day at Layham Hall, their pre-London training base in England. As I write this, riders Steffen Peters, Tina Konyot, Jan Ebeling, and Adrienne Lyle are standing backstage somewhere at the Olympic stadium, waiting to march in with the rest of Team USA.

US Equestrian Federation national dressage technical advisor and coach Anne Gribbons won't be there tonight; she's stayed behind until after Ravel, Calecto V, Rafalca, and Wizard depart tomorrow for Greenwich Park. Meanwhile, she sent me this report:

"All horses/riders doing well. They have their last work sessions this morning and then head into London for Opening Ceremony. I am staying behind and going after the horses leave Saturday morning. 
Team USA: Steffen Peters, Adrienne Lyle, Anne Gribbons, Tina Konyot, and Jan Ebeling at their English training base outside London (during a rare non-rainy moment). Photo courtesy of Anne Gribbons.

"The horses arrived in top shape due to a direct and smooth flight with minimal road travel. 
Training camp has gone smoothly, and the team spirit is great. We have been housed at the most wonderful facility owned by Linda and Jack Keenan, and they have been the most fantastic hosts. No wish was unfulfilled, the horses loved the ambiance with rolling hills and mares and foals in the pastures. Calecto and Paragon have had their own turnout fields and all our horses are in the same cosy barn. 

Traveling reserve rider Heather Blitz preps Paragon for a show. Photo courtesy of Anne Gribbons.

"Dr. Mitchell [US dressage-team veterinarian Rick Mitchell, DVM] is here full time to pamper our equines, the grooms are a wonderful group who take excellent care of the horses and have a very good time together, and the staff is on top of scheduling and organizing our daily lives and  progress from one venue to another. Every horse / rider combination has been working diligently on polishing their act, and I ran them through two show dress rehearsals  with video sessions last week. The youngsters, Legolas and Paragon, have both benefited from the program as well, and they look very promising for future teams.
At team processing
"We went to team processing a few days ago and received an abundance of clothing and gifts, which made the grooms giggle even more, and the riders got a first look at London and we all realized we really are going to the Olympics!"

Many thanks to Anne for taking time out of her busy schedule to keep the US dressage fans updated! 

Cheerio from London! Tomorrow I hope to see all our riders at the US dressage-team press conference. Now I'm signing off to continue live-streaming the Olympic opening ceremony (no, I couldn't get a ticket). But I do have a photo source, so I hope to share a photo of our riders with you tomorrow.

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