After Richard Davison finished his ride on Artemis as the individual rider for Great Britain, he dug into his pocket and then gave his horse a treat. While Davison isn’t a member of the British team that won the Gold Medal, he’s just as proud and the cheers for him were just as strong as those for his countrymen. “I hope I have another Games left in me,” he commented, “but I know I will never experience anything like the community spirit like I have had here in London. I have been full of pride ever since I arrived at St. Pancras station last Sunday.“
For the awards ceremony, the Brits came out one at a time and wherever possible talked to the crowd as they passed and even shook a few hands. They believe the team spirit on home turf helped give them the extra push they needed to win the Gold, when in fact they needed no help at all. They won on a score of 79.979 over Germany who claimed the Silver Medal (78.216), with The Netherlands in the Bronze position (77.124).
As I watched all the riders come up and stand on the podium I noticed that only Charlotte Dujardin was wearing a helmet while the others still had on their top hats. Once January rolls around a new rule goes into effect requiring them to wear helmets. Recent serious accidents by well-known Dressage riders (i.e. Olympic veteran Courtney King Dye and others) have pushed the powers that be to pass this ruling.
When asked why she opted for a helmet instead of the usual garb Charlotte basically said that the danger is there and the rule is coming so why not just start wearing the helmet.
Our U.S. riders ended in the sixth spot after the team competition. So far none of our riders have been able to do what it takes to win medals. We’ve still got two more shots with the individual Dressage and Show Jumping still to go but our riders are up against some very strong equestrians and would need a lot (and I mean a lot) of luck to get to the top.
There were other special moments. Seeing Ann Romney watching Jan Ebeling ride her horse Rafalca was good. Ann stood up, cheered and waved to Jan as he headed out of the arena after his ride.
Watching Anky van Grunsven ride Salinero was special since I’ve seen her win so many past Olympics and World Equestrian Games with that horse. He’s 18 now but his ride was spectacular. He received a score of 74.794 and I for one thought he deserved even higher. That horse has so much expression in all his movements it makes watching that pair go even more spectacular. This time she helped their team to a Bronze Medal, which she admitted was the only color medal she doesn’t have, so her treasure chest is now complete.
When asked if she was going to retire Salinero, she said yes to the horse but she plans to continue to compete. One of the questions to the German riders was are they disappointed in not winning their 10th Gold Medal in a row. They quickly responded that they are a young team and are thrilled with their Silver. They exuded enthusiasm both on the podium and in the press conference.
The flags for all the top countries were flying full force today and of course the British flag dotted the audience everywhere. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the enthusiasm in England at these Olympic Games is beyond amazing.
Take the time to read the many reports written about the team finals. You’ll learn about which horses are going to be sold, who is being retired, what the judges had to say and so much more. It was a great day and the journalists and photographers were out in full force today after the British Gold Medal in Show Jumping yesterday. Even Princess Anne was spotted in the VIP section.
When I look around at my fellow equine journalists it’s clear we are near the end and quite tired. It’s these last few days that the weeks of no sleep start to catch up with you. We all have such joy in bringing the behind-the-scenes story to you with our articles and photos but it takes long hours to keep up with it. But at the end of the day it’s great fun to relive the action through our photos.
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