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Rio 2016 – Day 7 Equestrian 

Trot on. Not my normal sporting activity although I do like the gee gees, but this was slightly different watching the Equestrian team and individual jumping qualification today.

We made our way out to Deodoro, where Brazil’s National Equestrian Centre already existed and an impressive sight it was. The 32,500 seater outdoor arena was built for the 2007 Pan American Games and forms part of the Deodoro cluster of Rio 2016 stadia which includes a mountain bike and BMX track, the modern pentathlon park, where the rugby was held last week as well as the field hockey plus somewhere there was a whitewater rafting and canoe slalom course. I’d like to have seen that.

Nonetheless 4 hours sat in the beating hot sun watching the horses trot around was quite enough. I can’t imagine how hot Rio can get on a warm Summer’s day, but today was toasty and even the beer did not help with my hydration.

imageIt was fun though, different, and those horses are magnificent creatures. We watched every competitor take part, with the net result that the best 8 four-(wo)man teams compete tomorrow for medals. The British team, gold medalists in London, which was Nick Skelton, Ben Maher and the two Whitaker brothers Michael and John, failed to qualify disappointingly, but the Brazilian quartet did, which turned the atmosphere in the arena more akin to a football match, which I am sure would have had those at Hickstead tutting into their champers.

Skelton, Maher and Michael Whitaker each made it through to the next individual round, with 45 going again tomorrow and then the top 35 competing in the final on Friday. Today was all about the team contest, although the riders were competing for individual places, but the commentators didn’t seem to dwell on it too much. A little confusing.

The best four teams going into tomorrow are the USA, the Netherlands, Brazil and Germany. The other qualifiers were France, Canada, Sweden and Switzerland. But we are back at the pool tomorrow. Tally ho.

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