Wet weather causes havoc for riders and selectors

  • Weeks of wet weather have thrown Olympic eventing preparations for riders and selectors into disarray.

    With Badminton cancelled, Chatsworth (11-13 May) agreed to add an extra day of World Cup dressage to the schedule on Friday for potential Olympic eventing horses.

    But the Derbyshire fixture and many others were cancelled last weekend.

    British equestrian performance director Will Connell said it was “a disappointment and not what we would have wanted”.

    “But it is not the time to panic nor predict doom and gloom,” he added.

    British Eventing selectors had planned to announce the Olympic eventing team on 24 May. Now they will wait until after the Equi-Trek Bramham International Horse Trials (7-10 June).

    And riders are being flexible to ensure they catch selectors’ eyes.

    Francis Whittington had intended to ride Sir Percival at Badminton, then rerouted to Chatsworth. He is now taking him to Houghton (24-27 May) for the CIC*** with Bramham (7-10 June) as his reserve plan.

    “I’m having to rely on the back-up to my back-up,” he said. “I’m glad to hear we all have a little longer before the team selection is made.”

    Tina Cook is planning to take Miners Frolic to the CIC*** at Bramham and Laura Collett is taking Rayef to Saumur (19-22 May).

    The weather has also forced Olympic bosses to undertake additional groundwork work in Greenwich Park to support the spectator stands.

    A LOCOG spokesman told H&H: ” [We need] to install a temporary base for the south stand. We will remove approximately six inches of topsoil and lay stone either over a membrane or steel plates to provide a firm footing.”

    This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (17 May 2012)

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