9 challenges that Team GBR will face in Rio

  • Richard Waygood MBE, Chef d’Equipe for the British dressage team and guest speaker at the Saracen Horse Feeds summer trade conference – a prelude to Rio (26 July) discusses just how different Rio will be for Team GBR at the 2016 Olympic Games

    1. The language barrier – the people of Rio speak Portuguese, and 90% do not speak any English
    2. The time difference – the team are advised to turn off their mobile phones before they go to bed, as it is amazing how many people will forget the time difference and call or text during the night to wish them good luck
    3. The Olympic village is a huge distraction in itself – even the food hall has over 25 different restaurants inside
    4. The weather – obviously the climate is very different in Brazil compared to at home. Although the team have been training properly and have had access to heat chambers, Rio will still be a bit of a shock for both the horses and riders
    5. The opposition – no one knows how the opposition will perform in Rio, so it all comes down to what will happen on the day
    6. The crowd – although many equestrian enthusiasts will fly over for Games, local people still attend and they may not know how to behave sympathetically around horses. For example, they could use flash photography, clap or cheer at the wrong time and spook the horses
    7. The flight – the dressage horses travelled from Belgium on a flight lasting for 11 hours 40 mins yesterday afternoon (1 August). It will take them at least two days to fully recover. There are between 35 and 45 horses on each flight, and most flights leave from Belgium as 90% of the horses competing are based in Europe

    Continued below…

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    8. The adjustment – alongside the journey and the heat, the horses may not like the water so special precautions have to be taken, as it contains a much higher chlorine level
    9. Travel arrangements – the Olympic village is a distance away from the venue, so travel arrangements and traffic must also be carefully considered each day

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