WEG blog: irksome rules and inspirational riders

  • Sarah Jenkins is not a happy bunny. I don’t tend to complain about organisation, I’m not really one to talk. However, this morning, I am a particularly unhappy bunny.

    The paradressage competition has begun in the covered arena. It’s lovely outside, but in here it’s a fridge. No, it’s a freezer. A nice big SMEG one. But a freezer all the same. This isn’t my beef, it’s just an observation. My problem is that I’m not allowed to nip between watching the (incidentally warm, outside) warm-up and watching the competition in the Siberian indoor because I don’t have the right “credentials”.

    I can see the warm up, it’s spitting distance. I’m allowed to go and stand by it, I just can’t walk 100m across the little path to get to it from the press seats. I have to walk all the way around the stadium. This kind of thing really gets my goat.

    It’s not because I’m That lazy, I could do with burning off a few pulled-pork sandwiches, it’s just that, on spying the person you need to talk to, you’ve got 30 seconds to run the gauntlet before they disappear into another area (which I bet you don’t have the “credentials” for, either). During that run, you will no doubt be told by three event staff in pale blue Ariat jackets that you can’t be wherever you are, that you can’t have an umbrella here, that you can’t return to your car with those bags, and that there is no re-entry. Oh, and don’t run!

    It’s not the volunteer event staffs’ fault, but greetings, whoever the jobs worth is that made these daft rules up, from one rather aggrieved bunny.

    In addition (and I’m wrapping this rant up shortly I promise) there is no power for my laptop. Not quite sure how they expect journalists to upload copy without power in the media seating for laptops.(And lord help you if you try and sit anywhere else, not that there’s power there, either).

    And of course, my battery just cut out. I have now found a random plug on the wall in a corner of the arena. And I’ve cheered up a bit. Britain’s previously unbeaten paradressage riders are on track for yet another team gold medal. I’ve just watched Anne Dunham score a plus-71% test on the fabulous Teddy Edwards and Sophie Chritiansen finish not far behind on Rivaldo Of Berkeley.

    Jo Pitt, who scored plus-68% at half ten this morning, described how fabulous it is for the paradressage to run alongside the rest of the disciplines at these World Equestrian Games. “This is bigger than our Paralympics,” she said, “because the equestrianism is often separate from other sports there.” She’s right, it is fabulous. Paradressage is a growing sport and the standard of horses and riders at this level will astound you. I’ve long advocated that able-bodied riders from all disciplines could learn a lot from watching how these riders communicate with their horses with limited aids. It’s inspirational. The partnerships they forge with their horses, too, are heartwarming. So one part of me is terribly snug even in Siberia.

    Uh, oh, a woman in a pale blue Arait jacket is giving me the eye, I fear I don’t have much time left here…

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