Monday, August 11, 2008

Day 6

My blogging friends on Day 6 – cross country. A bit of a sad day for Team USA – not the expected results. We dropped way down after a tough day…really it was just unfortunate things. The new FEI rules dictate now that 1 fall of horse/rider is cause for elimination (previously a rider could continue and a 2nd fall would eliminate them). Anyway, poor Amy Tryon on Poggio had a stumble upon landing at fence 10, and Poggio just couldn't pick up and Amy got dropped out of the saddle. End of her day at #10. They both walked home, very disappointed. Poor Poggio almost saved them, but their speed over the big spread fence (birdhouses) caught them out. Meanwhile the Aussies and Germans were tearing it up…I mean great riding, and some lucky recoveries by the riders ( and in eventing there are always those….) and great hearted horses. The Brits had a few mistakes but the veterans Mary King and William Fox Pitt and Daisy Dick all did terrific jobs –especially Mary who was the final rider on course. Mark Todd was #1, jumped clear to establish the do-ability of the track, and Mary aced a wonderfully fun ride at the end.

Gina Miles and Mckinlaigh were stars…they tore it up, spit it out , and are now in 5th individually. I mean to tell you it was just like her Rolex ride 3 or 4 yrs ago. Solid, fun to watch, and certainly needed for the team. Next was Becky..she was doing just great when the Chinese dragons got her at the back of the course. She had a stop, regrouped, and then was given a tech refusal for crossing her track before re-jumping. I think this will be protested …I was not able to see the whole thing because I was on another tv screen when she tried the second time. Anyway, she finished well but I know she is really upset. 60 faults plus time. I did not have access to the barns today, so I never saw any of the troops.)

Next was the rookie Mandiba. Karen was giving him a super ride and then at fence 9, the downhill brush to skinny brush arrowheads, Mandiba launched over the first, got really strong the the skinny and ran out, taking down the flag with her. In trying to regroup, Karen was almost unseated, but very cleverly stayed aboard. She then went the long way and continued on. At the end of the course, 2 from home there was a very tough line of offset brush/ditch jumps- direct line was very difficult, but the long way was being done by more people towards the second half of the day. I don't really know why Karen chose to go the direct way, but she just missed the second one, and Mandiba actually put his foot in the take off ditch (not very deep or wide), and ran out. So Karen finished the long way and went on home …40 faults plus time. Which by the way, no one made as predicted. The fastest time of the day was by the Aussie Shane Rose (9.2) and he had some hairy moments and recoveries to make it clear too.

Philip was next and did not disappoint…Connaught was super and Phillip showed, again why he is probably one of the best cross country riders, ever. He had one really long spot at the Red hill corner, but other than that, he was superb. Veteran and experience - just 19.6 time and he is in 14th.

The day was overcast and not too hot - a bit humid, but the best we could have had. Sprinkles in the early AM had us worried as storms were only started raining on the last 5 riders of the day. And considering Mary King, and the Irishman Naill Griffin were in that group, it was as if they ordered up their homeland weather!! They both did really well. Overall, the course was tough, fair, and most importantly SAFE. I think three horses met the ground, and were all led home by their riders. The poor young rider for China, Alex Huan Tian, who has been riding very well in England this past year, got dumped at the 8th..the rockpile jump. The horse was jumping well, but got too close and hung a leg, and down they both went - both were fine but the crowd who were cheering like mad for their countryman, sighed a collective AAWWWW, when he went down. Too bad, cuz he is the first ever China rep in 3day. He will be back again.

The Germans are leading, the Aussies are a close second, and Great Britain moved into third. New Zealander Andrew Nicholson, had a fall at the second to last brushes and, had to walk home too. That pair of jumps , plus the downhill brushes and skinnies were the two bogey jumps of he day…almost 80%, I would guess, of the faults were at these two series of fences. Runouts were the most problems, and a couple of falls, and fall offs…the horses didn't seem too tired or affected by the weather. Lots of misting fans for them at the finish really helped their cooling off.

One fun note was the rider from Brazil – a fairly large (and shall I say, UNathletic) man who looked like he needed the misting fans when he was done. He jumped clear and slow..but watching him finish and then with his team at the cooling area…we thought he was just going to open a beer and have a cigarette!! Just that type of guy……

I have had some responses that some of you got to see the coverage..I hope the pictures, which were really great in the control room, were good for you guys too. We had about 12 monitors for the whole course, plus the main feed that went out to the tents. I need to research this for Rolex for next year……

Announcing note: The Chinese presentation team wanted more Chinese to be spoken during the day, so we have a terrific pair of students doing that for us. However, because of the tempo of the cross country commentary and trying to do 3 languages, this day was one of the toughest announcing jobs ever. Giles and I (English) did the tag team announcing, and then we had intros in French, scores in Chinese ,and intros too….it was very hard to get in the rhythm of the day….very hard watching on tv waiting to talk , and not being "live" with our talking…..I know we missed a lot, because of waiting for the translations to finish…it seemed to take forever at times. The girls are doing fine, but when we are used to doing only one language, the timing was never great. We did fine and people were very complimentary (including some of the Chinese workers who told me that they wished Giles and I had done it all – praise indeed, I think)…but for me, I was very mentally tired after only 4 hrs. After today, it is all downhill and gravy AND we finally come to the end of morning and evening sessions. Maybe a full night of sleep (first time since, 2007, I think!!!!) will revive all of us.

So, I think that's it for now. Check out Nancy Jaffer on and follow the real reporter…I will read her stuff later tonight. I think we are headed for a boat ride in the harbour tonight to celebrate a wonderful cross country day at the Games.


At Monday, August 11, 2008 at 11:42:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

terrific update - keep them coming

At Monday, August 11, 2008 at 12:21:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, the rider from Brazil... he did manage to get around the course and actually did ok... His ride was amazing because of his outward appearance...

Mary King's ride reminded us all about how XC is to be riden. Her ride was amazing because of both talent and scope of both horse and rider!

Team USA, I love you! Go Gina and Big Mac!

At Monday, August 11, 2008 at 3:45:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Erin and I watched Karen's ride and she must be part Velcro to have stayed on Mandiba! Now that we've discovered we can catch it on the Oxygen Network, we're taping it every night. Erin says to tell you "Hi."


At Monday, August 11, 2008 at 4:32:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brian, what time (hong kong) is SJ? NBC isn't listing it, but if you tell us we can go to it live.
Keep up the good work & good posts.

At Monday, August 11, 2008 at 4:37:00 PM EDT , Blogger said...

Take a look at the Olympic timetable. SJ times are on there.

At Monday, August 11, 2008 at 7:17:00 PM EDT , Blogger Heidi's Mom said...

Hi Brian, I watched online at It was totally awesome to be able to watch it live since they aren't showing much equestrian on TV. I loved hearing you in the background! You did GREAT! It must have been hard to coordinate the announcers but you did wonderfully! They didn't show the US riders very much though, and I could hear you in the background commenting on Becky and Karen but I couldn't hear what had happened. So I had a few very tense moments there wondering if they were OK. Thank goodness they only had refusals and no one got hurt. I was proud of our team though. We all have not so great days in competition, I hope the team isn't too disappointed. You just have to roll with the punches. Gina and Phillip's rides were stellar! Amazing to watch. I think all the riders rode smartly. I'm glad no one made the time. That course was really hard and I'm glad everyone chose safety over taking risks just to meet the time. So happy there were no injuries. Thanks for these wonderful updates Brian. Can't wait to see the Jumping.

Valerie from Maryland

At Monday, August 11, 2008 at 7:30:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Brian just watched the commercial coverage of x & you & Giles continued to sound great. Nice to have the "pros" on site. you guys ROCK! thanks

At Monday, August 11, 2008 at 7:43:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perfect Katie, thanks


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