I apologize in advance for beginning every post during the Olympics with “God, it’s hot”, but honestly it’s top of mind at the moment. That aside, it was honestly a gorgeous morning for a trot-up, and we got our first glimpse of the horses and riders all decked out in their country kits and raring to go after arriving here in Tokyo last week. At long last, it’s officially go time and we’ll move forward to dressage beginning tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. JST.
There were two notable changes during the horse inspection this morning. Jessie Phoenix sadly withdrew her veteran campaigner Pavarotti before the jog, writing on her social media that “Rotti” sustained a minor injury after his last gallop. “While I’m devastated that Rotti will not get to compete and show his talent on the world stage, I’m thankful that he’ll be back to his usual self soon,” she wrote. “I’m blessed that our Canadian riders are a tight group of supportive teammates who rally around each other in our times of need.” This withdrawal leaves Colleen Loach and Qorry Blue d’Argouges as the last Canadians standing.
Also shaking things up today was the elimination of Polish combination Pawel Spisak and Banderas, who looked to be in top form in their last prep at Luhmühlen last month and will see their Olympic dream end heartbreakingly early. Banderas was initially sent to the hold box and was sadly not accepted upon re-presentation. This will open the door for our first substitution of the Games as Jan Kaminski and Jard will step up to the plate; with this substitution coming prior to two hours before dressage, this will not incur a penalty. It’s safe to say that Poland will have a stiff challenge now, with one of their top pairs now forced to the sideline.
Aside from those two changes, I’m pleased to report that it was smooth sailing for most everyone else. Puerto Rican combination Lauren Billys Shady and Castle Larchfield Purdy were sent to the hold box but were quickly accepted after jogging again. She’s surely glad to get that part out of the way, kick on Lauren!
Team USA looked quite patriotic in their Ralph Lauren kits and all horses were impeccably turned out by the grooming contingent of Emma Ford (Z), Stephanie Simpson (Tsetserleg TSF), Courtney Carson (Vandiver) and Bridget London (Mai Baum) – you all are the real heroes and your horses looked lovely!
I’ll be adding more photos to this post as I get them sorted, but for now enjoy just a few shots from the day. Keep checking back for much more. We’re having a press conference with Team USA in about an hour, and we should also receive the Order of Go for dressage shortly, which I’ll be sure to share with you.
Thanks for staying up late to follow along! If you want to catch up on the horse by horse action, you can do so on our Twitter feed (@eventingnation).
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