Sunday, August 10, 2008
Olympics on My Mind
Silk isn’t the least bit interested in the Olympics, but I am. I’ve been following the story of the U.S. Olympic Equestrian team and hoping that they not only perform successfully but also stay safe. As you probably know, the Equestrian games were moved from mainland China because there were too many equine diseases there. After spending about $100 million on improving and building facilities in Hong Kong, the horses and riders arrived.
The concern about the humidity and air quality is huge. There have been record smog levels this summer. The horses were transported in air-conditioned vehicles from the airport to air-conditioned stables. As many of the events as possible will be held indoors. The cross-country course was scaled back from 11 minutes to 8 minutes for the horses’ health. On Wednesday, when the riders and horses were settled in, a typhoon blew through Hong Kong. Fortunately, it cleaned things up and the humidity wasn’t so high.
Today, the U.S. is in third place after yesterday’s dressage competition. Australia is first, followed by Germany. Tomorrow, the cross country will begin. Karen O’Connor is going to wear a bracelet of horsehair from her beloved Teddy when she rides. I keep thinking about how difficult and emotional this time must be for her.
I found two interesting Olympic blogs from the equestrian perspective. One is by Max Corcoran called “Inside the O’Connor Cavalry” the other is by Jennifer Bryant for The Horse.com
In Max Corcoran’s post on July 28th, when she learns that she will be going to the Olympics with Karen and Mandiba, she writes about how much she loves these horses. Mandiba sounds like a great horse, and I’m sure that Teddy will be watching over them. I think that the Olympics is one of the few times in our world where we are able to witness life's full panorama, from glory to tragedy, in a remarkably short moment. I hope that Karen's and Mandiba’s experience will be all that they dream it will be.