The horses competing in the London 2012 modern pentathlon (11-12 August) will have undergone a demanding selection process, say organisers.
After the farcical scenes in Beijing 2008 — in which the horses refused dozens of times and several riders fell — British officials have tried to ensure this year’s showjumping will go as smoothly as possible.
Peter Hart, who is competition manager for modern pentathlon, began the selection process for suitable mounts more than two-and-a-half years ago.
“We contacted British Showjumping, put adverts in newspapers and went to our normal suppliers,” he told H&H.
“The key criterion for me was we didn’t want anything that would put in a nasty stop if the rider ‘missed’.
“We had an extremely positive reaction and I’m really pleased with the standard of horse we’ve got.”
Fifty-five horses were selected from a longlist of 90 at three trial days around the country earlier this year.
Polly Bursby of Chessington Equestrian Centre in Surrey is sending three, including Charlotte Steel’s Loughnatousa Romeo .
“They are quite forgiving, as they are used to different people riding them — they all hunt with the Surrey Union and showjump in the summer,” said Ms Bursby.
The showjumping phase of modern pentathlon involves a 1.20m course. Athletes have a warm-up of just 20min and five practice jumps.
Jabeena Maslin, who runs a showjumping yard in Beaminster, Dorset, told H&H that all 18 horses she was sending were genuine and reliable schoolmasters.
“They’ve got to be,” she said. “Some athletes are very good, but some of the other nations — well, some can barely do rising trot!
“These are horses that can cope with being missed and stood off.”
This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (10 August 2012)
Chilean kid looks like he borrowed the jacket from someone 3 sizes bigger. His horse was another saint. Horse quality in London is 1000X better then in Hong Kong. You can tell these horses knew their job, whereas in HK they turned racing TB into jumpers specifically for the olympic pentathlon.
"Another member of the Barefoot Eventers Clique"
Horses are LOVELY. Each horse is beautifully turned out. all of them are saints, and seem nicely schooled and well-acquainted with the arena.
The BBC showjumping commentator noted that yesterday the horses were all schooled over the course in a friendly competition by the pros who own them.
I'm trying to be gracious and open-minded and supportive of these athletes, but honestly? Right now I'm just disgusted.
The only 2 rides that have looked decent are the Pole, Symon (forgot surname) and the German Stephan Koller currently on course (very forward and straight and seems to have a solid foundation).
These rides all look like novice adult jumpers at a local - VERY local - show who are completely over their heads. The majority are getting left behind at every fence.
American Dennis Bowsher (sp?) ought to be ASHAMED of himself. He could barely keep his feet in the stirrups, picked up the wrong lead, could barely hold himself up, had a refusal at the very first fence (smart horse!) and subsequently crashed at least 3 fences on course.
Again, he ought to be ashamed of himself.
Right now there is a big Roman-nosed jug-headed but LOVELY roan named Trinidad on course with a Mexican rider who I WANT TO BUY NOW. Just one rail down and a TOTAL SAINT. BBC announcer "a good sort who's seen it and done it and got the t-shirt!"