The London 2012 Paralympic Games started off on a somewhat wet and windy day for the Grades II and IB in the team test, but nothing could discourage the riders and teams from starting their Paralympic journey. There was the absolute chatter from the crowd of Greenwich Park and British riders pleased the crowds as they compete with the other participants.
Most of the spectators would have a taste of a first Dressage experience and they were perceptive to the needs of the competitors when it comes to cheering and even extended their congratulations when they learned it was safe to do so. For most riders, it would probably their first time to compete in an event with an enormous crowd, so it really marked the beginning of something that can be considered a unique experience.
On the first two days of the event, the games were about team riding in each Grade battling in the team test. However, there are also riders who are competing as individuals; they join the team test but the scoring will not be carried out to the final marks, making it some sort of a practice run for them.
Natash Baker (GBR) gave out a magnificent performance on test riding Cabral to garner the top spot in Grade II, but since she is not part of the British team (a team has 3-4 members) –the British team had qualified 5 riders: a team and an individual rider–Baker’s score does not count but surely, she’ll be one to keep an eye on for individual medals. Germany’s Britta Napel came in second place and the Grade II team test third place goes to Lauren Barwick, the reigning Paralympic freestyle champion from Canada.
Lee Pearson and horse Gentleman took pole position in the Grade Ib team test despite the pouring rain. If “it’s an OK start” as Pearson put it then he could go on and be the most successful British Paralympian of all time. Austria takes second place, with Pepo Puch. Third place in the Grade IB team test is Joann Formosa, a relatively new rider to the international competition competing for Australia for the first time.
What’s the Good News?
Rosie, Katja Karjalainen’s (Finland) mount, and Ballantine, Anne Cecilie Ore’s (Norway) partner, were two of the 77 horses that were inspected yesterday and submitted for reinspection – and these horses passed!
Karjalainen rode Rosie for the Grade IB team test this afternoon and came to take the fourth place. Ore will ride Ballantine for the grade III team test tomorrow.