German Victory in Olympic Test Event
Photo: Ian Jones
The Jumping phase took place in the evening under floodlights. Despite the fact that the sun had set, the temperature remained high (30ºC) but humidity had mercifully come down to 75%.
It was a great finale to an altogether successful test event. Even though today's result was not so much about winning or losing, Frank Ostholt was delighted by his victory, "It was very useful for us to come here. Our team came to gain insights but winning makes this trip extra sweet," he said.
The riders' major interest was the effect heat and humidity had on their horses. Most found that the animal athletes took the very testing weather conditions better than the humans. In addition to the team veterinarians, an international group of 30 experts had their eyes on them gathering flight recovery and acclimatisation data. Information on weight, water intake, and blood parameters was collected. It will be compiled in a comprehensive report which will be made public as soon as it becomes available. Special effort was made to cool the horses down after every major workout. Forty tonnes of ice cubes were used yesterday on the Cross Country.
The organisation and the efforts of the Hong Kong Organisers have been praised and appreciated by all. However, some improvement will need to be done in the remaining year. The quality and speed of communications is one of them. Security is another. Equestrian Company CEO Lam Woon-kwong has declared further precautions will be aimed at plugging any apparent loopholes in security checks.
More than 1,000 police officers were deployed on each of the competition days but it is too early to tell if any adjustments to manpower for next year will be necessary.
A field of 20 local riders from Hong Kong riding schools took part in a national class. This is the first Eventing competition of a significant level in Hong Kong. FEI Officials were pleasantly surprised by the high quality of horses and riders who displayed real knowledge and who, most importantly, fully enjoyed the ride. The winner is Tara Delaney on Gagnant (52.9).
Since apart from racing equestrian sports have no tradition in Hong Kong, the test event was also an excellent opportunity for the public to become familiar with horsesport and to get its first taste of Olympic spirit.
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