My second set of Paralympic tickets were for the Equestrian (dressage). The Equestrian events are held in Greenwich Park which is a beautiful location. We were very lucky and caught a sunny (though cold) day.
When I was a young teenager I loved horse riding. I grew up in a region where horse riding is a major sports (on my recent trip to Germany, one of my cycle trips with my dad took us to a restaurant in a forest that had a ‘horse parking’ area, where you could secure your horse while you enjoyed a drink. This, naturally, brought up the question about drinking and horse riding. Can you lose your driving license while horse riding under the influence? But I am digressing…).
So as a teenager I took every opportunity to watch dressage competitions and there were plenty where I grew up. I am pretty sure I knew then how points were given and could spot a top competitor. At some point in my life my brain must have thought that this is pretty useless information and not needed. I really couldn’t tell much about how points were given during the Paralympic event. However, that didn’t take away from the competition.
The first rider was the German athlete Lena Weifen. She came in 7th overall.
Her German support team was easy to spot. I need to get one of these hats for Rio 2016, but which one? The cowboy hat (would go well with my Texan pride)? Or the Seppelhut (the traditional Bavarian style hat, but then I grew up in Northern Germany, so back to the cowboy hat…)?
The Equestrian event was general seating, so after the break, we decided to switch seats to get a different view of the event With the Royal Naval College and the skyline of the Docklands in the background.
Again, I was very impressed and moved by the athletes. One of the riders was blind and as blind rider she was allowed to have her coach shout out when she reached certain points in the arena. Sophie Wells from Team GB won the event in our session.
The last horse (with Australian rider Hannah Dodd) decided to leave a present for the Games Makers during her performance, which the Games makers had to scoop up afterwards.
We were wondering if the Games Makers played rock, paper scissors to decided who needed to scoop?
After the event we walked up the hill in Greenwich Park to the Royal Observatory to check on the view of the Equestrian arena. This is one of my favorite views of London.
You see the Equestrian arena in front with the Royal Naval College right behind. To the right the O2 Dome (or Millennium Dome as it was called originally, but called North Greenwich Arena during the Olympics and Paralympics – confused yet?). The Docklands are in the middle/left. And if you look really closely, maybe squint your eyes a little, you can the Olympic Stadium peeking out. Focus your eyes on the right top corner of the seating area of the Equestrian arena, then move your eyes up and in the little gap between the tall skyscrapers in the background you can see the Olympic Stadium looking out.