FEI World Pairs Championships
20-24 September 2017
|Team GBR travel blog||
by Paul Sidwell team Chef d'Equipe
and Amy Mundell
|Sunday 24 September|
Final day - Cone driving
After being so lucky with the improvements of the weather, everyone woke up to torrential rain. What ground had dried out, was again flooded and churned into a mud bath.
Early start for GB, Libby was first into the cones after a slight delay due to timing issues. She used the opportunity that her score wouldn't be counted towards team points to try a different combination, giving one of her horses more experience.
From Libby onwards, the rain just seemed to get heavier and heavier with increasing rumbles of thunder.
Jo didn't have the round she wanted, but took away from it the good memories of the week she'd had!
The conditions continued to get worse, more and more water flooding the arena to the point where the competition was put on hold. A massive storm moved in, lots more thunder and massive flashes of lightning. The arena stewards were straight in brushing to try and move some of the sitting water.
James knew it was all or nothing, and gave it is all to defy the testing conditions smashing out one of the fastest times of the day, but sadly with two knock downs. Finishing the course with Alex covered in the sand spray!
David bashed out a solid round and maintained at his dressage placing of 12th place.
Team GBR finished in 6th place out of 18 nations.
The weather was only getting worse, and we were only getting wetter! Libby, David and James all wanted to get out of the showground as soon as possible, so decided to go to the castle for the night.
A big thank you goes out to Jack-in-the-Box and all others that came out to support GB. It was lovely to see you all out there.
GB individual placings
(out of 81 competitors):
|Saturday 23 September|
Luckily the weather was still being kind and we woke up to more sunshine.
All drivers were up bright and early to get out to the obstacles whilst it was quiet, lucky there was no rain so the conditions were still the same as when first walked. With the number of competitors and the success of dressage, GBR drivers weren't on until the afternoon.
This meant for lots of time customising the carriages with our GB stickers kindly provided by OPG and having a snooze for some!
Jo and her backstep got around safely, finishing with 135.12.
Libby was next out, unfortunately in section B, Libby's dad Graham missed his grip and came off the carriage... in that process sadly broke his ankle. He's doing okay now, but is needing an op this evening.
To our luck, Tony's daughter is a physiotherapist and first to get to Graham, so all things were quickly dealt with and she knew exactly what to do. Sadly this meant Libby had to retire, even though Maria was at the ready to jump on in his place.
The pause in the running order meant James was slightly later starting B, having more time at the halt. James and Lee were hot on their game but had two knock-downs and, at this level, that sadly changes places very easily as the points are so close.
David was last to go. Together with Wilf they reconfigured a whole obstacle route just before setting off. Definitely was a good idea as he remained the fastest in that obstacle out of the whole competition. Unluckily had a knock down in obstacle 8, which like James cost him places ending up 17th.
|Friday 22 September|
There was no time for a cuppa after Friday's dressage as all competitors have been out walking the obstacles making sure they're crystal clear.
This meant that especially for James and Libby on the second day it's been non stop!
All the best for the team for tomorrow's Marathon! Let's go GB!Dressage results - PDF download version
|Thursday 21 September|
The sun made an appearance just in time for the dressage, conditions improved a lot!
Not only did the good weather help the competitors, but it also helped to draw the spectators in, which added to the atmosphere.
Team GBR are lying in 7th place following the dressage, which is awesome out of 23 nations!!!
Thursday after Jo and David's test the Team got together with the support crew and did a team course walk. It gave everyone a chance to secure the best routes, and the best options for their horses.
Everyone worked together, making sure all routes were considered and checked timings.. Wilf had Amy galloping about testing all options!!
|Wednesday 20 September|
The stables were a hub of activity from the break of dawn to prep horses for trot up. The white socks were quite
a task, with all the mud we're surrounded by, but luckily the rain stayed away.
The lanes were running double time to what we had guesstimated, which put pressure on everyone but with first class communication from the support crew everyone was on time.
It became quite busy down by the waiting area, which didn't allow much space for walking. With limited warm up the tunnel helped put the horses on their toes before they ran up.
All horses successfully through and ready to compete finished with a team photo in the middle of the main arena.
The Opening Ceremony was a good chance for spectators to appreciate how many people are involved in each carriage driving team, as the organisers wished for the drivers and their whole teams to join the parade together.
The procession was lead by Lipica Stud's magnificent stallions into the stadium, where each country was introduced. Paul, our Chef D'Equipe proudly carried the Union Jack for GB and headed our team around the newly built hippodrome stadium.
Straight after the opening ceremony the team got started on prep for Nations Night! Our table obviously had a good stock of Pimms, along with some cheese and biscuits and Manx kippers.
It was a fantastic opportunity for the teams to mingle and experience all of what the other countries had to offer! The Moose from Sweden was definitely a favourite.
The evening continued with great drinks and was a good chance to celebrate the start of the competition as to our advantage Nations night was the perfect setting for drivers to relax and have a good time without the daunting thoughts of dressage - with the help of the Hungarian's pálinka !
|Tuesday 19 September|
After 15 hours of torrential rain, the attire for the day was wet weather gear and wellies!
As the numerous training areas had been closed due to the weather, each nation was allocated a 35 minute slot to train as a Country in the main arena.
Team GBR were very lucky as their slot was drawn to be lunch time, meaning we missed all of the rain!
The entrance to the stadium is through a tunnel (which had started to flood!!) so we made use of the time whilst the staff graded the arena to have a few practices.
Although wet, everyone is in good spirits, drivers and trainer were happy with the practice this morning.
Now with a free evening to have a look around the famous Lipica stud farm, whilst Paul attends the Chef d'Equipe meeting to get the briefing for tomorrow, when the World Championships begin!
Trot up starts at 9am, fingers crossed the horses will make it from the stables to the trot up lanes without dirtying their fresh white socks!!
Monday 18 September
For the past 4 days all Team GBR drivers and their horses have been travelling across Europe to Lipica in
Libby lead the team, closely followed by David and James, who all made various stops on the way, but met on Sunday night at the castle, which was just outside Lipica.
Everyone left the castle bright and early to hopefully get a good spot at the parking field, however on arrival the heavens opened!
David was the only one to get on without the assistance of a tractor!! After that, the rest of the team needed assistance, but not sure that tying the chains on would meet HSE requirements back home!
Jo arrived later that afternoon, as she drove directly from Austria and had a bit further to go.
By 5pm all 12 of the Team GBR horses were happily settled into their new homes for the week.