Hong Kong 2008

December 3rd, 2009

Well the Olympics was the most amazing horse show I have been to! Apart from the intense heat and overbearing humidity, Hong Kong put on a spectacle like no other! To be there, part of it all was just out of this world! The facilities were first class, the arena footing was superb and the jumping was fantastic! The atmosphere was electric throughout the event and I never really understood how this would feel till I experienced it at the Olympics. To be there watching all the top riders in the world and seeing them in the flesh was an experience I will never forget! One particular horse and rider combination which I had been waiting a long time to see and was totally awestruck by was Jos Lansink and his beautiful grey stallion, Cumano. Seeing this horse on TV does not compare in the slightest to seeing him out there in front of you and realising how much scope and power he has! Not to take anything away from Eric Lamaze and his super little horse Hickstead, who claimed both team Silver and individual Gold for Canada. It was an extraordinary feat for both Lamaze and Canada, claiming the first-ever Olympic jumping title for his country. The teams event was very exciting with the USA piping Canada for “Team Jumping Gold” in a thrilling 3rd round jump off Monday night. An unexpected bronze medal for Norway was a great effort for the team who climbed up from 6th place, from the previous days competition. Unfortunately it was not the NZ team’s (Katie McVean, Kirk Webby, Bruce Goodin and Sharn Wordley) time to shine but for Kirk Webby who made his Olympic debut things went extremely well. Kirk and his gutsy mare Sitah, who was originally team reserve, stepped up to the challenge and put in a top effort only to incur 4 faults at fence 12. The individual final was another grand display of excellence, with an exhilarating two horse jump off battle against the clock between Eric Lamaze and Hickstead and Sweden’s Rolf-Goran Bengtsson with his little “pocket rocket” Ninja. Both combinations were outstanding, very quick and careful, with only the last rail dropped by Bengtsson, resulting in the silver medal. Bronze was earned by USA rider Beezie Madden and her wonderful gelding Authentic. All three medal podium horses were Dutch-bred and put on a wonderful display of jumping, one which will stick with me forever! Before going to the Olympics the team at Mount View had already put plans in place to step up for the 2008/09 season, going to the Olympics has only given us more inspiration to make this happen! Pictured is Mount View rider Ike Unsworth and friends with Gold medal winner Eric Lamaze.