Aug 3 2012 By Paul Warburton
GOT to sort out my Two Tempi from my Half Pass today – and sadly at the best Olympic venue visited so far.
Sadly, because Greenwich Park is on the wrong side of the river although the setting for the equestrian dressage is magnificent.
Day, what are we? Six – that’s it, and it was different place number seven already.
High up in the open air stadium, the city of Lawn-don, as IOC president Jacques Rogge put it when he awarded us the Games seven years ago, made a fabulous backdrop.
The historical grounds and the general tranquility of the place easily superseded the functional, pre-fabricated set-ups elsewhere apart from Wembley Stadium.
And dressage is an event that needs a bit of knowledge to follow closely.
The principles of rider controlling horse are pretty basic, and getting them to perform certain tests is straight forward enough. But how 71.655 percent for a Two Tempi is separated from 71.732 for the same move was beyond me.
The intricacies of the sport is going to have to wait for another day, and I half-guessed I wasn’t the only one in the arena with the same problem.
By the way, it’s also an event played out in near silence, with competitors, notably Britain’s Laura Bechtolsheimer gesticulating to spectators for quiet as she rode into the centre. We don’t want to spook the gee-gees you see.
That said poor David Marcus from Canada might as well have been at the Calgary Stampede as his mount, Capital, didn’t fancy it at all.
Half way through the routine, Capital decided he really wanted to be in a rodeo instead. And no matter, how much Marcus tried to control him he bucked, spun and galloped around out of control until the poor Canadian was forced to retire.
However, there is no retiring Hiroshi Hoketsu.
Interviewed briefly at the end, he revealed his first Olympics was 1964 back home in Tokyo. At first, I thought he said 2004, until the Japanese added he was already 71.
So for anyone of a certain age, who has given up hope of entering the Games, make a Half Pass towards the tailor for that top hat and tails.