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Sunday, July 15, 2007

On the Bus Again….

Just can’t wait to get on the bus again. You know, the Willie Nelson song. There is only one bus per hour to the site, and we missed the 7 am one by about 10 seconds. Jan ran after it and a soldier tried to flag it down, but no dice. Thumbs down.

One lovely thing at the venue is that there is no food. Normally there is at least coffee and pop in the media work room, but yesterday the promised coffee never arrived. We were on water rations only. There isn’t even one of the dreaded Bob’s Burgers outlets for spectators. I guess they must have known no one would come to watch equestrian. This is a soccer culture, after all. Team dad Mike Gallagher says the riders have the same problem. They have been eating in the grooms’ restaurant but as of yesterday they were banned. The venue is in the middle of a military complex that is in the middle of nowhere, so there is no chance of wandering off site to eat, only wandering off site to be eaten. Now here’s the clincher: we aren’t allowed to bring any food or drinks into the site. It’s the Pan Am Diet Plan. I could stand to lose a few, but my writing might start sounding like the rants of a medieval saint. We packed sandwiches and Jan threw in a couple of beer because this is a working holiday after all. We’ll see if the food gets through security.

The judging has had a few interesting spikes. Nigri, the Brazilian judge, gave the Brazilian rider three more points than all the other judges, who were within a point of one another. He then gave Yvonne Losos de Muñiz of the Dominican Republic three points less than all the other judges, and again the other four judges agreed to within one point of each other. Mariette Withages had Lauren Sammis in third behind Tom Dvorak and Yvonne Losos, whom she had tied for first. She had Sammis three points lower than all of the other judges, who had Sammis first, in most cases by quite a margin. I can’t wait to see what the judges do today, when the pressure is really on. Most of the team riders are today, whereas yesterday it was largely the individuals from the countries that don’t have teams (read: countries that don’t normally use horses for recreation).

Post-medals: the US did deserve to win. Andrea’s horse unfortunately got a little wired in the canter work, though Wiona had a nice test. It has become clear that Mariette liks A: men and B: Brazil. I would love to be a fly on the wall at the judges’ dinner tonight - or in whatever room finds Mariette and Jane Weatherwax alone together. Jane had Brilliant Too (who is absolutely adorable) almost six points higher than Mariette. If it were up to Jane, he would have been second, and if Mariette’s score was the mean he would have been around ninth. Then the ladies went to the opposite sides like tennis players switching courts, and Jane low balled Chris Hickey while Mariette gave him her only 70+ score of the competition. Mariette was not Canada’s best friend today either. She was the low score for both Andrea and Diane.

There are a few more people watching here, mostly a bunch of very happy Brazilians as they won bronze. They completely devastated the performance of their own country’s best horse by cheering in the middle of her tempi changes, so I’m glad they did pull into third. Over all they had better performances than Mexico. And Canada a bridesmaid to America once again.

I found out there is food here on site. Bob’s Burgers – I’d rather starve – and some bagged popcorn in the media area. Jan and I had our bag of food and beer taken away, as well as the pepper spray I brought in with no problem several times yesterday and Jan’s Swiss knife (waaaaa!). Karen P. says she had two bags with her when she went through. They searched the little one that had almost nothing in it, and didn’t even see her pick up and carry in the bigger one that was full of food and drinks.

Click here for unofficial Dressage Results - Team Competition.

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