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My Olympic Love Affair: Dressage

Sarah Harvey

client services director

Dressage is such a beautiful sport – in particular the tests where the horse and rider have to perform to music. It is like gymnastics for horses and the rider and horse are meant to look in harmony with each other. They made it look very easy on TV but it is incredibly hard to get to this level.

I have competed at dressage for many years and when I was younger I used to compete side-saddle. This was how lady riders in the Victorian era had to ride; to one side as it was deemed inappropriate for them to be seen riding astride when even as much as an ankle showing could cause scandal!

The commentary box: dressage at London2012

It’s been a great Olympics for the Team GB! Our team gold was Great Britain’s 20th gold, surpassing the Beijing 2008 tally! Germany has won gold in every Olympics since 1984 and Britain hasn’t won a medal at all in the last century so it’s the best thing that could have happened to the sport!

My Olympic icon

Charlotte Dujardin without a doubt has been the most impressive member of Team GB. She and the ten-year-old Valegro scored 90.089% in the last test which is called the 'Kur'. This is where she chose the movements to an epic 'British' sound track (again chosen by her), which included music from Phil Collins, Bond and the chimes of Big Ben!

She has only been competing at this level for the last 18 months and has scored some of the highest scores ever known which is extremely impressive! It also gives hope and inspiration to many of us lower level riders who dream of one day competing at higher level dressage!

Meanwhile at other Olympic venues…

The equestrian three day eventing and show jumping have obviously captured my attention, but I have also really enjoyed the athletics and the rowing, which have both surprised me. I think the atmosphere has been so electric you can’t help but get drawn into sports you would never normally enjoy watching.

Watching the equestrian teams all win medals has been amazing! In total we have won five medals: three golds, one silver and one bronze. Royal Mail has commemorated our excellent performances by painting post-boxes in the riders’ home towns gold - Sark’s only post-box will go gold in honour of Carl Hester!



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