July 30 I'll be on the night flight to London to see the Dressage at the Olympics. This is my first Olympic visit and I could not be more excited. It is also very appropriate that the location is London. London is where I met a horse for the first time in my life. It was the year of Queen Elizabeth's Coronation and I was three . Yes , dear reader, now you know that I am in the 'aged' category. My grandmother's house in London, where we were staying, was on a narrow quiet street and every morning the milk cart came and stopped at the front door. Pulling the cart was a huge , to my eyes, black horse with white legs. There are details from my life yesterday that I cannot remember but I remember that horse as clearly as if I had just seen him. The milkman would give him a snack in a feed bag while he was outside my grandmothers house and with my Granny firmly holding my hand I would be allowed to reach up and pat him. What a magnificient horse he was. How I wished he could be mine.
It would be several years before I had a horse of my own. I started out riding Western and then moved to English and the jumpers. Uinversity and the usual student financial pressures intervened and my riding stopped. However in my twenties I moved from Vancouer BC where I had grown up to England and occasionally I would visit cousins and be able to go for a hack. Many years later I came back to horses and riding when my daughter started to ride and now my horse and my riding are the things that keep me young at heart.
Advancing years and a few replaced parts ( two total hip replacements) have not deterred me from riding. I now like to call myself a dressage rider and hence my interest in seeing the dressage in London. In the dressage world there have been a few dramas leading up to the Olympics; some questionable selections of teams and individuals, the withdrawal of star horse Totilas due the illness of his rider and all of the pressure on riders of many countries to achieve the scores to qualify for a team or individual spot. For me one of the most exciting aspects of the Dressage at these Games is the possibility of Britain taking the Team Gold and also some individual medals in the Freestyle.
There are news stories of possible transport strikes, bank cash machines running out of cash, not enough security etc etc. I am not put off in the slightest. London is an amazing city. Will it be busy and hectic? Yes it will. Will I have to queue up for security checks? Yes I will. Will I get wet in the rain? Most likely even though I am taking my brolly ( British for umbrella) and rain coat. It's London and it's the Olympics. I have a chance to see some of the best riders and horses in thw world. How can I complain?
I have tickets for the Grand Prix and for the Freestyle. In the ticket lottery I was not able to get tickets for the Special but I have tickets to watch that on one of the big screens in Hyde Park. Not the same as live I know but better than sitting by the tv. There wil be a big crowd there to see if the Brits can take that Gold Medal.