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Sha Tin, Hong Kong

Horses are all about highs and lows - and the Olympic Games just magnify that fact.

We had them in the eventing where Team GB started badly, and ended up on a high winning two bronze medals.

We've just had them in the dressage as Jane Gregory did what was in her words a "disappointing" test only for Emma Hindle to pull out all the stops and produce a superb test putting Britain second overnight (more on that later).

And we've already had a blow with the show jumpers as Michael Whitaker's horse Suncal Portofino has been withdrawn from the games due to lameness.

So all I'm hoping and praying is that we're owed another high, ideally in the shape of another medal!

Emma Hindle hugs her horse after a great test

It's a shame Michael's replacement, Nick Skelton, won't be riding his top horse Arko.

He was removed from selection some months ago due to a mixture of concerns over fitness, and the inevitable strain an Olympics might take on his duties as a top stallion.

Nick will therefore be riding his other stallion, Russell.

There's still no word on what is wrong with Portofino.

All we know is that she left the UK sound, and was sound until two days ago, when she developed some sort of problem which made her lame.

So to the new GB show jumping team of John W, Nick S, Ben M and Tim S.

All four brought out their charges this morning for the first show jumping vet's inspection and I can happily say they all passed.

I'm particularly looking forward to seeing Tim's gorgeous mare Fresh Direct Corlato do her stuff when the show jumping starts on Friday.

Now back to the dressage - and what a first day it was for Emma Hindle.

Anyone reading this who saw her test will know what I'm talking about.

It was magical and the second best of the night.

Britain currently lies in the silver position which sounds great on paper, and I did get a bit carried away thinking maybe GB could sneak the team bronze.

But after a good night's sleep I'm seeing the impossibility of Britain winning what would be their first ever Olympic dressage medal.

There are five gold medallists still to come from Holland and Germany and to hold off Denmark and the USA for third would involve someone in each side having a complete shocker.

Hmmm, fingers crossed then! It's all happening tonight - the final session of the team competition starts at 1215 BST time.

Laura B, Anky, Isabell and Andreas, a feast of "dancing horses" as they say here in Hong Kong.

Lizzie Greenwood-Hughes is a presenter on BBC Sportsround and Newsround, and BBC Radio 5 Live’s equestrian reporter. Our FAQs should answer any questions you have.


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  • 1. At 09:40am on 14 Aug 2008, sambaggilbert wrote:

    Am not too worried that Arko isn't jumping instead of Portofino - temperamental isn't in it! Russel is much more dependable in a team comptetition, in my opinion.
    Emma Hindle's dressage test was fabulous - huge congratulations for producing what they're both capable of in such a pressure situation. Let's hope Laura can live up to that and keep us in contention today.
    Admittedly it would have to be phenomenal to beat the Danes, but I feel we could edge USA out of the top 4.
    Anyone else have an opinion on the colour of the riders' jackets in the equestrian sports? A lot of non-horsey people are saying they can't tell which riders are riding for which nation, as they are all wearing dark clothes and hats which cover their faces - they have a point. I could only tell who was who at times by the tiny flags on the saddle cloths.
    Why can't each national team wear a more individually coloured jacket? As far as I'm aware, it's only tradition which says they have to wear dark colours.

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  • 2. At 10:53am on 14 Aug 2008, mostlydressage wrote:

    Emma Hindle was fantastic! It would be lovely to see highlights of the dressage again please and Emma's test replayed in all its glory! We have seen hours of swimming heats with not a Brit in sight, currently screening shooting and badminton, again no GB competitors in them.

    The coverage with British Dressage's Jennie Loriston Clark commentating was wonderful, all be it tiny and interrupted by buffering - but why go to the trouble of producing such a fantastic programme screened only online once and nowhere else!

    I have everything crossed for Laura B later today.

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  • 3. At 11:45am on 14 Aug 2008, cazb21 wrote:

    Further to comment by 'mostly dressage'... please BBC can we have some dressage coverage repeated... somewhere..!? Listings online indicated Team dressage would be online, freeview, satelite etc... maybe it's just me - but I can't find it..!! Athens coverage was live on the red button, what's happened this time round?

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  • 4. At 12:34pm on 14 Aug 2008, nosegoose wrote:

    What is happening with today's dressage? It should be on now but there is judo instead. Is it the weather? Hong Kong is a long way from Beijing so I thought it might still be on. It would have been nice to have an update on whether or not it is going to happen please. I did try to look but found nothing.

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  • 5. At 12:40pm on 14 Aug 2008, sambaggilbert wrote:

    As I've pointed out every other day, watch the dressage streaming live on www.eurovisionsports.tv/olympics, screen 6.
    Doubtlessly it will be on BBC website later in the day as it was yesterday, but it's not live.

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  • 6. At 2:16pm on 14 Aug 2008, poppyRubyrun wrote:

    Just what is the point of this blog exactly? It offers no insight into the performances of any of the horses/riders...

    Oh well, come on Team GB anyway, we will be watching when we can!

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  • 7. At 2:28pm on 14 Aug 2008, sambaggilbert wrote:

    Disappointing test for Laura. I watched it in silence as no speakers on my PC, but it looked like she was having a tough time with a very tense horse. Which is annoying, from a team point of view, as there have been a few performing under par (i.e. Debbie MacDonald), and we could've sneaked into the reckoning with a 70%+ test.
    Perhaps it's for us to discuss the performances, poppyRubyrun, and Lizzie to tell us what the weather's doing and how exciting it is. I.e. the obvious!

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  • 8. At 3:11pm on 14 Aug 2008, poppyRubyrun wrote:

    I have only been able to watch a little of the dressage so far but its been fascinating. Appalled when the crowd laughed when the German riders' horse spooked and bolted. In my opinion some wonderful tests but many of the horses very wound up -the Canadian rider (or was it the Finn - apologies) didnt even halt squarely. The Canadian partnership did some nice half-passes but I only counted five strides for the last one. Also one of the horses was slipping into canter strides (hind legs only) during passage - but all in all extremely impressive displays of what advanced rider and equine training can produce - especially under lights with the distraction of the flame and big screen, as well as the atmosphere, for the horses.

    Didn't see Emma but hope she gets the bronze - well done!

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  • 9. At 3:11pm on 14 Aug 2008, poppyRubyrun wrote:

    Apols - I mean the Japanese of course!!

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  • 10. At 3:35pm on 14 Aug 2008, sambaggilbert wrote:

    If you notice, Salinero (Anky Van Grunsven) barely halts at all, square or otherwise, but she gets away with it because of the quality of the rest of her work - seems a little unfair.
    Would also like to see the higher range of marks used more by the judges. Could Anky really have found 26%-worth more from her test (sorry that didn't make v.good english!)?
    I'm going to stick my neck out here and question why Jane Gregory was selected? I'm annoyed with her that she says her horse is good but not amazing - the horse didn't ask to come to the Olympics, and is only as good as the person who rides it. I thought her test was unpolished and her riding untidy.

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  • 11. At 3:54pm on 14 Aug 2008, poppyRubyrun wrote:

    Wow - Isabel Worth / Satchmo's performance was amazing. The Germans deserve to win. The horse has such a beautiful, loose flowing action. She kept him so still during the flying changes - compare that with the previous rider (French chap) who yanked the horse's head from left to right. Well done!

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  • 12. At 4:32pm on 14 Aug 2008, nosegoose wrote:

    Thanks sambaggilbert for the tip about the eurosport website, shame they don't have the commentary, but I was able to catch an extra test there before the bbc finally kicked in. What happened with that anyway? It was meant to start at half 12 and was nearly half an hour late, most frustrating. But brilliant to be able to watch so much quality dressage, and on my tv as well rather than yesterdays rather cramped viewing at the computer. Enjoyed the commentary and learnt a lot, shame the third section had no commentary until nearly end of the second test though, and sometimes they get very quiet. I have never seen such a pink horse as that Russian who was second on the third section though! I wish we could have seen the judges marks as they came up, as they did on the big screen in the arena.
    I was interested to see how varied the piaffes were, there seemed to be two styles: one very bouncy where it was like the passage on the spot; the other more a change of pace where the horse stood still and just moved its feet, but with the fore and hind feet closer together. Of course the best ones seemed to combine these two extremes.
    Such a treat, thanks BBC, makes this years licence well worth it!

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  • 13. At 00:11am on 15 Aug 2008, AmandaLP wrote:

    Got in from work late tonight and all I can find from the dressage on the bbc website are two tests - those of Laura Bechtolsheimer and Isabel Werth. Very annoying - would liked to have seen the others too, especially Emma Hindle's. However, the eventing dressage from several days ago is still on there! Can't this now be removed to make way for the pure dressage? I have nothing but admiration for the eventers, since they are the ultimate in all-round horsemanship but many newcomers to the equestrian sports are dismissing dressage as boring, because they are basing their opinions on the eventing dressage. They do not realise that this is only really the equivalent to advanced medium at best in pure dressage and that Grand Prix level and the Kür are fantastic to watch even to the unititiated.
    Great that you have Jennie Loriston-Clarke commentating though - no one is better qualified for the job and you learn so much from her comments on the movements.

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  • 14. At 08:08am on 15 Aug 2008, poppyRubyrun wrote:

    I aree with Amanda. Come on BBC, you would never leave out a British athlete, swimmer or cyclist's performance, so give us the two missing GB dressage tests, plus the Germans and as many of the other competitors as you can fit on the video please (including Jennie's wonderful commentary).

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  • 15. At 10:10am on 15 Aug 2008, dublindarcy08 wrote:

    I think it's fair to say, BBC, that people are thoroughly dissatisfied! Please, please, PLEASE make your coverage more equal! Like myself, the majority of the country is at work during the day and is missing a vast amount of the live coverage. We are relying on the BBC to provide us with equal coverage of all sports when we get home.

    The lack of dressage has been truly pathetic, especially as there has been such blatant favouritism towards sports such as swimming. It is not the BBCs job to determine which sport may be more interesting than others, it is their responsibility to provide EQUAL coverage, or at least to make sure that if certain sports (such as equestrian events for example, which seem to be suffering in particular) aren't covered live, that they are then shown properly in highlights.

    It really isn't good enough. The Olympics mean a great deal to a great many people, and it is not fair to prevent people from seeing the sports that they are passionate about. I'm sure there are other sports suffering, along with the equestrian events, and that other sports fans are equally frustrated with hearing more about Phelps than our home teams.

    Please make some serious changes BBC!

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  • 16. At 11:18am on 15 Aug 2008, jacqui37 wrote:

    I think BBC'scoverage is great- I have taped it as I'm out all day - what is the difficulty?

    Emma did brilliantly, Jane tried a bit too hard as she knew she was the weakest of the three but the strongest of the alternatives , Laura's horse is known to be on the edge always- either wonderful or naughty- she'll do better next round- lots of horses were naughty in that arena- the Portugese retired

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  • 17. At 4:13pm on 16 Aug 2008, nosegoose wrote:

    Jaqui the difficulty is that not everyone has sat/cab so has to watch some of the event on their pc, in either a tiny little window of full size but with horrible resolution. Also this cannot be recorded so has to be watched live or not at all, as it is not available on iplayer. It is better than nothing and I am gearing up for another marathon pc watch today, but it is so much nicer when it os on a freeview channel I have access to and can sit on my sofa and watch the big screen in comfort!

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  • 18. At 9:51pm on 18 Aug 2008, jomo252 wrote:

    Having the ability to watch the dressage especially the Freestyle (Kur) is one of the rear times I actually make use my licence but I am thoroughly dissatisfied with your coverage or lack of it with the freestyle dressage! Please, please make your coverage more equal! We are relying on the BBC to provide us with equal coverage of all sports when we get home, or at least broadcast it on freeview so we can record it

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