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As I said to William Fox-Pitt as he walked up to me after his horses fetched some drama on Friday, "If we weren't sweating enough with the heat, we're definitely sweating buckets now." William's horse, Parkmore Ed, was asked to be represented to the ground jury during the afternoon's first course inspection.

As eventing is an endurance sport, a big part of it is the horse's welfare. Therefore there is a veterinary inspection before and between each phase of the competition. The dressage starts on Saturday, but this was the first time the horses have been inspected. There were loads of horses so the whole thing took two hours, and the British horses were some of the last to be inspected.

Until this point only a couple of lesser known horses from Brazil and Chile had failed and we were quietly feeling pretty confident that the Brits would pass with flying colours, so it was a serious shock to everyone watching when William's horse was suddenly asked to be seen again.

William Fox-Pitt with his horse Parkmore EdI could see the nervous glances between his team-mates. They must have been thinking that this chance of team gold was flipping away, but none of us watching could see anything wrong with the horse. He looked a bit lazy as he trotted in front of the jury, but totally sound.

Eventing press officer Winny Murphy said she thought it was to do with an insect bite on his stomach, but we had to sit and wait at least 15 minutes while they inspected several more horses before William and his horse were seen again.

The whole stadium went silent while we waited to hear their decision. Then the team and the audience watching visibly swooned with relief when it was announced that Parkmore Ed had been accepted.

I managed to grab a word with William straight afterwards and he said he was "totally surprised with the whole thing."

It was a problem with a blister on the horse's girth area caused by either rubbing or an insect bite and he questioned whether the jury had had a "boring afternoon." But I wonder whether William was also secretly thinking about one of his other horses, Tamarillo.

I'd heard on the grapevine that William would have really loved to have ridden Tam here in Hong Kong. We'll have to wait and see whether Ed will prove him wrong.

So onto the opening ceremony. We've got our very own much much smaller version in Hong Kong, but it's so amazing to be at an Olympics and it is a few hours to go before the dressage starts at 6:30 on Saturday morning (Hong Kong time).


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 6:26pm on 08 Aug 2008, GAMERACUS wrote:

    Please can you get somebody reporting who knows something about the sport, anybody with even the slighest interest in the sport would know the correct name of Williams others horse.
    The earlier report re the course walk contained no information regarding its severity, whats the point of going on an escorted course walk if your not going to pass on the information given.

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  • 2. At 6:42pm on 08 Aug 2008, Smiles849 wrote:

    Every time I watch coverage on the BBC, they mention the medal prospects of cyclists, sailors, boxing etc.but NEVER our wonderful, successful Eventing team who won SILVER at the last games and an individual GOLD.
    COME ON BBC, LETS HEAR IT FOR THE EVENTERS.

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  • 3. At 7:40pm on 08 Aug 2008, poeticmum wrote:

    Please Can anyone explain to me what the time diffrences are I am a big equestrian fan all I want to know is exactly what time in england are the equestrian events being shown
    and on what chanels unfortunatly I dont have satelight Or cable but I do have a telly with freeveiw inbuilt so somwhere in its range the Olympics are being shown
    sorry if this Question has already been asked
    but I dont want to miss our Team
    many thanks Poeticmum

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  • 4. At 10:14pm on 08 Aug 2008, evansjumps wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 5. At 02:35am on 09 Aug 2008, allieswheels wrote:

    I agree with comment 3 (above). What, EXACTLY is the point of writing a blog for a, presumably, mainly British-based audience, only to give event start times in HONG KONG time?!!! And then NOT mentioning the time difference (How many of the UK public WOULD know that without looking it up?)

    Let us have the VITAL details accurately - and preferably early enough to be of use to the viewer - PLEASE.

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  • 6. At 06:42am on 09 Aug 2008, Claire S - BBC Sport wrote:

    Come on now folks, let's be fair to Lizzie.
    All the UK TV coverage times of the equestrian events are listed here.
    The daily event schedules are listed in UK time here.
    Hong Kong is seven hours ahead of BST in the UK, as is Beijing.

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  • 7. At 10:04am on 09 Aug 2008, Susannah75 wrote:

    Ballincoola was William's other horse. I'm not sure why he is not riding him.

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  • 8. At 7:51pm on 09 Aug 2008, gosporthog wrote:

    It isn't Ballincoola, I thought it was Tamarillo that he was hoping to ride.

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  • 9. At 12:37pm on 10 Aug 2008, westbromalb wrote:

    I think this BBC blog is intended mainly for what I would call "general" sports fans.
    If you want a more "in depth" view of the Eventing team, and their progress, with more specialised information, I suggest you visit the British Eventing website.
    It does strike me that some people are deliberately trying to find fault with Lizzie's comments.

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  • 10. At 6:53pm on 10 Aug 2008, flexiblehorse693 wrote:

    Good afternoon. Here in the US we've been able to watch the equestrian events on NBC.com. Imtiaz Anees is doing the live time commentary. He has been posting what time the events start in Hong Kong as well as in the US EST. I love the fact that we can watch the horsey events albeit on line. I wished they would televise them in their entirety instead of the 'crash highlights'. Those of us who ride know how much it hurts to hit a fence or the ground. We dont need to hear, "oh thats got to hurt". LOLOL

    Cheers

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  • 11. At 06:03am on 11 Aug 2008, jwowwblog wrote:

    Good evening.First, thanks for the on-going commentary; very beneficial. My question - why isn't Karen O'Conner riding Teddy O'Conner????

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  • 12. At 11:46pm on 13 Aug 2008, gallantrw45 wrote:

    jwowwblog - Teddy o'connor was put down on the 28th of may 2008. He sustained an injury to his hindleg. The injury consisted of a severe laceration to the hind leg which severed tendons and ligaments alike, and was a direct result from Teddy slipping after he spooked and bolted.

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  • 13. At 4:46pm on 17 Aug 2008, parkmore wrote:

    Lizzie,

    Did you realize that Fox Pit was advised in January of this year that Parkmore Ed needed to be exposed to high atmospheric
    Dressage competitions as a fundamental part of the horse's Olympic preparation and
    Fox Pitt chose to ignore this advice? Did you
    know that because the horse's owner was so disappointed by Fox Pitt's lack of dressage preparation, he wanted to take the horse away from Fox Pitt after Chatsworth and not bother with even going to the Olympics? Do you think it is fair to a horse like Parkmore Ed to let Fox Pitt's wife
    rubbish the horse after the dressage test? Who was holding the reins? Who had 7 months to prepare the horse? Let's face it, how many individual Olympic medals has Fox Pitt won for his country? It ain't the arrows, it's the Indian.

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  • 14. At 7:49pm on 08 Sep 2008, akaGallopingGal wrote:

    While Fox-Pitt shows he can be an excellent horseman when he wants to be (Burghley '07-'08) perhaps his "self-confidence" got the best of him resulting in his poor performance at the '08 Olympic Games. In fact, one could argue he gave his BEST performance out of the dressage ring as he spun and sputtered about how everything was the horse's fault.

    The Games are meant to reflect the very best in athletic performances and sportsmanship, thus bringing honour to Queen and Country.

    Whinging and boo-hooing and blaming the horse and then sending the wife out as a surrogate excuser does not qualify as good sportsmanship -- in any country of the world.

    The Olympic Games are predicated on competing at your best -- which means proper preparation. And if -- as many people are now saying -- Fox-Pitt did not work to get his horse to a level of familiarity and comfort with the inevitable noise and lights and crowds found at any Olympics, well then, prepared he was NOT.

    I read that the horse suffered a serious puncture wound on the cross country which threatened his participation in the show jumping. But with eventual clearance from the Team GB vets, Parkmore Ed managed enough heart to put on a great show-jumping round to help our team bring home the Bronze.

    Here questions about poor sportsmanship rear their heads again, because at this point, with winning any individual medal an impossibility, Fox-Pitt persisted (over the vociferous objections of others on the team) in participating in the next day's INDIVIDUAL show-jumping competition. With a wounded horse the vets were still saying was definitely in pain!!! I am still stunned that this was allowed to happen and perhaps an investigation would be appropriate.

    I was always taught...from the very beginnings of my love affair with horses...that the welfare of the mount is paramount.

    The fact that a rider would jeopardize an injured animal with no hope for a win, place or show brings dishonour to our sport, not to mention questions that must be asked about failing to properly prepare a horse for competition, then blaming the horse for a rider's shortcomings.

    To answer the question "who is responsible, horse or rider" for an eventing performance, we all know it's supposed to be a partnership. But at the end of the day, I don't remember seeing any horses up there on the medal stand with their necks outstretched pawing and snorting for a medal to be hung around their necks!

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  • 15. At 4:12pm on 09 Sep 2008, akaGallopingGal wrote:

    Curiously, Fox-Pitt the Missus didn't blame Ballincoola for her mate's dismal 48.2 dressage test at Burghley (and his test on Tamarillo was not that much better...) What we're seeing is simply the wide range of Fox-Pitt's dressage abilities...no matter the horse, of course of course.

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