THE OLYMPIC SELECTION TRIALS
Watching the Olympic selection trials for the first time was an educational experience, to say the least! The series of five classes, with technical courses that included difficult combinations, was held over eleven days at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida. From what I could see, many of the horses jumped their hearts out!
The process of selecting the Olympic team for 2008 is just that, a process. The trails are not the only part of it. First, the Olympic selection committee will decide who will be the ten horse/rider combinations; four of the ten can receive a discretionary spot or a bye on the team and the remaining six will be the top six finishers in the trails. Then the ten combinations will compete in Europe in two groups of five horse/rider combinations, after which the selection committee will recommend an Olympic team of four and one reserve, no later than July 15, 2008.
At the highest level of showjumping, the timing and preparation of the horse and rider athletes are a crucial part of ensuring their optimum performance. Before the event, a concerted effort by a team of knowledgeable professionals would assist the horse and rider athletes by using calculated trial and error type planning which increases the odds of success. Strength, endurance and skill training, nutritional essentials, timed interval training, and others, would all be part of the preparation. In other words, the expression, "the devil is in the details," would be a good way of explaining how complicated it could be to prepare the athletes for an event that requires that kind of endurance.
I was truly fortunate to witness such a special series of show jumping in America and appreciate the opportunity to observe the best athletes during high level competition.
Catch up with me next week for another blog about my experiences at the Winter Equestrian Festival!
Talk to you later!