In January nearly 50 grooms of potential Olympic and Paralympic horses for the 2008 Beijing Games received training and advice from Great Britain's World Class Programme. It was also an opportunity for the grooms to give their opinions on a number of challenges that will be faced in Hong Kong.
Two separate conferences were held in order to share information and give guidance on preparing horses for the coming Games. The grooms of the horses in contention for selection to the Olympic and Paralympic Games will play a vital role in both preparing that horse in the run up to the Games and also during the competition, if selected. They were given an insight into the test event to which Britain took three horses to last August, including the lessons that were learned from that experience. They were also given advice on specific preparation steps planned for the potential horses, including monitoring, travel plans and climate issues.
There were presentations from experienced grooms, Jenny Ellis and Jackie Potts, who shared their views and experiences gained first hand from grooming at past Olympic events. Team Vets John McEwen and Jenny Hall spoke about veterinary information that grooms need to be aware of. The day also included presentations from Performance Director, Will Connell and Eventing Performance Manager Yogi Briesner.
The events were a great opportunity to share useful information with the grooms and also a chance for them to meet each other and share ideas and experiences. This is the first time World Class has organized an event such as this one; the positive feedback received indicates that they will definitely consider this approach in the future.
(news provided by British Equestrian Federation)
Note: The 2008 Olympic Games are especially important to Great Britain, since London will be hosting the next Olympics, in 2012.