It's down to hours now, and things are really taking shape in Rio for the advent of eventing. At the 48-hour mark, we take a look at some of the horses training. The arena is set up for the individual dressage phase of eventing, which begins Saturday morning at 9 a.m.; the Irish riders were out to check it out this morning, while the photogenic New Zealanders are shown at yesterday's press conference.
Here's Jonty Evans of Team Ireland this morning. He is riding Cooley Rorkes Drift outside the inner dressage ring at the Olympic Equestrian Centre at Deodora. Evans, 45, previously represented Ireland in the European Championships. His horse is a ten year old Irish Sport Horse by the standing-in-Ireland Holsteiner stallion Courage II, who also sired Ringwood Sky Boy of the New Zealand team. Cooley Rorkes Drift is owned by Jonty and Fiona Elliott.
Judy Reynolds will compete for Ireland in dressage. She was out training at the Olympic Equestrian Centre in Deodora with the eventers, but she appears to be wired to listen to her trainer, or maybe some music while she schools. She'll ride the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Vancouver K (by Jazz out of a Ferro mare) in the Olympics; he is owned by her parents.
The big stage at Deodara: The Irish team during their arena time at the Olympic Equestrian Centre in Deodora ahead of the start of the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This view shows the set up for the individual eventing dressage, which begins on Saturday.
Mark Kyle of Team Ireland on Jemilla, a ten-year-old British Sport Horse, during Cross Country dressage training at the Olympic Equestrian Centre in Deodora. Mark is 42 and lives in Great Britain. He represented Ireland in the London 2012 Olympics, where Ireland finished fifth. He competed at the Athens 2004 Olympics, as well.
Here's Ireland's Claire Abbott, a 29-year-old math teacher on a normal day, on Euro Prince during dressage training at the Olympic Equestrian Centre in Deodora. Euro Prince is a lovely chestnut Irish Sport Horse with a unique claim to fame: he won the "best shod horse" prize two years in a row at Badminton Horse Trials!
On Wednesday, Team New Zealand was center stage. From left: Jock Paget, Sir Mark Todd, and Clarke Johnstone of the New Zealand Eventing Team posed with Julie Brougham, who will represent New Zealand in Olympic Dressage, during a press conference in Rio.
Clarke Johnstone of the New Zealand Equestrian Team spoke to the media during a press conference ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games yesterday in Rio. He represented New Zealand in the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky. Rio will be his first Olympics; he'll ride his family's own Balmoral Sensation, a 12-year-old gray gelding.
Sir Mark Todd of the New Zealand Equestrian Team at the microphone during yesterday's press conference ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games. He already has two individual gold medals to his credit.
Finally, the Team New Zealand, here's a lovely video of Clarke Johnstone galloping his horse on the beach. Isn't that what we all expect New Zealanders would do? It's part of Team New Zealand's "Be the Inspiration" promotional series.