Hill And AJ Primed And Ready

Published: Thu 2 Aug 2012 01:08 PM
Hill And AJ Primed And Ready
It’s D-day for New Zealand’s sole dressage representative at the London Olympics.
Louisa Hill and her stunning horse Bates Antonello (AJ) will compete in the individual dressage competition at 2.02am tomorrow morning (Friday NZ time).
For the 50-year-old from Auckland, who is competing at her second Olympics, it will be a relief to get underway after a rather challenging preparation
“It’s all in the lap of the gods now,” said Hill. “I will go into that arena and do the very best we can.”
Equestrian Sports New Zealand high performance director Sarah Harris has no doubt that will be just what Hill will do.
“She is a true competitor and we know she will be giving 100% in that arena.”
Hill is hopeful of getting through the first cut, which will see half the field of 50 dropped off.
“It would be absolutely fantastic to make it through to the special.”
But for now, she is taking things a step at a time.
The combination had their first arena familiarisation on Tuesday (NZ time).
“It’s a massive arena and extremely open. AJ is better in something a little more closed in but he was still good.”
The only thing he spooked at was one of the eventing cross country jumps.
“He thought he was going to be shot by one of the cannons!”
Hill has her German coach Andreas Mueller with her, as well as her mother Jenny Hill and groom Catherine Scott.
Dressage Facts and Figures from the FEI
• 23 nations.
• 10 teams.
• Five countries represented by a team and one individual.
• 13 countries represented by an individual only.
• 50 riders in total.
• The Netherlands’ Anky van Grunsven will be setting a new record when becoming the first dressage rider to compete at 7 Olympic Games.
• Van Grunsven already shares the record for most Olympic medals in dressage.
• Along with Germany’s Isabell Werth and Reiner Klimke, she has won eight to date, so she will be out on her own if she picks up her ninth in London.
• She is defending Individual champion, and the only dressage rider ever to take three back-to-back Olympic titles – at Sydney (AUS) in 2000, Athens (GRE) in 2004 and Beijing (CHN) in 2008.
• There will be three separate competitions – FEI Grand Prix, FEI Grand Prix Special and FEI Freestyle to Music.
• The team medals will be decided after the first two competitions when the scores are combined.
• The Freestyle will decide the fate of the Individual medals.
• The Judges Supervisory Panel will be in operation for the first time at an Olympic Games.

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