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A Word About Today's Olympic Equestrian Cross Country

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We had a great day watching dressage with big thunderstorms and super riding. Karen is in 29th with a 48.20, third for the U.S. team which is great as the top three scores of five riders count toward the team score.

The top rider was a Japanese man, Oiwa Yoshiaki, which is a bit of a surprise. His score was 38.10. Karen goes cross country 15th tomorrow, about 1:26 p.m. (13:36 here on the line at Greenwich Mean Time.) Don't worry about Karen's dressage score -- they are so close, and the best dressage riders often struggle in cross country they say, and the course is very difficult -- the worry is that it is very steep and technical.

I walked it now, and it would be very hard to run up the big hills once -- and the horses have to do it twice in a 5K, and worse, charge down the two big hills -- I couldn't make a high school running course this hard, no one would do it. The speculation is that a few horses won't pass the vet check afterwards and the ones that do will be sore show jumping the day after tomorrow. To give you an idea how close the scores are and how much it can all change, one knocked rail in show jumping = 4 points, so the difference between a score of 46 and 42 is one rail.

The top 30 riders or so are within three rails of each other, which is very, very close -- and they may not make the time on cross country, which gives a 1/4 penalty point for every SECOND over the optimum time of 10:03. A stop cross country is 20 points and you are toast if you have one, a fall of course is an automatic elimination. It could be a very hard day tomorrow for some riders -- hope one isn't Karen. We are skipping the horse parties tonight and having dinner at an Indian restaurant with our hostess Gill and her son and a friend, both are 30 and orthopedic surgeons at a big hospital here, in case we need one, we'll know who to call.

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