Olympic Walk at Balmoral
On Tuesday 14th February, Mrs FitzGerald and six girls, Helen Laird, Tanya White, Megan Buckley, Lucy McLean, Jasmine Crothers and Sara Hunter travelled to Balmoral for an Olympic Course Walk. A smart turnout was essential!
We attended Balmoral with Banbridge Academy and it was great to share the experience with another school and enthusiastic fellow equestrians. Sharing the course walk with Banbridge Academy brought back special memories for Mrs FitzGerald as former BA Equestrian Captain! We met Bill Ellis who is the show jumping Olympic Course Designer for London 2012. Three international riders attended in the form of Gary Marshall, James Kernan, former Olympian and Dermott Lennon, former Olympian and former World Show Jumping Champion.
Bill began the seminar by showing a PowerPoint based on his previous Olympic and international courses. The fences looked amazing, like nothing we had ever seen before! Then, we had the opportunity to ask questions with the man himself.
After the presentation, we entered the Balmoral show jumping arena and walked the course together. It was fantastic to see a real life international course, looking at the pictures didn’t do justice to the size of the fences. It was only when we walked the course that we fully appreciated the enormity of the demanding jumps. They were taller than we were and the water jump at a spread of 4.3-4.5 metres, was like an outdoor swimming pool!
We learnt that only the best horses and riders have clear rounds. It was a brilliant learning experience and we had the opportunity to take photos. All in all it was a fantastic day out and enjoyed by all.
By Helen Laird and Tanya White 10AZ