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Olympic fans could be rubbing shoulders with Royalty as they watch some of Team GBR’s hottest medal hopes in action on their doorstep this summer.
The Queen’s granddaughter, Zara Phillips and her horse High Kingdom, have been selected for Great Britain’s Olympic eventing team. So there’s a fair chance that members of the Royal family will be among the spectators cheering her on at Greenwich Park.
“It’s awesome to be given this opportunity,” said Zara, the 2006 World Champion.
“High Kingdom is a pretty cool, very relaxed kind of guy. He’s pretty pony-like, a nippy little jumper and easy to manoeuvre, so hopefully it will suit him well in Greenwich.”
Greenwich Park will host both the Olympic Equestrian and the Modern Pentathlon events over 12 days following the Opening Ceremony on July 27. The Equestrian events consist of the individual sports of Eventing, Dressage and Show Jumping. It’s still possible to obtain tickets and anyone choosing to attend will be treated to a feast of world class sporting action.
In her first Olympics and just in time for the Queen’s Diamond Jublilee, Zara Phillips, 31, is emulating her mother Princess Anne, who competed in the 1976 Montreal Games, and her father Captain Mark Phillips, who was a team gold medallist at Munich in 1972, and a silver medallist at Seoul in 1988.
She’ll compete along teammates Georgina (Piggy) French, William Fox-Pitt and Mary King for team and individual medals.
Starting on July31 they’ll complete two days of dressage, followed by a day of cross-country and two rounds of show jumping.
The Dressage as an individual sport starts on August 2 with two days of Grand Prix competition, while the Show Jumping competition as an individual sport starts on August 4. The Modern Pentathlon, which involves riding, swimming, fencing and running and shooting, will be held over August 11 and 12.
The Olympic Equestrian events are the only ones where men and women compete against each other on equal terms and the only ones in which humans and animals compete together. Equestrianism as a sport dates back over 2,000 years when the Greeks first introduced Dressage as a method for training their horses for war.
Sports involving horsemanship continued to develop through the Middle Ages. The Three Day Event, including Dressage, Cross Country and Show Jumping, was designed to reflect the challenges military horses and riders would in battle.
In 1921 the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) was created and through its development of international competitions, the sport has gained in worldwide popularity.
Today the aim of Equestrian events, instead of practice for war, is to create a harmonious partnership between the horse and rider.
For more information about the Olympic Equestrian and Modern Pentathlon events and tickets visit www.london2012.com