Anthea Gunner, Para Equestrian Paralympian


Blog - Journey to London

Day 3 WEG - nearly business time

Posted by Anthea Gunner on September 6, 2014 at 4:20 AM

WEG diary day 3: Not quite sure where the past 2 days have gone, it’s been really busy! Don has settled in really well, lapping it all up. We had a training session early on Saturday - it was a little tough for me as I was still tired and stiff from the travel but I got there eventually, and Don felt superb.

We spent some time watching the other nations train, and also managed a quick nosey in the main games village – its going to take some time to get round all the shops. We also had the chance for Don to be ridden in the competition arena for familiarisation, and just finished before the heavens opened and we got soaked!

We also picked up our ‘Para team’ car, which was provided by the organising committee. Now there were options – a van big enough for wheelchairs for teams or a car for those with individual riders. Now being the only rider I didn’t expect a huge vehicle but we have a 2 door Fiat Bambina. Don’t get me wrong it’s a really cool car with cream leather seats even, but for fitting support team of 4 (and more to come) plus a wheelchair…. UMMMM interesting would be a good word.

So the verdict was the boot will fit 1 of my wheels. Jen and Jess had to get in the back and hold the frame of my chair over the back of the seat and I had the other wheel on my lap. Given my knees were around my ears it was a good thing that we don’t have far to go. It also sounds as hilarious as it looks as it takes a lot of revs to get started! Every set of lights we stopped at we got stares. At least we are entertaining the locals.

Today ( Sunday) was our free day - it’s really important that we have a chance to rest otherwise we will get half way through the week and all be knackered – just when the medals are up for grabs! We had the horse inspection this morning which sent us all into heart failure when they announced that they were running an hour early and wanted us in 20 minutes. When you have to present your horse immaculately and you lose an hour of your carefully planned schedule it’s not much fun but Bella is a super quick and good plaiter and Don was beautifully turned out – thanks team!! He passed with no problems which is one sigh of relief.

And finally the opening ceremony – what a huge privilege it was to be asked to be at the front holding the NZ sign with Endurance rider Andrea Smith. And super cool to be heading around the stadium with all the kiwis cheering! It was great to meet our Endurance team who made the long trip from their base to attend – what a great bunch. And super cool also to see the Dressage superstars (probably those from other sports too but not that I could tell!) – a team shot with Dressage legend Anky van Grunsven who is coaching a rider from Morocco, and all the superstars including Edward Gal, Hans Peter Minderhoud, Adelinde Cornelisson & Steffen Peters!

I had great seats just below the VIP area for the show – the highlight being the man with what appeared to be a herd of wild horses – and then he turns up standing on the back of two of them (one leg on each horse!) Turns out these ‘wild’ horses are more obedient than my gorgeous dogs at home! All coming when they are called, lining up and galloping around together under the spotlights with 20,000 peope cheering!

We have training again tomorrow and my first event starts on Tuesday – my ride time is 1.38pm Caen time so keep an eye on ESNZ’s facebook and website for results or check out the Normandy 2014 website. I’ll try and do another update then!





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