Gisburn horses to compete at London Olympics 2012

EQUESTRIAN: Carol Richardson is pictured showjumping in the Queen Elizabeth Cup held at Hickstead. (s)
EQUESTRIAN: Carol Richardson is pictured showjumping in the Queen Elizabeth Cup held at Hickstead. (s)

Carol Richardson, successful show jumper, coach and proprietor of Panama Sports Horses UK, is one of the equestrian yards providing horses for the Modern Pentathlon Games at the 2012 Olympics.

Carol, along with Pentathlon GB, has spent the last two and a half years selecting and training the horses for this showcase event.

The Modern Pentathlon consists of five sports; swimming, fencing, riding (where the riders are given 20 minutes to ride a strange horse, with only five practice jumping efforts) before having to jump a one metre 20 cm course of show jumps. The leader then goes on to be the first one to go in the “combined event” where they have to run 1000m then shoot five shots, this is repeated three times, all of course timed.

The established yard that Carol runs is in the beautiful surrounds of Gisburn Park, where Carol appreciates the hills and rivers that aid her training. Sporting its own all weather gallops, horse walker, indoor and outdoor schools, an equine hydrotherapy spa, being in the centre of the Pendle Forest and Craven hunt country and situated on the Pennine Bridleway, it’s no wonder the yard often has a waiting list for owners wishing to keep their horses on full livery there. This ideal location was also the training ground for the horses used in the 1956 Helsinki Games.

Asked how she feels about her responsible role she answers: “Well I am shattered, a day off when it’s all over will be much appreciated but it is an honour to be able to make such a contribution for the 2012 Olympics.”

At Gisburn Park there is no doubt that preparing these horses has been a team effort, the dedicated staff and owners are aware of the responsibility of keeping these horses healthy and safe from injury, not all of them can accompany their precious charges to the games as there are horses at home that will still need looking after, but this has not dampened their enthusiasm for the task.

Carol asked that she may publicly thank the companies that are helping ensure that the horses get to the games, scheduled at the end of this month, in the very best of health.

These include Protek for providing Envirocair Veterinary disinfectant and hand gels – ”you can’t take risks with biosecurity, a virus would just stop the whole show”, Carol says. Haygain for providing hay steamers ensuring no respiratory problems arise, Flexi-Girths providing non slip freedom of movement when it’s most needed and C&C Transport for “hopefully delivering our horses to the doorstep of the Greenwich village safely”.