August 8, 2008

All 218 horses from 42 countries and regions participating in the games have arrived, and riders from 38 countries and regions have checked in to the Olympic Village at Sha Tin in Hong Kong.

Two extra competition days have been reserved should the event be postponed due to inclement weather, said Equestrian Company Chief Executive Officer WK Lam. He said that the drainage system and other facilities have been checked to ensure they can withstand any adverse conditions.

Officials including the veterinary commission, the course designer and the technical delegate have inspected the cross-country course and it has been approved by the ground jury (Martin Plewa (President), Marilyn Payne and Christian Landolt).

The course is 4560m long, with 39 jumping efforts, and is to be completed in an optimum time of eight minutes.

British rider Mary King told The Times newspaper that it was "a true Olympic course, stronger than Athens and with a very tough time allowed".

Designer Mike Etherington-Smith said that he had attempted to make as much use of the shade around the course as possible, taking into account the expected heat and humidity on the day.