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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Royal Horseback Riders at the Olympics

Royal family members competing at the World Olympics is nothing new. For the past Olympics (summer and Winter) people saw more royals taking action in the largest gathering of athletes in the world.

HRH, Anne, the Princess Royal, the only daughter of the Queen, was a part of the British team in the Equestrian event during the 1976 Montreal Olympics, Princess Haya of Jordan also competed in the Sydney Olympics in the same Event. Prince Felipe of Spain, his father, King Juan Carlos, and his maternal uncle, King Constantine II of Greece, were once competed in the sailing event in the past World Olympics, and Prince Albert of Monaco was also competed in the Bobsled event at the Winter Olympics, thus, the presence of Zara Phillips, daughter of Princess Anne, and Princess Natalie, niece of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, is no longer a surprising event.

The Queen's granddaughter, Zara Phillips of Team GB made her debut in the Olympics this year, competing with her horse, High Kingdom, she finished 7th in the overall ranking of riders during the Show jumping event.
A King of Denmark's (King Frederick VIII) granddaughter. Princess Natalie, daughter of Princess Benedikte and niece of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, during the Dressage routine where she finished fourth.

While Princess Anne and Princess Haya did not bring home any medal in the last Olympic campaigns, Zara and Natalie did give honor to their respective country. 

On the day  (July 30, 2012) she celebrated her first wedding anniversary to Rugby captain, Mike Tindall, Zara Phillips showed what her genes got in riding horses when she helped her team won Silver in the cross-country and show jumping categories for the Equestrian event, she also posted one of the highest performances for Olympic newcomers when she made it to the top 10 for individual scores beating her teammate, William Fox-Pitt, the world's number one during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. 

With her win, Zara Phillips joined her father, Captain Mark Phillips in the long list of British horse riders giving glory to their country in the Olympics. Mark Phillips won silver during the Los Angeles and Seoul Olympics. At the London Olympics however, Mark Phillips, who divorces Princess Anne in 1992, stood as  coach for US Equestrian team.

Phillips, who is currently 14th in the line of succession to the British throne, is the first member of the British royal family to stand in the Olympic Podium. She was supported by her royal relatives on her Olympic debut. Aside from her mother, Princess Anne, who handed out the medals to her and her teammates, other royal family members who had watched her were her grandfather, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, her brother, Peter Phillips with wife, Autumn, her husband, Mike Tindall, her cousins, Prince William with wife, Kate, Prince Harry, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie. 

Princess Natalie, on the other hand, is the daughter of Princess Benedikti of Denmark, a sister to Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Queen Anna Marie of Greece who are both cousins of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. She had performed well in the dressage, another routine in the Equestrian event, where she finished fourth for individual scores.

Show jumping and Dressage are the two exciting routines in the Equestrian event because it showed how well the rider and the horse execute the complicated routines. During the show jumping, the rider will take and command the horse through many hurdles and obstacles, each time the horse committed a mistake, a penalty will be imposed to the rider which will be deducted to the overall scores of the team. 

In the Dressage routine, the horse performs a carefully choreographed routine of movements that showcases the animal's training: prancing trots, extended strides, twirling pirouettes and a move called the flying change which looks like the horse is skipping. This is more fun and entertaining compared to showjumping and cross-country formally called "eventing". 

German Equestrian team is a tough team to beat when it comes to horse riding in the Olympics, they always dominated the three routines in the Equestrian and during the cross-country and show jumping they showed what they'd got, easily winning gold, but no one expected they would be beaten out by the British team at the Dressage routine. Since the 1976 Montreal Olympics, it's always Germany that took home the gold medal but this year's Olympics the dominance was finally cut off by Team GB edging the German team to win the Gold for the first time in Olympics history.

Equestrian event is a team score, although each rider earned an individual score through each performance to determine his or her ranking and competency on this event. 

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