One of the most rewarding aspects of this Paralympic Games was the bond we developed as a team. We shared a three bedroom, three bathroom apartment in a nineteen story high rise in the village. We also shared the elevators with 300 USA teammates from all disciplines, truly a challenge at peak times. The main dining hall was a huge tent. I mean like airline terminal huge! With an incredible variety of food from pizza and various hot dishes to abundant fruit and salad and delicious ice cream bars, everyone found something to eat and, remarkably, none of us suffered any ill effects!
We shared lots of giggles over our coordinated efforts at locomotion around the Village, two of us on one scooter and powered scooters towing the wheelchairs. Some efforts were more successful than others. The opening ceremony almost ended in a wreck but Annie swooped in to save me from a near-disaster caught on International TV!
We all cheered for each other's rides, owners, grooms and trainers sitting together as an American contingent replete with waving fłags.
|Photo Duncan Peters|
My first ride in the Deodoro stadium was so exciting! I literally could not stop smiling! The venue looked like a huge expanse on TV but the small dressage ring was artfully surrounded by shrubbery delineating the competition area and assuaging my agoraphobia. The stadium was festively decorated with International flags, brightly colored blue and green seating, and abundant flowers all reinforcing the Rio carnival atmosphere. We took our time noting the landmarks that would help me keep my 8m circles regular.
Preparing for my second test, the Individual Championship, to be held two days later, involved a slight change in strategy. In order to encourage Rio to show more forward energy, I rode her on a little longer rein. The coaches found her much improved in the subsequent test but from the judges' perspective, not enough to significantly impact her score.
I enjoyed the support of a great team in Rio! Missy Ransehousen did double duty as groom and trainer, keeping Rio well fed and beautifully turned out as well as totally tuned up for competition. Alex Philpin was a great help, especially on competition days when time was a factor. Charlotte McIntosh Tarr, my daughter, was exceptional in her ability to keep me organized, hydrated and focused with energy and a sense of humor that benefitted the whole team. It was a delight to have her there! I was overwhelmed by the cheers and good wishes of my FaceBook friends. I'm so sorry that none of the live feeds panned out!
|Team Photo Holly Jacobson|
I can't begin to thank Missy enough for her determination in making my dream come true. I am very appreciative of all the hours she and Jessica have spent whipping Rio and me into shape. It was lovely to come home to the congratulations of all of you who have followed my quest for all these years! Thank you all!
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