After four days of competition including dressage, cross-country and show jumping (twice) the individual and team three-day equestrian eventing competitions have come to an end. Sitting in ninth place (out of 70) in the individual competition is The Plains, Va.,'s own Karen O’Connor riding Mr. Medicott.
The competition takes place over four (yes, four) days -- the first of which was dressage.
Dressage is a lot like figure skating -- the horse and rider perform a predetermined routine and are judged by five judges over three rounds, highest score wins. At the end of the day O’Connor was sitting in a distant 29th overall, with a score of 48.20 -- third place among Americans, behind Phillip Dutton and Will Coleman.
Day 2 is cross-country -- in this case 45 jumps across Greenwich Park. O’Connor started to make back some ground.
"He got strong by the end," O'Connor said of her horse. "You have to go flat out, that's the way the course had to be ridden. I could have been faster in this last section.”
At the end of cross-country she was tied for 24th.
The final portion of competition is show jumping -- horse and rider combinations are expected to jump over roughly 15 fences. Penalties are issued if the pole gets knocked down, or the horse refuses to jump over. Finish with the fastest time and you win.
After the first set of jumps the top 25 qualifiers jump again to determine the overall winner.
O’Connor shot up to 15th place after the first day with a score of 53.80 and qualified for the final portion of the competition.
At the end of the second day of jumping and the conclusion of the entire event, O’Connor had moved up to ninth place. Not good enough for a medal, but in the top 15 percent.
The Olympics are nothing new to O’Connor. The most senior member of the entire U.S. Olympic team is at her fifth Olympics.
Her ninth-place finish was the best of any American, and just one place behind Zara Phillips, Queen Elizabeth’s granddaughter.
For more information on how to watch equestrian events, click here.