Barcelona Pampers Horses, Crowds Riders

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

WHEN the Olympic Games commence in Barcelona, Spain, next month, the show-jumping horses will enjoy more luxurious accommodations than their riders.

"The Olympic Village is going to be crowded, but the horses will have very good stabling," says Sally Ike, a United States Equestrian Team staff member who recently made a trip to Barcelona to study the facilities.

The horses will have large stalls at the Real Club de Polo, a polo club near the center of the city that will host most of the equestrian events. The equestrians themselves will crowd into unair-conditioned apartments in the Olympic Village on Barcelona Harbor.

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The show-jumping team includes Michael Matz on Heisman, Norman Dello Joio aboard Irish, Lisa Jacquin riding For the Moment, and Anne Kursinski on Cannonball.

Space limitations threatened to strand alternate team member Laura Kraut and her mount Simba Run at home. But the US Olympic Committee eventually approved five riders and seven horses. Only four will compete, but the additional horses and riders provide backup in case a horse comes up lame or a rider is injured.

Each rider will have a groom, and the team is bringing everything they can to ensure the comfort and health of their horses.

The heat and humidity of a Barcelona summer is the primary concern. "We plan on taking fans for all of the horses so that we can keep them as cool as possible," Ms. Ike says. "We'll take a generator to run our fans and a water purifier so that we can purify the water before [the horses] drink it."

The team leaves for Barcelona on July 23. Team competition takes place on Aug. 4 and individual competition on Aug. 7 and 9.

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