The equestrian events in the London 2012 Olympics are being held in Greenwich Park, which is one of the Royal Parks of London and was enclosed in 1433. The Park encompasses 183 acres and is one of the largest green spaces in south east London. The selection of this site for the equestrian and pentathlon events has been quite contentious as Greenwich Park is part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site and, due to the amount of traffic and the renovation required for the temporary arenas, holding these large scale events on the grounds will destroy some of the landscape of the park. According to some sources, parts of the park will not be restored until 2015 but The Royal Parks have shared plans that have the park being reinstated through 2013. To prevent ruining too much of the grass in the park, some of the paths and the barns that the horses are stalled in are elevated.
No doubt Greenwich Park is a breathtaking and historic site for the Olympics and I hope that it raises the popularity of equestrian events, which is one of only two Olympic events where men and women compete equally against each other (the other being sailing). Eventing has received more attention in Great Britain as Zara Philips, granddaughter to the queen, made her Olympic debut this year and won a silver medal. The US will be cheering on Beezie Madden, who is riding in her third Olympic games, and Reed Kessler, only 18 years old, in the jumping events. Take a few moments to watch these events if you're able to catch them on tv. The athleticism of the horses and their riders is truly something spectacular.