By Yvonne Claire Stecher
Equestrian Karen O'Connor and her mount, Mr. Medicott, hope to win gold for the U.S. eventing team at the London Olympics.For most Olympic athletes, the proverbial "carrot" at the end of the stick for all their years of training has been an Olympic medal. But for a group of about a dozen glossy-skinned, doe-eyed members of our elite U.S. team, win or lose, an actual crunchy carrot will do just fine, thank you.
Joining the 530 U.S. human athletes at this summer's London Olympics will be the 13 mares, stallions and geldings that make up the equine segment of our crack U.S. team.
Horses compete in one of three disciplines at the games: dressage, which is like a combination of ballet and floor gymnastics; show jumping, in which the horses jump a set course of high fences at speed; and three-day eventing, in which the horses need to be able to "do it all" over the course of several days - a day of dressage competition, a day of show jumping and a day spent galloping cross-country while jumping over elaborate fixed obstacles, sometimes in and out of water.
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