While Fashion Week kicks off in London today, another type of fashionista is headed for Warwickshire, about two hours northwest of the UK's style capital. At the National Dressage Championships at Stoneleigh Park, equestrian competitors are not only saddling up their mounts, they're bathing, brushing, braiding, and bridling them with great care before they step out into the ring to strut their stuff. Let's take a look at some of the painstaking steps horse and rider take to look their best.
London has proven to hold its fair share of surprises and firsts as the last of the Olympic equestrian events closed today. Having never before won a dressage gold medal, Great Britain nearly swept the individual dressage medal stand with Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro claiming the gold, Laura Bechtolsheimer and Mistral Hojris taking the bronze, and Carl Hester with Uthopia just out of medal contention in fifth. The country also won its first-ever team dressage gold and first team jumping gold in 60 years. Meanwhile, Ireland's Cian O'Connor and Blue Loyd 12 leaped for their country's first equestrian medal, Saudi Arabia's Prince Abdullah al Saud and Davos grabbed their first equestrian team medal, and Switzerland's Steve Guerdat and Nino des Buissonnets took home the first individual jumping gold for their country since 1924. See all the highlights when you click through this slideshow!
I'm jumping for joy about the 2012 Olympic Summer Games beginning on Friday, but what really gets my heart soaring is visions of some amazing equestrian athletes accomplishing great feats when the eventing competition kicks off on Saturday! Among them will be the horses of the US Equestrian Team who sends both four-legged and two-legged competitors to take part in the three Olympic equestrian events: eventing, dressage, and jumping. Check out the horses and riders when you read this slideshow!