NEWBURGH, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- Training for the Olympics is something that athletes dedicate much of their lives to. So imagine what it must be like if you not only have to prepare yourself, but also have to prepare a horse for that level of competition.
That preparation is a reality for those Olympians competing in dressage at the summer games. It's a discipline that takes years to perfect. Riders have to complete nine levels of competition before they can be considered good enough to compete at the Olympic Level. It's also a process for the horse as well. Dressage horse's bones and muscles aren't mature enough for the intense maneuvers you see them performing in London until later on in their training when their around the ages of 10 to 15.
Dressage trainer at Puckerbrush Farm in Newburgh, Rebecca Reed, has been riding professionally for the past seven years and it's the challenge of perfection that drives her passion for the sport. "What I love about dressage is it's always a challenge," says Reed. "It's always ever changing. You can never be the best, and you can always improve upon yourself. And so I just love the pure challenge of it. It's probably the hardest sport that I've ever done."
The equestrian events dressage, jumping and eventing are the only events at the Olympics where an animal is used, and are also the only events where you'll see both men and women competing against each other on equal terms.
The team dressage competition wrapped up today in London. Gold went to Great Britain, Germany earned the silver, and the Netherlands came away with the Bronze. The finals in the individual dressage competition will be held on Thursday August 9 at 12:30pm.