And then there's a winding, twisting golf course to negotiate in what must be one of the most impossible optimum times ever, as cross-country supremo, Andrew Nicholson, proved to us yesterday.
Whilst the XC course had some creativity in fence design and placement, I wouldn't call this one of the best Olympic courses of recent years, and of course the venue is a major factor here. I would have preferred to have seen a more flowing course rather than the usual stop-start course we're used to seeing from this design camp.
With less than a handful of horses finishing within
half a minute of the optimum time, it might as well have been run in a ski
Even so we did get to see some exceptional performances. I have to confess I didn't watch everyone go cross country, but for me "man-of-the match" was Tina Cook on Miner's Frolic. What a fabulous young horse - made the whole thing look rather easy. Parkmore Ed, another young horse, also made a very worthy performance.
Also worthy of mention is the young Chinese lad [Alex Hau Tian], who although he was eliminated has truly proved he has a real future in eventing at the top level. I know £1.8M (the amount he raised in sponsorship) buys you a lot of quality horse and training, but it still takes talent to capitalise on all that. Let's hope the press and commentators focus as much on his talent as his schooling. After all, to get to the Olympics in this sport at the tender age of 18 when most don't reach their prime until their mid 30s is a significant achievement, irrespective of of which country you are representing.
With just hours before the showjumping and still a number of nations in contention for a medal there'll be plenty of tactical discussion happening in the restaurants of HK.
Our team are talented enough to maintain their scores and benefit from any bloopers the Aussies or Germans happen to make - Go Brits Go!
I also hope the Swede's do well.....