VET-IN DAY - Merri Melde
It's a hazy, warm, muggy Portuguese morning as the teams assemble with their horses for the vetting in for tomorrow's championship ride. The atmosphere (so far) seems to lack tension, and the vet check flows smoothly, with officials directing horse and groom traffic, taking the entries into the vetting area team by team. After they pass the vet check they are fitted with an electronic timer around their neck, and their numbers written on their butts with the grease pens. A few horses are wound up enough at the trot out they have to do it twice (or three times), but that's mostly because they've been separated from their buddies. The American horses look good and rested after their long journey.