It's 7:15 am and the computer in the press tent is bloody slow. There were 42 starters just before dawn here and 53 jeeps that set out in the desert for the first round. Watching them all leave was like looking down the slow lane on a highway. The first loop was fast for the front runners, mostly from the UAE with one Saudi in the first few minutes. The Egyptian team was coming in as the first horses were setting out on the second loop.
There are 6 horses each from Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, Egypt and Saudi Arabia started. The Jordanians started 5 horses, the Libyans 4 horses, and the Syrians only 3 horses. Syria and Bahrain both have women riders on the team, so naturally I'm cheering them on. I'm afraid that my saddle didn't make it into the race...the poor rider still couldn't make weight...but apparently my EZride stirrups did, so I'm also cheering for them. I've seen one Libyan horse come in but I haven't seen the vet results yet.
The weather couldn't be better, cool, clear and no fog at all. So far all the horses that I've seen coming in have looked fantastic and most of them are pulling at the bits as they leave for the second loop.
I will collect photos together tonight to post. This connection is hopeless for that. I have a couple of guests from Florida, one of whom is an avid photographer, so there should be a very nice gallery of photos this evening. There seems to be only one net connection here so I will post again as soon as I can collect the pulls for the first loop...and as soon as I can boot someone else off the computer as they are trying to do to me.
Maryanne, reporting from the Cairo SUV festival.
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