Report on the European Dressage Championships

The conditions for journalists and photographers during the EC Dressage in Turin were anything but easy and professional. A lot of the problems came as a result of unprofessional preparation so there was not much to be done once the show had started. But I want to emphasize, that the very friendly press team did try to help us, although none of them spoke good enough English to discuss more complicated items.

The first severe problem was the distance between the entrance of the parc La Mandria, were no cars except some shuttles for riders and officials were allowed to enter. The shuttle bus for the press, which left every morning at the press hotel and brought us back in the evening, stopped at the entrance, from there you had to march nearly one kilometre to the builing where the press centre was established. After some discussions, some of us were lucky and fetched one of the small shuttle cars, to bring us to the press centre. The walk was much too long especially for the photographers with their heavy equipment.

The press centre itself was in a big building together with the show office and other administration offices. There was sufficient space for the working journalists and photographers in three rooms, two of them with a television set. The television and sometimes the scoreboard did not work. The Internet (Wireless Lan) was, as I was told, rather slow. The results came too slow.

Once you made your way to the press centre problems were not solved at all because there was another walk of perhaps 800 metres to the arena. There were press seats with tables, although not very comfortable, but no electricity at all, nor an internet connection. TD Gotthielf Riexinger tried to help and to get us electricity at the press stand, but was told, that this was not possible, in case of a thunderstorm or rain, because the stand was mainly built with metal. That meant, one could hardly work there. As the distance between press centre and arena was too far to “commute” quickly, you either had the choice to work in front of the television and not to speak to riders, trainers etc. until the press conference in the evening, or to be down at the venue and not being able to work. For colleagues working on deadlines that turned out to be very difficult, if not impossible. There was after two days a shuttle service established, but you could not rely on it, especially when you were in a hurry. Sometimes some kind rider would pick you up in the little golf cars every team could use. The access to the riders was very good, at lunch, at the training area or in the stand. The only solution would have been to put a press tent directly next to the arena with all necessary facilities.

At the beginning, there was no refreshment at all in the press centre, but from day two on we got water, coffee, tea and some sandwiches. But we were all invited every day to lunch at one of two facilities, which was very generous indeed. Also we were invited to a fabulous evening reception at the big castle together with the riders, judges and so on, which we enjoyed very much.