The unsung heroes of Games

Lower Dunsforth horse physio Dave Jackson.
Lower Dunsforth horse physio Dave Jackson.

THE Olympic athletes are supported behind the scenes by a plethora of experts.

Among those working with the competitors are three men from across the district. Chris Bartle has been the German national eventing coach since 2001 and saw the team take the gold medal this year. Chris, who runs the Yorkshire Riding Centre at Markington near Ripon, is himself a former Olympic rider and holds the record for being the highest-placed British dressage rider in the Olympic Games. He was sixth at Los Angeles in 1984.

David Jackson has also been working with the Olympic squad at Greenwich Park as part of a 13-strong team of chartered veterinary physiotherapists. The 37 year old, from Lower Dunsforth, said: “Like the humans, horses still get muscle problems, they might have swelling around tendons, we’re just there on hand to treat them.

“There are a large number of horses, and quite a lot of competitions involving them. It will be very busy and we will be working alongside other people like farriers.” He currently divides his time working as a human physio for the NHS in York with his equine interests.

And osteopath David Annett will be travelling to London today to join the modern pentathlon team as they prepare for this weekend’s competition, which comprises fencing, swimming, show jumping, running and shooting.

David, 44, who runs the Central Harrogate Osteopathy & Sports Injury Clinic, has been working with the pentathletes in their international competitions and training camps for the past decade, guiding them through the Manchester Commonwealth Games and two Olympics which saw the team bring home silver and bronze medals.

l For more on David Annett, see Business on p41.