Dressage Team Competition – Sessions 1 and 2.
We woke up to drizzle. Ugh. And it was supposed to be fairly chilly all day. Luckily we had seats under the cover (again, thanks Purina!) so the only thing I was really worried about was being too cold. I always overpack when I go anywhere, so I decided this time I didn't need a sweatshirt or a warm vest. Now I was regretting my decision.
We weren't sure when the ride times were, and we didn't want to miss any of the USA rides, so we bought a Day Sheet when we arrived. Day sheets are the ride times and order of go for all the sessions of the day. Each discipline has their own day sheets and they are $2 each at the gate. The rides were supposed to start at 8:30 and we weren't sure when breakfast would start at Maker's Mark Bourbon Village, so we headed over there first once we saw that the USA rider was last to go in the first session. Luckily breakfast was served at 8:30, so we went inside and ate while we watched the first few rides go.
We really didn't want to leave the nice warm tent and sit outside in the cold and rain, but the video feed started having issues. It was cutting in and out, stopping, breaking up, and that was driving me crazy! So we went out and found our seats in the rain.
Here is how the dressage works (or so I've been told). Everyone rides for the team competition, and a few rode as individuals. The top 30 horse and rider combinations will come back on Day 5 and ride the Grand Prix Special test to determine the individual winners. Then the top 15 from the Grand Prix Special will be invited back on Friday night to do a musical freestyle.
Most of the stadium has seats that are not under any kind of cover. Luckily for everyone with those tickets, the covered seats were either not sold out or the people with the tickets just didn't make it. So there were a lot of people sitting oder the cover who just kept moving around when the real owners of the seats came. I think this is okay. I mean, if the place was sold out and you were trying to squat in someone's seat that would be an issue. But there were plenty of seats under cover so it wasn't a worry.
The cold was for me, however. I really hate being cold and I get cold very quickly, and it was cold and wet and I was shivering! But there was no way I was going to leave. There was so much great riding and horses in the arena one after the other that it was really easy to pick apart each little movement. I know that's what the judges are for, but when you see 15 world class dressage horses in a row you start saying “I think that pirouette was a bit big” even though there is no way you'd be able to do better!
For the USA Todd Flettrich rode Otto. They had a bit of trouble with impulsion in the piaffe work, and you could hear people in the crowd softly clucking to try and help out! That's kind of dangerous, since if the judges heard that it could get him disqualified. I know, because it happened to me once! Todd ended up with a 66.553%.
Between Session 1 and Session 2 they held the Endurance Medal Ceremonies. The United Arab Emirates took the Team Gold, France took silver and Germany the bronze. For better coverage than I could write, check out this link - http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=17020.
For the Session 2 the second US rider was Katherine Bateson-Chandler riding Nartan. She did a great job and scored a 69.617%.
After the competition was over for the day, we headed downtown for the International Equestrian Festival. It is being held in the convention center in downdown Lexington, and it's a pretty nice setup. They have lots of vendors and even a round pen with actual horses where they do demonstrations. They also have people lecturing on nutrition and training methods.
We also were able to ride a mechanical dressage horse, Amerika. I got on and Cindy took video. It was pretty fun, actually. If I could possibly afford one I might consider getting one! It was really great because she had five gaits – walk, sitting trot, extended trot, collected canter and canter. It really did feel like a horse in some ways, but I just didn't have enough leg to make it work. My "instructor" was Beth Collins (http://www.beth-collins.com/) so check out her page! Even with mechanical horses, I still like my Arabians better!
Then it was late, and we went back to the hotel and to bed. After I fiddled around with more videos, of course.
Day 4 – Dressage Team Sessions 3 and 4.
Our New Girl
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