Thursday, April 23, 2015

Day One: The Rookies and the Rulers

Once again, we had to begin the day with a trip to Quillin Leather.  It's not like my horses don't have any halters....most of them have multiple, because these darn things DON'T WEAR OUT.  They are that good.  But poor River didn't have his own halter, so.....

We walked into the dressage a bit late as a result--just in time to see Michael Jung on his mare Fischerrocana FST have a FABULOUS test (in fact, they are leading after day one!).  Their test was forward, supple, consistent, with clean transitions and lead changes....and his HANDS were sooo beautiful.  I wish I had that kind of control.

Several of the horses seemed fit and braced, rather than fit and relaxed.  HOW do the Germans consistently achieve the latter?

But the Americans were NOT to be denied....Lainey Ashker and her OTTB Anthony Patch came in the sandbox to win, and they nailed their test--if their changes had been more clean, I honestly believe they'd be in the lead now.   She was accurate, and her horse was obedient. 

Well done, Laine!

We watched dressage through noon, and spent lunch (and a little beyond) at the Trade Fair.

I had two things I needed:  spurs and a running martingale.  

I got neither.  But I did get some fun stuff.  

When we got back to the dressage, we were happy to see Barb Crabo and Eveready--I've watched this team several times at Coconino, and they ALWAYS look professional and...well, READY.  This time was no different.  

I know this shot is one that everyone takes, but I love how these horses are reaching under themselves, coiled, springing forward...while their riders sit still, perfectly balanced on the spring!

We did see one rider who was asked to leave because of a misbehaving horse.  My heart goes out to Jennie Jamestrom.

Another rider who REALLY impressed me was Francis Whittington from Great Britain.  Another forward, relaxed, consistent, and really accurate ride.  Well done!

It was fun to see Jimmie Schramm compete after watching SO MANY Eventing TV episodes.  Her horse was a big tense/braced, but they put in a valiant effort.  

Ellen Doughty-Hume was a rookie at Rolex last year, but her horse was not passed at the jog on the first day.  Heartbreaking!  She didn't waste the trip, however--she got married at the head of the lake!  This year,  the team was back in force. Officially still a Rolex Rookie (?), she put in a VERY smart, accurate test.  Afterward, she gave her horse, Sir Oberon, a HUGE hug, and left the ring with that renowned smile on her face.  Go Ellen and Obie!

I met up with Will Faudree after Ellen's ride, so I missed Angela Grzywinksi's ride, which I'm bummed about.  I also learned something:  even though I work out three times a week, the fact that we don't have hills in West Texas makes a difference.  While I was thrilled to be a part of this course walk, I believe that my hips and knees did NOT like the pace that Team Faudree (Will's vets, dressage coach, working students, and his DAD all came along for the course walk) set.  Sigh.  Still, it was fun to see how one of the riders I know will kick a** planned to ride the course.

After a nice dinner, a little bourbon, and an epsom salts bath, I'm ready to sleep/take on tomorrow.  

Bring it!

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