I will have to amend this post.....it's already past my bedtime, and I have not yet downloaded the most EXCELLENT dressage pictures I got from today.
Yes, you heard that right. There was some excellent dressage (and resulting pictures) today.
Let me start with the rookie Mackenna Shea, on Landioso. Her ride on this big guy was supple, relaxed, what Mary D'Arcy would call "in harmony". I was VERY impressed.
But New Zealand rider Tim Price showed us all what "excellent" meant. (And PRO riders Sinead Halpin and Hannah Burnett warned us he'd be the one to beat.) His ride was quite simply brilliant. His compact, powerful gelding Wesko was balanced and supple.....really beautiful to watch.
Katie Ruppel put in a nice test on Houdini, who is a chestnut I'd be happy to have in my barn. Of course, Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp's Fernhill by Night can join him to even things out.
Colleen Ruledge put in a glorious test on Covert Rights--once again, I was amazed that a TB cross (a homebred, at that!) could be so powerful, so springy, so balanced. A read dressage horse.
Michael Jung and Sam, of course, are tied for first. The man is incredibly accurate, and darned if his horses are relaxed. His freewalk was simply astounding. The horse flowed, from nose to tail, then when asked, collected himself and did some spectacular lengthenings and lead changes.
The riders who did well seemed to be still yet relaxed. Their hands were STEADY, quiet, and higher than I tend to keep them. They looked up/through their horse's ears. They had bent elbows. They weren't afraid to ask for more from their horses, but they were able to support what they asked for with their body/legs/seat.
Of course William Fox Pitt was a joy to behold, as usual. I was able to "behold" him in the trade fair before his test!
We found Phillip Dutton signing posters, and he posed for a picture, too.
Hey, so I'm a fangirl....so what?
After the dressage, I headed off to fence judge briefing. I will be at Fence 19, the Horse Park Barns just after the Hollow.
We ended the evening by having a FABULOUS meal with some dear friends at the Holly Hill Inn in Midway, Kentucky. I even splurged for some Pappy Van Winkle bourbon. Talk about fantastic--what an amazing bourbon. Hints of vanilla, citrus, with an earthy, leathery, oaky nose. It was truly a layered and complex (and delightful!) experience. Here's to great friends and great bourbon!