So the sun shone as promised on cross-country day – but not particularly on the Canadians. While Jessica Phoenix and her reliable partner Pavarotti showed once again that they are the cross-country machines of legend, having a clear ride on this difficult course just a smidge over the time allowed, some of the other team results were not as good. It was not for lack of talented horsepower; it was a difficult course and there were some cases of miscommunication and even some plain old rotten luck.
You might think “Well, third place is not so bad – we will still get a medal” but the Canadian mission for this championship was to place first or second and land a team qualification for the Tokyo Olympics next year. We are unfortunately so far behind second place in points right now (66) that the Brazilians who have a tight hold on that position would have to have 17 rails in the stadium jumping to our zero. The only other possible scenario is that as the Brazilian team is down a man due to a rotational fall at the water (horse is fine and rider has a broken arm and ribs), if one of their horses does not pass the jog tomorrow morning or is eliminated in show jumping they will be disqualified as a team and we will move up. But that is certainly not the way we want to win – we need to earn it if we expect to compete against the world’s best in Tokyo.
As I am still mulling over the events of the day and thinking a glass of wine might be in order, I leave you with some photos: