Yesterday was a very full day! As you can imagine with a horse show with so many different competitions going on, there is always something that you should be watching. 

Though the national show jumping competition featured a speed class first thing in the morning, I decided to get some work done at the hotel instead. I arrived at the show in time to watch the start of vaulting which I really enjoy. It was a national team vaulting competition, rather than World Cup, but I was very impressed nonetheless. The teams consist of 7 people, mostly girls but the odd boy does appear. While all competitors are pretty lithe, there are usually a couple of teeny, tiny members. These lucky souls are the ones that get hoisted to the top of moving pyramids. Very cool to watch.

When they first come in the ring they look like synchronized swimmers. They all wear matching outfits and keep up with their trotting horse with their own funny jog with a stage smile firmly in place. You quickly forget about the funny entrance though once they start to perform. They twirl, leap, stretch, lift and stack. all the while looking very elegant. I could only watch a few because the class conflicted with the first jumping qualifier in the other hall.

The jumping class was good but not terribly exciting. Of the 42 entries there were 14 clear – a few more than course designer Frank Rothenberger anticipated. He noted later that the jumps could have been a notch higher but said that he would make up for it the next day.

As you would imagine, Eric and Hickstead attacked the course like they meant business but a disappointing and uncharacteristic rail left them in 17th place. Probably a bit too far down to make it back to the top against such stiff competition, but stranger things have happened.

There were a couple of tumbles that were almost made horrible accidents because riders were stuck in the stirrups. Both riders were using the new kind of stirrups where the bottom of the boot twists into the stirrup. The mechanism didn’t detach when they fell off and both looked like they were going to get trampled under the horse, but luckily they were released just in time.

Denis Lynch was the first to go. He was not on form which caused problems earlier in the course that caught up with him in the combination. After a bad jump into the triple, he landed in a bit of a heap, lost his balance and came off after a bit of a struggle with his stirrup. A few riders later, Edwina Alexander fell right at the very end, on the landing from the last jump (she had already incurred 12 faults so it wasn’t as if she was working from a perfect round). At first, it was noted that she had completed the course but the judges later ruled that the horse crossed the timers on his own and she fell off before, thus disqualifying her from the rest of the competition.

The class ended with the Germans in the top three spots: Kutscher, Ehning and Ahlmann. It is worth noting that the Kiwi, Katie McVean, and Delphi had a great clear round and finished in 6th. Full results here: 

The Jumping class was followed by the Dressage Grand Prix but as it conflicted with the EY Cup (for people) I opted to watch more jumping – and it was very exciting.  It was also a speed class and was held in the smaller ring in the other hall. I have to say that the American riders put on a great show! The first line was being done in 7 and 8 strides by most, but those girls galloped down that line in 6 strides like George Morris had told them to find another way out of the ring if they got 7. They were all great though only Caitlin Ziegler and Audrey Coulter (on both her horses!) were clear. Audrey won the class on Rodenburgh’s California and was almost two seconds faster than second placed Caitlin, who wasn’t going slow! Canada’s David Arcand had two rails with Catwalk which dropped him down the standings to 35th place.

The class finished in time for me to watch the second part of the Dressage Grand Prix and to see Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill NRW. Damon Hill won the World Championship for young dressage horses as both a 5- and a 6-year-old… rather impressive. He was originally ridden by Ingrid Klimke but now Helen has the ride and appears to be doing quite well. I also saw class winner Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival’s winning performance. The pair really are something to admire. Jumping is my forte, however, so dressage enthusiasts will have to wait for Karen to chime in with her commentary.

Early morning tomorrow to watch the EY Cup Final then the Royal wedding between classes!