Well, to you folks who stayed home this time, you are missing some great action. And they have great clothes this time, with no line ups because numbers are definitely down. The buzz about Steffen winning yesterday is still louder than a concert by KC and the Sunshine Band (yes they still exist and are appearing here in Vegas). And today’s dressage entertainment was wicked good. Hah.
I have now confirmed through firsthand frustration that if you are connecting with a US IP address to the internet – translating for the Luddites that means if you hit Explorer while on American soil – you will not be enjoying the World Cup Final on FEI TV. What really sucks is that there is nothing on the spanky new FEITV.com site warning you of that fact. Let’s face it. If you are signing up for FEI TV any time in the last week, chances are you did so to watch WC. So why not come clean and warn the poor Americanos that they won’t get WC action? And you know what’s even more lame? They didn’t even bother putting the dressage GP on there yesterday, only the speed class in the jumping. Based on the numbers of bums in seats there would have been a lot more online viewers for the dressage than for the speed class. There was a little more than 50% occupancy for the dressage yesterday, and a bit less than 50% for the jumping. Humph.
Today the dressage-tainment included a pas de deux competition with three pairs vying for a Hermes saddle and a pair of boots. Why they would give out prizes that can’t be shared or divided for a pas de deux competition escapes me, but at least there was some reward for all those weeks of practice. Debbie Mc and her student Adrienne Lyle were dressed up to look like Santa’s Little Helpers (or at least that’s what they looked like to me). Debbie’s mount Felix did some truly mind blowing weird moves with his front legs that got the crowd gasping. Then the Charlottes – Charlotte Bredahl and another Charlotte whose last name I didn’t catch – came out in boring blue outfits and were organized but lackluster to a mélange of tunes that didn’t sound like they came from the same radio station. And then, then, then! Guenter Seidel and Beth Ball took the crowd by storm in their Phantom of the Opera costumes. Their ride to Phantom music got a standing ovation and the applause-o-meter put them far into the winners’ circle. I heard that their music was done by a really cool freestyle designer in Canada, but in an effort to avert accusations of conflict of interest I will refrain from naming the 42 year old Vancouverite. Who has a horse called Theo. And who might be here in Vegas camping in the T & M parking lot in an RV.
The final course of the dressage meal today was Brentina’s retirement. I’m as sappy as the next person about things like this, but the whole thing was just too much. If I didn’t see Brentina in the ring in all her wonderful charming glory, I would have thought she had died. I’m absolutely positive Debbie would have cried just as much and we would have been at least as touched if the tribute had been a little less funereal. I agree that Brentina is an equine heroine of the sport and that the fairy tale with her and Debbie is an inspiring piece of US dressage history. No doubt about that. I wanted to shed a tear along with Debbie and all her fans. But the overworked sadness and speechifying killed it for me.
Oh yeah the jumping. It disappointed me in that it was more predictable than the dressage – a lot more predictable in fact. Shutterfly just kitty-catted his way around the course and made everyone else look like they were working far too hard for too little. The FEI press release referred to him as a ‘freak of nature’ which I thought was a little undiplomatic – but then the FEI WC releases were just as filled with bizarre-ness as ever. The first time I saw ‘Table’ spelled ‘Tabel’ (as in Table A or Table C) I thought it was a typo. But no. It was spelled like that all the way through. Ah, English. The official language of the FEI.
Keann White just went clear in round two of the jumping, so on that happy note I will say good night.