Tonight is going to be INSANE. If you aren’t going to get the coverage live on TV but have access to the internet, get thee to FEI TV forthwith. There is less than a rail separating the top six teams going into the Nations’ Cup second round tonight. Canada is right in the thick of it in fourth. Can you imagine if we win another team medal here? It will make it the most successful WEG ever for Canada. But I must not say any more along those lines. I’ve already been elbowed a few times for committing the taboo act of saying a round was going well only to see a rail come down immediately afterward. Superstition is alive and well in journalism land. I don’t subscribe to that belief system. I think superstitious people have bad luck.
The most surprising team in that top six group – and I should mention that Australia in seventh is very much in the hunt as well – is the Saudi team. Who woulda thunk it? It doesn’t hurt that they have one of the world’s best horses in Presley Boy, but like someone said yesterday, if anyone had told her two weeks ago that a rider from Saudi Arabia would be in the individual lead after two jumping rounds she would have told him he was out of his keffiyeh. It’s going to be great sport tonight, of that I have no doubt.
Yesterday we asked to have the course designer, Conrad H. in the press conf. He apparently hates coming to them, so several of us were warned that we’d better ask at least one question. As it happened he was asked more questions than almost anyone else. My query was about the line of 11 and 12a/b. I said in my post yesterday that I didn’t like what the line was doing to some horses. To me it was a line that punished horses for their riders’ mistakes or lack of skill and I don’t think that’s right. I would even venture to go so far as to say it contradicted the FEI’s mandate of horse welfare. I know, I know. Eventing is far more likely to produce injuries than show jumping, but if I compare Mike E-S’s cross country course to Conrad’s Nation’s Cup course, I believe Mike avoided trapping horses and undermining their confidence. When I asked Conrad if the struggling we saw among many horses was the result he expected, I got an answer coloured with haughty self-righteousness. “I’ve done that line before, so yes.” Then George Morris jumped in with unrestrained praise for Conrad’s genius – which made me wonder if George (whom I have dubbed Captain America after the WC Las Vegas program misnamed him George America in a photo caption in their program) is going soft in heart or head. I have heard a lot of things about Captain America over the years, but none of them were accounts of gushing praise coming from that thin-lipped mouth.
I realize yesterday’s course needed to take some prisoners, but increasing the likelihood of rails falling doesn’t mean the same thing as sending horses ploughing into a fence. The course is identical today, apart from the water, which has been replaced by a triple bar – water is tricky under lights at night so Conrad decided to take it out. Some of the jumps are bigger, though. One thing I noticed yesterday was that the course seems a little thin on decoration. Past championship courses have had some pretty spectacular designs and while each jump here has a story, the visual impact is a little on the light side. We did hear that one of the claw-backs resulting from WEG’s financial woes was a cut to the number of flowers ordered for the course. Not that the cause is a lack of flowers, but that the lack of flowers resulted in more modest use of structures that would look bare without them. 
In other, irrelevant news, I saw my first Sarah Palin bumper sticker the other day. I saw another one today that said ‘Git-R Local’. I have no idea what that means. Do you think that’s redneck-speak for ‘think globally, act locally’?  And speaking of redneck-speak, the editor at Horse Sport, Susan Stafford-Pooley, sent me a list of Hillbilly Medical Terms that turned up in her junk mail box. She thought I’d enjoy them, seeing as I’m in the south and all. Here are a few that made me LOL:
Benign……………………..What you be after you be eight.
Bacteria……………………Back door to cafeteria.
Barium…………………….What doctors do when patients die.
Cauterize………………….Made eye contact with her.
Dilate………………………To live long.
Impotent………………….Distinguished, well known.
Urine……………………..Opposite of mine.

Varicose………………….Near by/close by

Gotta go cheer for Canada now. Later!