I really did take my happy pill this morning and was determined to talk today about the tremendous sport, fabulous venue (I can’t WAIT to walk the cross country course, which looks stupendous) and continued warmth of the locals – which more than compensates for the continuing frigid weather. I would always choose a cold climate and friendly people over a warm climate and unfriendly people. 

Top equestrian competition always has its curve balls, but this morning we saw two horses excused from the arena. I’ve never been at a major championship where that happened. One reader has already commented on my short ‘OH NO’ post from this morning with the mistaken assumption that I was applying my usual sarcasm when I expressed sadness at Adelinde’s elimination. For once I was being serious. I think Parzival is a horse of such outstanding athleticism and beauty in motion that I was almost as excited to see him today as I am to see Totilas – please let’s have no more tragic endings to WEG journeys today. I know that the criticism is not of the horse but of Adelinde – and by inference the training methods of Sjef Janssen – and maybe I’m guilty of anthropomorphizing a horse (which of us isn’t guilty of that?); I felt sorry for that wonderful chestnut who was just a minute into showing thousands of people why he is so special. I am not exonerating anyone for their way of training a horse – but I’m not willing to condemn right now, either. 

The other elimination, Australia’s Hayley Beresford, was actually a bit surprising to me. I’ve seen some hitchy looking trots at these events over the years – and Relampago certainly wasn’t the only one today – that passed muster with the deities in the booths. So when Stephen Clarke rang the bell after the second extended trot I knew why but was still surprised. How does he – and any other judges who agreed – know that it wasn’t from tension that the horse was unlevel? He has some issues with contact and I’ve seen plenty of instances of perfectly sound horses that look very lame when they are tense and not happy in the connection. I don’t know if the elimination was correct or not. I do know that he wasn’t the only unlevel horse this morning – perhaps not even the most unlevel.

Ok, gotta go watch Totilas now. Back later.