What a fabulous weekend our sport experienced at Rolex. I cannot imagine a better, more exemplary, cross country day and just a fantastic competition from start to finish. From what I have heard, there have been no major horse injuries and certainly no rider injuries and yet plenty of action from start to finish; what more could one ask for in a four-star?
I am very happy with the predictions I laid out last weekend. Six of my 10 pics ended up in the right place: Jung, Livio, Tindall, Dutton, Burnett,and Brown. I am also quite sure that if Steady Eddy had not have had the very bad luck to slip over, he would have been in the top 10 (I think they would have had that 20 at the corner taken away, as I think he would have argued that he never presented, which I agree) and as well poor Doug Payne who didn’t make it through the final jog. However, I don’t think my clairvoyant skills can be blamed for vet issues or slip-ups, so I think over all I did very good in my predictions of top 10. My one caveat that I feared Kim’s horse would run out of gas proved true, and the first thing she posted on Facebook was that the horse lacked fitness for the course. And, didn’t I just nail Selena saying she would be JUST out of the top 10!
I also nailed my predictions of Jessica’s horses, Lisa Marie’s, Hawley’s and Holly’s. But here’s the thing, my predictions take nothing away from the fact that:
1. Selena rode beautifully all weekend including a stunning ride in the show jumping. I was sadly right that the show jumping kept her just out of the top 10, but on another day the show jump gods could have risen to her favour and she would have been in it. She and that horse have such a partnership now, and I am so glad for her that from her disappointment of last summer she gets to relish in this weekend.
2. Lisa Marie’s horse indeed was a disappointment in the dressage, but how exciting in the cross country! If she can clean up day one, I think they will be strong contenders for Canada with such a young, game horse that she clearly has an amazing partnership with.
3. I didn’t give enough credit to Hawley because she was perhaps the most impressive around the cross country of all the Canadians (Selena aside as I knew she would be aces). Hawley looked super impressive cross country and did probably everything she could on the last day. Seeing as they are a new partnership, I am sure they are coming away with dreams of where the future could take them.
4. Holly was just as I said, not up to a top 10 on this weekend, but my god I’m sure thrilled with her first Rolex and to be fair, one of the nicest show jump rounds of the day.
5. Jessie I’m sure is not super pleased with a one of three finish, as I know how competitive she is, but she rode, as always, top class. Pavorotti, as I predicted, looked like a complete handful at the start of cross country and didn’t she just handle it like the pro she is and how can anyone not be amazed by her dressage performances on him and Bentley? I hope she and her support staff can keep Pavorotti together for next year, because if she can just get control of him the first half of the course he could be a real contender. I’d like to extend a big shout out to Pavarotti’s owner, Don Good, who has supported that horse for a very long time. And speaking of Don, a huge congrats to all of the owners of these Canadian horses whether they were successful or not. It is a huge economical and emotional investment getting any horse to Rolex and they should all be thanked for that commitment.
So, here is the thing: I got a small amount of hate-ish mail from my predictions. I am not sure why, as I was very careful to make sure that I never put a rider down. My predictions were not based on emotions, but rather on facts and past results. I think I got the derogatory comments because I was too truthful? But at the end of the day… it appears I was correct. After I read Jimmy’s recap of Rolex cross country, I wondered to myself how much hate mail he must receive because he was much more “truthful” than I would have been with some of his comments on horses and riders.
I think some people thought I wasn’t patriotic enough? Didn’t support our Canadian riders enough? But here’s what I have to say to that: those that are so upset by my predictions based on facts, YOU my friends are part of the problem…not I. I am more pro-Canadian riders than you will ever imagine. So long as you blow smoke up, and tell people that their horses are amazing, or try to tell riders that they too can come in and be top placed amongst those others out there…YOU are holding them back. I cannot remember one instance that I wrote that I put down a Canadian rider. Yes, I have put down A FEW Canadian horses and never have I once been proven wrong in that department.
We do have fabulous riders and if we don’t speak the truth and get people rallied around them to buy them GOOD horses, or MORE good horses, those riders are going to disappear and never fulfill what may be their true potential. Selena is absolutely fabulous and I don’t think she has anything coming up under her. Jessica is the best we have with only Rottie as a proven horse. Although I hope that Bentley comes along for her, that remains to be seen, and even if he does come along, one horse is not enough. Hawley is as committed as they come and from what I know has only this one horse.
We, Canada, are in VERY big trouble if we want to be part of the Olympics. We are not qualified and it seems unlikely that we will have a strong team for the WEGS unless we can bubble wrap Rottie and Woody and hope someone else gets strong. So, things aren’t looking great thus far for the WEGS to qualify us, and then we have to rely I believe, on a top finish at the Pam Ama. Unfortunately, and sorry to burst the bubble of my dream weaver friends out there, but TYPICALLY we do not win gold at the Pan Ams, and last time we couldn’t even get silver.
So, I’m just going to throw this out there, to those who want to disparage me for my predictions last week – I write to support the Canadians. If those of you could please stop supporting our riders with pom-poms and by writing me hate mail and instead support them by finding them owners/sponsors/ etc. THAT would be grand. I for one will keep pushing and doing my best to support our riders with the truth as I think that is the best way to fix our flaws and I am really hoping that maybe…just maybe…I might have a horse for the Olympics if he stays sound and I get better, so I sure as heck hope I have a country that is qualified.