Reining team final this afternoon. By now I almost understand what I am looking at, thanks to the quality explanation on the headphones. The final US entrant was high score for the event, which does not win him gold, but it did clinch the gold for the US. That is great, but call my cynical, isn’t this a US sport? We pretty much invented it, no wait, we DID invent it, so I’d pretty much expect world domination for at least the first four times it is in the WEG. And that is true so far, so all is right in the world. I’d say look out for Italy and Germany who clearly understand the game and God knows somebody will sell them the horses if they can’t breed good ones themselves. Dark horse: Poland. When freestyle reining becomes a WEG sport, which I suspect it will, the Polish riders I saw already have a leg up on the lyrical potentials of the sport.
Watching reining gave me several things. One was a reminder that good riding all looks the same, regardless of the sport. Another is that english riders, as a general group do not require enough of our horses in submission, possibly. By this I mean that the reining horses are all, as they say, broke. They stand still when asked for the most part. They go forward when asked, they come back when asked. They follow the rein. They are soft in the poll. They back up using their hindquarters. All pretty handy stuff. When this is accomplished through loving systematic training it is a very good thing.
Then Jay and I went and watched some GP dressage schooling in the Stadium. Horses would come marching down the entry into the stadium and be ready to go with their work, 5 and 6 beasts of hunky dressage gorgeousness at a time. Some riders would have the horse on the bit the entire time, producing beautiful work for a short period and then let them relax only when they had exited the arena, while others had their horses walking on a loose rein quite frequently. As a general matter of comparison, it was much more relaxing to watch the GP horses school than the eventing horses school dressage. Sorry, even though I’m an eventer at heart, the dressage people were more subtle with their horses, though everyone was well within the acceptable range.
Now we’re off to watch some endurance. I’m not sure how much of a spectator sport that is going to be. From the vantage point of the Maker’s Mark Bourbon Village, it has been fun to watch the dots progress around the course on the live feed. They go out and back in a series of loops that together cover 100 miles. Each loop comes back into the vet check area where the horses stop for a period of time for P and R checks and if they pass they can then go back out. So we’ll grab a toddy and head to vet check and learn something there I’m sure. Cheers for now.