Sunday, October 3, 2010

My, oh my, oh Canada!

Hawley Bennett-Awad giving Gin & Juice
a pat. They were just one of the six clear rides
for the Canadians today.
After an incredible day of the best riders in the world tackling an outstanding cross-country track, it's Great Britain in 1st, the U.S. in 2nd (!!!!!!), and Canada in 3rd (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). There were teams falling down the leaderboard after stops, falls, and retirings on course. There were teams soaring up the leaderboard as clear rounds and amazing horse/rider combinations rose to the occasion and rode their hearts out. Riders went way down in the rankings after stellar dressage rides yesterday (only to have problems on cross-country today), and there are riders who shot up in the standings after superb goes today, following "ho hum" dressage tests on the previous day. As others have said, "this ain't no dressage test." This is eventing as it should be! For Canada to turn in 6-out-of-6 clear rounds.....only adding 7.4 time penalties across the performances of all SIX astounding. I believed a few weeks ago that they would come to Lexington with victory on their minds, and boy was I right! You can't fake that kind of talent, preparation, and training. Good for them!

I love how Andrew Nicholson looks like he's sitting
at home in an easy chair, instead of contesting one of
the toughest tests a man and horse can face. This
is why he's one of the best in the world.
There were some new faces making a well-deserved name for themselves on the world stage, and there were some tried-and-true veterans who came out and shone when they were needed. Mark Todd, William Fox-Pitt, Mary King, Karen O'Connor, Phillip Dutton, Andrew Nicholson, Pippa Funnell, Kyle Carter, and Ingrid Klimke (just to name a few) all had outstanding rides today. Where will we be when these greats decide to hang up their Charles Owen's and call it a day? Fabulous performances all around.

One of the greats who is still out there, pointing his horse
at these incredible courses, and galloping
home effortlessly at the end of the day.
Mark Todd: eventing god. :-)
I cannot wait to see the show jumping finale tomorrow. This whole weekend just epitomizes what is so great, so unique, and so inspiring about the sport of eventing. Anyone can go from 1st to last and last to 1st in the span of 3 days, over the course of 3 tests. This is what we were born to do. Go Eventing!!!

Geoff Curran and The Jump Jet having a
fabulous ride through the Head of the Lake this time around!

SPECIAL SHOUT OUT: to Geoff Curran and The Jump Jet (from Ireland). I posted about these two on this very blog back in April after their stop at the water at Rolex, resulting in the frangible log fence that was newly in place there to break and give way. They circled and re-presented and finished fine. It might not have been so pretty if that log had not broken upon their impact. Today they rode around in Kentucky again, as part of the Irish national team, and they were wonderful! Especially considering the fact they were held for about 20 minutes on course while a horse that had hit a jump in front of them was treated for a shoulder laceration and transported to a nearby veterinary hospital for more stitches. Geoff and The Jump Jet collected themselves, continued on, and finished out the day after a great round. Not an easy thing to do at all....mentally or physically. Just try running a marathon and having to stop at mile 22 for 20 minutes to wait for a passing train, then try to regain your momentum, your passion, and your drive to finish. That's damned hard, but good for Geoff and The Jump Jet for doing just that this afternoon, on a world stage. They were my personal success story for today!

(All photos here by Leslie Threlkeld on Eventing Nation)

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