The final day of WEG started off with the trot up – and Canada wins the style award. I heard through the gravevine that Jim Wolfe is responsible for the US wearing the sloppy coats, jeans and cowboy hats. This might not be true, but someone needs to pass that particular job off to a fashionista in USEF. Becky was the only one able to really pull off the hat look, while the others (Boyd) looked like they just wokeup and rolled out of bed. Canada looked like they were ready to walk down the style runway in NYC. Hawley’s ponytail might have been a little too high on her head, but that is about the only complaint that I can make! The Canadians looked like a “TEAM” that wants to be together, while everyone else looked like a hodge-podge group of friends who all had an idea about the look, but somehow forgot to follow the thought through to the end point.
Post trot up, we all piled into Tremaine’s truck, stacked like legos, and had a great meal at the venerable restaurant, Sam’s. Then quite full of biscuits, gravy, bacon and country ham, we head off to spend money at the trade fair and then find our seats for the start of show jumping.
You sit in your seats as eager as a kid on Christmas morning, its a great feeling. The most exciting ride of the day, and probably only one of two that I will remember next year, was Hop and Skip!!! I truly hope that his round is available on video for you to watch because he was a treat to see. His trot up presentation in the morning did give us a good hint at the scope and gusto that he was going to apply to the day and his rider, Kenki Sato, was like a kite following a 747 on take off during the trot up. He was equally as airborne during the show jumping round.
My opinion on the US team might be best kept to myself, but I am going to go out on a limb and say it was a disappointment. It appears that the team was chosen for it’s cross country abilities, because the dressage (other than Becky, who was an individual) and SJ results were not what we hoped. Boyd and Phillip did a great job on their rounds and I was truly hoping that Boyd’s excitement would set the tone for the team today…. but it didnt. Buck seemed to be dealing with a little bit of attitude left over from the day before on Ballynoe Castle RM, dont know if anybody else could ride that horse, he looked so strong and stiff at times. Buck worked very hard to preserve the good round that he had, good on him to have the one rail that he did. Now Karen…. I fully respect that she wants to be on this team, but I dont think that Mandiba was the horse for this competition. Mandiba has proven to have a stop in him in the recent past. He stopped at AECs at fence 2 on XC, he stopped at the jumper schooling show that the the group went to in Culpepper VA, he stopped at Burghley last year and was ELIMINATED because he did not want to play the game. Maybe the selectors thought that they needed an experienced hand on the team and that is why they chose Karen, but Phillip fully fufilled that role as the anchor. I dont know why in the world they needed to select a stopper to be on the team. To add insult to injury, Mandiba then took the fence down upon re presentation anyway, as a little reminder of his control of the situation. My heart goes out to Karen, obviously one of the best riders in the world, but sitting on a horse who consistently throws in the unexpected. I guess I wish that we did not play roulette here at the world stage.
Mark and I are getting on the plane to head home on Monday. Its been a fantastic trip and I cant wait for our next visit to Kentucky. Now, back to the regularly scheduled programming of riding and lessons…. and Im looking forward to it!