Today was what the last three days should have been: scattered clouds, breezy, bright, and about 60 degrees. A glorious day.
The flags were whipping all around the arena, but most of the horses and riders seemed very focused. Only a few (and my notes aren't handy, so I can't recall which ones) looked at anything other than the business at hand.
Kim Severson could actually barrel through four jumps and STILL be ok--so there was little excitement other than watching a masterful team of horse and rider complete a flawless round....which was, in retrospect, quite exciting. She even opted for the more challenging route, and she and Winsome Adante handled each obstacle as if it were nothing and then took two well-earned victory laps. Bravo for them!
Karen O'Conner and Upstage showed their colors as true professionals, taking each fence perfectly and moving up as a result of the flawless performance. Eddy Stibbe and Buck Davidson also had clear rounds, which helped their standings as well. Jan Thompson on Task Force, who I liked in Dressage, had a nice round but incurred time faults.
Several of the horses, ranging from first timers to experienced campaigners, had trouble at the Liverpool, an oxer w/ water underneath. There were numerous rails down, and several refusals at this jump. Isn't it amazing that horses who can leap into water that they aren't sure HOW deep it will be are leery of a bit of water under a jump? Of course, the water was an unnatural neon blue....still, surely the "big guys" school over this type of jump, no? How can we better prepare our horses for this type of thing?
And that's one of the biggest things I've learned from this experience: preparation, from the half-halt signalling a transition, to simple backing, to practicing over different obstacles that might appear on one of the tests. Overall, attending the Rolex Three Day Event was incredible. I hope I can come back next year! Btw, there are some really great deals at the trade fair after the event. :-)
Before I forget, congratulations to Ralph and Janet Rickly, who are celebrating 62 years of wedded bliss today. Many happy returns!