Saturday, September 11, 2010
Cross-Country Day by SInead Halpin
I headed into the barn at 5:30am not because I was riding that early but because I wanted to walk my horse for a while without being concerned with getting in a traffic jam! I must say the first few hours of the day were so enjoyable. The barns were quiet the horses were asleep and it happened to be the perfect quiet needed before a full day off cross-country. My dog and I headed out to walk cross-country around 7:15 to be greeted by most of the American WEG squad doing a gallop in the early morning fog. I know it sounds cheesy but it was such an inspiring sight... Just these amazing horses and riders that have such huge aspirations set for the next few weeks having a secluded gallop before the 600 other competitors arrived. It was pretty cool. Walking the course this am the ground seemed much better so cheers to everyone who sat on a tractor! Some riders were caught with some unsettling rounds more due to heading out of the start box trying to ride slow and almost being a bit passive. At the advanced level it is still important even when planning to "go slow" that a good enough pace is maintained to jump the fences well. Advanced is called that for a reason, you have to be forward, decisive and ride with intent. Today a lot left the start box without at least two of those main ingredients. But I have not talked to one rider that had maybe did not perfect ride that said anything less than what I have just said. Fortunately, or unfortunately I am not sure.. Tate is not as scopy or confident as some of these top horses, he always requires a forward rhythm to feel good about his job.. So where I did not put my foot to the floor in between the fences I did have to set out on a good clip. The fences came up easily for Tate and bar adding up in the water he felt like he skipped around. I was surprised that he was so quick adding only 2 time penalties, but he maintained a forward gallop the whole time so all I can say is ..sweet ;) ... What is pretty amazing is that I'm pretty sure all riders and horses and riders stayed on grounds basically saying no trips to the hospital. I don't know if that because it is a championship event but good on US eventers!! Good day for the sport!! Show jumping looks interesting for tomorrow. Some of the striding is for lack of a technical term .. weird but will figure it out! On to tomorrow! PS. Tate is in 4th!!