The Long and Winding Road Part 4

Day 4 (I think…)

It is hard to keep track of time when you aren’t in the “real world” but we did dressage today, so it must be Friday.  Courtney Carson had Quantum looking like the star he is, with a set of braids the hunter people would have been killed to have.  Quantum didn’t have quite the test we had hoped for, but he is for sure going to be a force to be reckoned with in the future.  The atmosphere was quite electric and he felt it (and being half TB, when he feels it, you know it.  No internalizing for this guy!).

Nowhere in the US do you have the crowds so close to the ring, all the tents literally on 3 sides of the ring and the crowd moving and climbing right next to the ring.  He was tense, and his lateral work and canter work showed that.  There were no major mistakes, but the connection was not always there and he was penalized for it, rightly so.  I thought Doug did a masterful job keeping the lid on, and there were some very good movements.   His trot work in particular had such an improvement in the cadence and lift compared to a couple months ago.  When he gets strong enough to carry that, he will be fabulous.  What a learning experience for him – it’s going to make the event formerly known as Rolex a walk in the park when he is there in 2 years. 😊

I watched the 6 years old this morning, and there were still large variations in the scoring, with scores 9-10% points difference between the judges.  As I’ve said before, a lot of very heavy types, with a lot of straight dressage breeding.  I just can’t see some of these horses going xc at upper levels.  First not with their breeding, and second not with their type.  In the past, the 6-year olds have had more of a dressage contest here, so I don’t expect the standings to change much for them tomorrow.

The 7-year olds are certainly more of a type that I can see galloping, as they are on a whole, more of the type I expect to see.  I especially liked Birmane – just the type I expect to see going well xc.  I have heard that xc is more influential with the 7-year olds, so hopefully that will be the case.  There are a lot of scores packed in between 25 and 35!

The amazing xc elves have been hard at work overnight with finishing touches.  The dragons at fence 1 laid an egg overnight, and some wooden horses were corralled next to the big drop.  I have to admit I didn’t walk the whole course again, so tomorrow there might be even more surprises.  The very influential corners at fence 21 have been softened with a black flag option that will takes some time due to the roping, but at least you have an option because they are both pretty narrow.

As far as dogs, apparently it isn’t all about Jack Russells.  The French have a lot of dogs here (just like the US).  I saw a bunch of whippets and French Bulldogs. (breeds I don’t usually see at events in the US) and not a single Lab.  That’s weird.

The trade fair is a little quieter than ours.   As usual, saddles and horse stuff, but fewer “crafty” things. Socks seem to be the “in thing” to have, judging by the number of booths.  Oh, and of course, wine.  Boy, is there wine.  But no chocolate anywhere, which I find both sad and disturbing.  As is the lack of pastries – I was expecting an epicurean delight of pastries, and no, not a single place selling them.

The wine comes both by the glass and by the case, and there is a very strange baguette you can buy that is labeled “American” which contains ham, cheese, lettuce and sliced hard boiled eggs with butter. My husband says one try of it was enough – and he is usually an omnivore, so I’m guessing the taste was exactly what it sounds like.  Apparently, he hadn’t sampled enough wine.

So, after drinking more wine tonight, relying on GPS to get us home yet one more way – we haven’t taken the same way home yet, we are looking forward to a great day of xc tomorrow!

Dr. Elizabeth Callahan