Moonlighting at the Festival of Champions - The USEF National Dressage Championships Part 1
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Posted by Tigger Montague
Confessions of a Photo Journalist Wannabe
The first thing I came to realize, standing ringside with my camera amongst the other photographers during the Prix St.Georges class, was that standing there is hell on one’s knees. Normally I shoot some pictures of clients or friends, and then sit down, or wander off and talk to people I know. The point is, I am better off moving around than standing in one spot. After the PSG class was concluded, I had a whole new respect for equine photographers.
The second thing I quickly realized is that those big bodied cameras, lenses, and expedition monopods serve an important service: ballast to lean one’s body on when knee fatigue sets in.
I like to clap for competitors even for less than stellar rides. After the first horse went in the PSG on Thursday, I vigorously clapped; then noticed that none of the other photographers did. If they didn’t know I was a green horn before then, they sure knew it now. I imagine that it is some kind of press code not to exhibit any noticeable reactions as to maintain a lack of bias. But I figured, well, I’m clapping for everyone, so that’s a form of neutrality as well.
My personal favorite horse of the class was Royal Prinz, a stallion ridden by David Blake. Royal Prinz is eye candy, and you can see the inner grand prix horse within.
If only I had a mare….
After the Prix St. Georges concluded I noticed the photographers heading back to the media tent. I followed them and then noticed that they were setting up their laptops and starting to download their photographs on long tables, draped in white linen.
Had I brought my lap top to the show grounds? Of course not.
What I learned that first day is that after shooting over 500 pictures, it took me hours back at the hotel that night to sort through them, and it wasn’t until ten o’clock that night that I finally finished.
Lesson learned: bring lap top and download photos during the day in the media tent.
I have new respect for what photo journalists do. I was exhausted and it was only day one.
Chestnuts Dominate The Intermediaire Championships
The top US Intermediare horses faced off at the Festival of Champions on day one of this week's championships. Thursday's Prix St. George competition is the first of three tests ridden this weekend by the top 15 Intermediare horses in the country.Saturday they will compete in the Intermediare class,and Sunday in the Freestyle.
The Prix St.George was dominated by chestnut horses; three quarters of the class were all chestnuts, including 5 of the top 6 finishers.
The Prix St.George was won by Carolyn Roffman on Pie (73.974%) in a test that demonstrated energy, focus, harmony, and suppleness. Steffen Peters on Sundance 8 placed second with a 72.27%. Chris Hickey on Witness Hilltop came in a close third at 71.158%. The chestnut domination was broken by fourth placed David Blake and the stallion Royal Prinz, a stunning bay, who finished with a 70.868%. Fifth placed, Heather Mason on Warsteiner (70.342%) and sixth placed Mette Rosencranz on Mosegaards Rico (69.684%) continued the chestnut color domination of this class.
Making her debut at Gladstone was Laura Graves from Oviedo, Florida on her ten year old Dutch horse Verdades. This year is Laura and Verdades first season competing at CDI's, and she finished in seventh place with a 69.342%. She trains with Ann Gribbons.
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