Perspectives of the World Games with Brian O'Connor - Day 3
Thursday, September 30, 2010
USA...USA...USA...USA!!!!!!! We got our first individual bronze medal in the Worlds...Steffen and Ravel were terrific. They earned every bit of it.....Steffen rode a lovely test, full of power and efficiency. He worked the arena and got some great movements out of Ravel...not his best, because I have seen them in better form (overall) in Hong Kong, but still a lovely test. The Grand Prix Special is a test that truly tests the power and stamina, and strength of a horse and rider, due to the amount of piaffe and passage required. Ravel is a master of pirouettes and changes, so that is easy. The piaffe and passage tour is very tough, and although he was fairly consistent, there was still a bit of "getting stuck" in the series of transitions between the two....however, they both finished very strong up the final centerline on the piaffe/passage series and ended to a HUGE crescendo of music and applause. Well deserved and well earned.....finally his world class medal = bronze. And to follow up from yesterday, yes the USA has qualified for the Olympics 2012 London, by their 4th place finish yesterday....we are on our way to the next championships!!
Now.....on to the winner and runner up. You know, we have all been looking forward to seeing Totilas and Edward, but until you actually see them in person......it is just unbelievable. This pair are such a team and partnership...and Totilas is such a HAM!! I mean when he is finished, he drops his head, relaxes and then actually looks around at the audience as if to say: "So, what did you think? You think it should be 84..or 85? He really scopes out the crowd for approval...a true star!! They did not disappoint...the special test that they put in, was beyond terrific.....the ease of the movements and the seamless, AND I MEAN SEAMLESS, transitions from piaffe to passage. trot to canter, extended to collected....is almost invisible. Truly....he goes from one to the next with no hesitation or resistance. There were endless 9s and 10s in this test today, and, like the scene in the movie Spinal Tap (for those who are die hard Monty Python fans like me)...we need 11 for this horse. 10 is not enough!!
And then there was the super silver Mistal Hjoris and Laura B. from England....now there is a chestnut powerhouse that glides around the arena. This pair put in one hell of a test today...the crowd went ballistic when she finished. This horse has so much power and presence and Laura rides so beautifully and accuratey that you are totally in awe......this team comes in and OWNS the ring. Totalis comes in and WOWS the crowd......but Laura has taken this wonderful horse to such a level, that she belongs in the same league. Great Britain should be very proud of their superstar...she lives up to the billing......and how.
The surprise of the day came from another pair of veterans....Hans P. Minderhoud and the lovely mare, Nadine. This pair were members of the medal winning team in Hong Kong and had a terrific season in Europe and here in the US (Exquis Masters in Wellington in FEB) that you would never expect what happened....they performed a solid, not perfect or their best, Grand Prix Special, and when they came down centerline for the final piaffe/passage tour, the mare (CHESTNUT REMEMBER....) vaulted over X...all four feet and legs in the air, as if there was a snake on the ground! Hans was really good to stay aboard. Then they got right back into passage and finished ....Nadine actually spooked at something, then was fine. After the test, I mentioned on the PA that the invisible snake had been removed from the ring, but that the judges had given 10's on the added lavade!!!!! Two judges who were up in the booth beside me said it is just that chestnut mare thing!! Don't come at me now.......they said it....not me but those of you who have chestnut mares know what I am saying........I had a bay mare once like this, who thought she was a chestnut...no, I am not being judgemental here....just reporting the facts, maam!!
Well, a terrific day and lovely weather for the Special...a day off tomorrow (announcing anyway) and on to the three day dressage day 1.....Karen and Mandiba have moved up, onto the team, as Kim and here Irish horse Tipparary Liadhnan did not present for the jog...apparently he has been sick all week and was not able to go....but, because of the time tables required for declaration of athletes, we (USA) were not able to bring in the next reserve rider for our 3 day squad...seems like something went wrong in the decisions this week (to me)......maybe I'll get some grief for this sentence...but, on our own turf.....we come up one short for our home team......doesn't seem right. I gotta go before I get in trouble..
Dressage rules!!!! Our second medal of the WEG 2010...congrads to Steffen, Aikiko and Ravel.......go USA.