All Posts in the ‘World Equestrian Games’ Category

October 11th, 2010

Different Clothes, Same Team at the World Equestrian Games

The World Equestrian Games brought together the top eventers from around the world like Pippa Funnel, Michael Jung, and William Fox-Pitt. But it also drew together equestrians from a myriad of disciplines to compete at the Games as well as perform in exhibitions.  It felt like a true celebration of horses and I felt like a true horse-crazy girl.

I found myself walking the cross-country course and then sprinting past a fence to watch a driving team roll by.  Of my many horse-related dreams driving a team of horses is high on the list.  Can anything be more impressive than a group of gleaming horses pulling a lovely carriage?  It’s Jane Austen meets 2010.

I vaulted in Pony Club but never did master that running mount which is, to say the least, critical to the sport.  But the lithe riders and steady horses still keep me captivated.  I caught this team in a practice session and couldn’t help by stop and watch.

I bounced from ring to ring and was, literally, on the edge of my seat for the Dressage Freestyle competition.  Grand Prix dressage is something else altogether. It’s harmony in motion and showmanship all rolled into one.  Throw in music for a dressage freestyle and the crowd might get raucous!

With all these disciplines occurring simultaneously like a three ring circus I immersed myself in favorite horse sports as well as new ones.  As you know I’m a fan of making friends and I loved that at the WEGs we had the rare opportunity to make friends across discipline.   A cowboy hat at a dressage test is a rare, but welcome, site.

Speaking of cowboys, reiners have the best time.  Can we start whistling and cheering during at least one phase of eventing?  Who should I talk with to make that happen? These two riders performed in the reining exhibition and I loved the juxtaposition of their formal costume next to the boots with rowel spurs.

I mentioned sidesaddle during the WEGs but I couldn’t help but bring it up again.  It’s not a discipline that competes in the World Equestrian Games but maybe I can get that passed too.  Is it too much to event, drive, and ride sidesaddle?  I hope not because I’m game. I can’t resist the intersection of vintage style with horses so you certainly can’t blame me for adoring sidesaddle.

The World Equestrian Games showcases the best riders in the world but it also creates an opportunity to share with each other the sports we love. I may not know much about reining, and a vaulter may not know much about 3-day eventing, but we all know what it feels like to groom our horses until they glisten, wake before dawn to care for our horse, and practice, practice, practice until perfect.  Sharing that bond and experience is, for me, was what the World Equestrian Games was all about. We might wear different clothes, but at the end of the day we’re all on the same team.

October 4th, 2010

Lucinda Green, British Eventing Champion, Recaps the World Equestrian Games

I had the great fortune/ blind luck to watch the final showjumping rounds next to Lucinda Green, six-time Badminton winner and British eventing legend.  Now that’s the person you want narrating the showjumping, I tell you what.  Having the opportunity to listen to one of the greatest event riders of all time was present enough, but to get the chance to ask her for her reflections on the World Equestrian Games to share with the Three Days Three Ways Team was the cherry on top.  I asked her, even as the horses and riders re-entered the arena to receive their medals, about her thoughts on the Games, the British Team, and how this World Equestrian Games went here on American soil. And she had some fascinating insight I’m honored to share with you.

(photo by Josh Walker)

Q. What are your impressions of the 2010 World Equestrian Games?

A.  It’s been a stunning World Games.  There’s been heartbreak and everything.  New Zealand nearly lost [Mark] Todd when he tore his achilles heel last week running here at the Park.  The Canadians had a fantastic championship.  Hats off to David [O'Connor] he had so much to do with it.   He has drawn together small girls, by accident I think, beautiful thoroughbreds, and molded them into this extraordinary, successful team.  And they rode so well.  It’s extraordinary to see what you can do with a team when you set out with whatever strategy he had.  I guess he’s just rolled himself into Mark’s [Phillip's] position by that.  I guess he has.

Q. Tell me about the British Team.  Can you tell me some of their strengths?

A.  Well that’s an old team on young horses.  Thirty is the youngest, forty-nine is the oldest.  The strength is probably the selection process where they get selected months beforehand, thet don’t have any of this last minute crap.  They are the given the freedom to bring their horse to its peak as they would because we feel they know how to do that better than we do.  We don’t give them a last-minute deadline three weeks before.  Which nearly every other country does. And which we used to and won plenty doing it so who’s to say what the right way is.  Talk to me in two years in London [at the Olympics] and we probably won’t have made it again because we haven’t done an Olympic gold since 1972.  We win these but we can’t do the Olympics! So when the Germans fell apart yesterday I just said “Damn the Germans!  They’re just warming up for London!”

Q.  How do you think the World Equestrian Games cross-country course compared with the likes of Badminton and Burghley and other great cross-country courses.

A.  It was a really, really, really good course. I thought when I saw it that it was going to be more difficult than it was.  It wasn’t as big as I’ve seen, but I thought it was full-on mental.  But it rode really, really well.  They probably could have had one more difficult fence in the last quarter because there was nothing, really, from the Head of the Lake onwards.  And the Head of the Lake didn’t cause any trouble that was so interesting.  From really the sunken road onwards there was nothing to cause trouble.

Q.  What about some of the riders you saw here this weekend. Regardless of team or country is there anyone who really stood out to you?

A. So many.  There was such good riding out there.  I was well impressed by it.  It’s hard to name anybody individually by I think Michael Jung is in a league of his own.  He’s an incredibly talented rider and he rides in all three disciplines which is a big bonus.  He trains his horses cross-country day in, day out.  He doesn’t just train them twice and then go to the competition.  He lives in Bavaria, miles from competitions, and he has built himself a cross-country course on a very small acreage of about eighty jumps.  These horses go out and they pop a few cross-country courses nearly every day.  You see that when you watch him go a million miles an hour cross-country with the horse completely and utterly tuned in to what he’s doing.  If there’s a lesson to be taken from him its, for God’s sake, train cross-country.  It doesn’t have to be big it’s just training the brain and the connection between the person and the horse.  And he does it magnificently.

Q.  Are there any horses that stood out to you?

A.  Well his horse is stunning.  The Canadian horses, I love them, all those little thoroughbreds.  I’ve always loved those.  Mandiba is taking his time coming good but he’s better than he has been.  The Australian horses, Happy Times.  I didn’t think Andrew Nicholson’s horses was as spry as I’ve seen him but they won the bronze medal..and it doesn’t get better than that.  Well, it gets two better than that!  The point is he’s going really well.

Thanks again to Lucinda Green for taking the time to share with Team Three Days Three Ways her insights and reflections from the 2010 World Equestrian Games.  It’s hard to believe it’s over.  It went just as fast as I thought it would.  Now we’ll have to start planing for London I suppose!  One last note, though.  Throughout my conversation with Lucinda I kept thinking someone must be wearing the loveliest perfume.  Naturally I asked her and discovered she wears Chanel Allure.  I’m hoping that, since I wear Chanel Chance, that this somehow makes us like sisters. Do you think? Or maybe, if I wear Allure, some of her legendary talent will rub off on me?  Either way, I’ll remember watching the best riders in the world showjumping for gold at the 2010 World Equestrian Games at the Kentucky Horse Park sitting next to Lucinda Green.  And maybe I’ll pick up some Chanel Allure next time I’m at Saks 5th Avenue, just in case.


October 3rd, 2010

Cross-Country Reflections from Bruce Davidson “It Was a Great Day for the Sport”

“It was a marvelous day for the sport.” Bruce Davidson said under cloudy skies but with a smile nonetheless.   “I saw a lot of top riding and didn’t see any appalling riding which made me happy.  I did see some ridiculous next to last and last fences…and a few horses were over tired, but you always have that with any endurance sport human or equine.”

Bruce Davidson, one of the best event riders in the world and legends in our sport, and the reason the Kentucky Horse Park exists the way it does today, didn’t hesitate to elaborate on yesterday’s cross-country day.

“The [Kentucky Horse] Park made a great effort with the footing and that’s most appreciated by the horsemen.” As for rides that were particularly good to watch on cross-country day, Bruce didn’t hesitate, “Doesn’t everyone always enjoy watching Andrew Nicholson, William Fox-Pitt, and Mark Todd?” But was quick to add that they weren’t the only ones.  ”There was a lot of good riding.  horses are marvelous animals, they’re terribly generous.”

I’m with Bruce as he said again, “It was a great day for the sport”.

October 3rd, 2010

Word on The Street: Michael Jung’s Horse Sold for a Million Pounds

The jogs were cold and dreary this morning but the news on the street is hot.  Rumor has it that Michael Jung’s horse, La Biosthetique Sam, both currently in first at the World Equestrian Games, has been sold for at least 1 million pounds.

photo by Josh Walker

What’s more, we’ve also hear that dressage super-star and multi-gold medal winner at the World Equestrian Games, Moorlands Totilas,  is not on the flight back to Europe with the other horses leading to buzz that he’s been sold to an American.  What kind of price tag would accompany that horse?  It also could be that his performance was such that he now deserves his own private jet.  Any horse that has our permission to wear gold bell boots might also have his own plane.

October 3rd, 2010

WEG Eventing Radio Show with Kim Severson

The third of four special episodes of eventing coverage from the 2010 Alltech World Equestrian Games. Chris is joined by some very special guests to give you a wrap up of the days events. This was recorded in front of a live audience at the Alltech Experience in the Kentucky Horse Park. Listen in…

Eventing Radio Episode 100 – Show Notes and Links:

  • Show Host: Chris Stafford
  • Photo Credit: FEI/Dirk Caremans
  • Guest: Kim Severson
  • World Equestrian Games Eventing Radio Show Recording Schedule – recording at the Alltech Pavilion Stage: (Recorded versions should be available within three hours of recording.)
    • Sept 30: Recording 4:30-5:30 PM
    • Oct 1: Recording 4-5 PM
    • Oct 2: Recording 4:30-5:30 PM
    • Oct 3: Recording 4:30-5:30 PM
  • Coverage: Follow all the coverage of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games on the Horse Radio Network.

Please visit our sponsors as they make this show possible:

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October 3rd, 2010

American Pride, Red Boots, Ray Bans, and WEG Cross-Country

Cross-Country day at the World Equestrian Games had the feel of a massive music festival with fans camped out across the vast lawns of the Kentucky Horse Park on blankets, camp chairs, with babies and baby carriages, and plenty of team spirit.

Do these friends look familiar?  Those two in the front are out friends from dressage freestyle Samantha and Therese. I love crossing paths all over WEGs!  The two in the back?  new friends from New Zealand?  These two eventing fans decided that not only was it an excellent idea to attend the World Equestriuan Games in the US but also to travel for 5 weeks in the states to see everything from coast to coast. Fingers crossed that we’ve showed them a good time!  Do you think they’d let me bunk with them to go hang with the Kiwi eventers?  Speaking of, is anyone else in love with Jonathan Paget?

Megan caught my eye immediately.  She’s showing us prep from start to finish which happens to be quite en vogue right now.  From the Ray Bans to the turtle neck to the argyle she’s got prep down pat.  One detail you can’t see but that I quite liked were her brown, lace up paddock boots.  The perfect note of throw-back and equestrian to make her look both classic as well as unique. I even love the binoculars around her neck.  Maybe I’ll start wearing them too. If you’re going to go for prep then let Megan be your role model.

This event fan adds a number to my tally of those who can pull off polo shirts bringing it to one. Her outfit is simple but has impact in the just the right places.  Blue sunglasses and red boots pull together the colors in her polo shirt and make her stand out.  There’s nothing we can do about getting her pretty, red hair but that certainly is adorable.

Close up. I can’t help myself.  You know I love red shoes.  Should I get green wellies or red wellies?

By late afternoon the weather turned from hot to windy and chilly.  Luckily this outrider had on just the jacket to keep her warm and looking sharp to boot.

Demonstrating everything we need out on cross-country: camera, rain boots, and caffeine.

I don’t think we’ll be needing any caffeine to keep us awake as we watch the showjumping today.  With the standings mere rails apart we’ll be on the edge of our seats already. If you haven’t been following the USEA’s live scoring I highly recommend you do that.  They’ll have every moment sent right to you making you part of the action both for those of you at home and for those of you in the stands!

October 3rd, 2010

A Medals Prediction from Boyd Martin

“How fast can you get to the statue of Bruce Davidson?”

“40 seconds”

“I’ll beat you there”.

It’s hard to beat Boyd for always being available to his eventing fans and taking things in stride.  Things like a rock solid, clean World Equestrian Games cross-country course on the eve of Sunday showjumping with hardly a rail to lose. So when I asked him to tell us all about cross-country and looking forward to Sunday he was there to do it.  In less than 40 seconds, to be exact.


Q. So Boyd, tell us a bit about what happened today.

A.We did a bit of cross country riding, and I was lucky enough to be one of the American riders that had a great, clear round on Neville Bardos.

Q.  Tell us about the course. Anything stand out as very difficult or just a joy to ride?

A. It was a big course, a long course. The biggest trouble I had was trying to keep my horse settled and not trying to take over and thinking he was in a race! But he kept his head, stayed relaxed and did a great job.

Q.  As a team, how are you feeling?

A.  I think we are looking all right. At the moment it’s a very close race between four countries – England, America in second, then Canada and the Kiwis [New Zealand] in 4th. It’s really all within a rail or two of each other so it’s really going to come down to [show jumping].

Q. Any stand-out performances from today?

A. It was a very exciting and interesting day. Obviously the dressage placings have changed a lot after cross country. The German team was a bit unlucky, you could say, at the end of the course. I think Michael Jung rode beautifully and he’ll win the gold as an individual tomorrow.

Q. Tell me a little bit about caring for Neville.  Are there any supplements that you use that are specific to him?

A. Yeah, I think I’ve got him a little too healthy at the moment! He’s really full of life. He gets the best Nutrina food, I feed him the Legacy which is supposed to be meant for dressage horses and I’ve also got him on all the SmartPak supplements and you can really see a horse that’s happy and healthy and almost too good.

Q.  What are you going to be thinking going into show jumping tomorrow with Neville?

A.  Trying to get to one side of the jump to the other without knocking anything over.

Right then, I think that sounds like an excellent strategy for the American Team.  Shall we text Captain Mark Phillips with the plan?  Well, hopefully Boyd will make the suggestion.  Keep your fingers crossed for a successful execution of Boyd’s plan and sit tight to see if his gold medal prediction comes true.

October 3rd, 2010

Phillip Dutton and Mary King Storm WEG Cross-Country

Cross-Country made a big impact on the World Equestrian Games eventing standings leaving the Brits in the lead with the Americans breathing down their necks. Famous British eventer Mary King bebopped around the WEG course showing herself to be the veteran she is leaving herself and Imperial Cavalier in 10th.

But they weren’t the only hot shot veteran who tore up cross-country.  Phillip Dutton, even after being held in warm up while the vets attended Italy’s Iman du Golfe for injuries, took the course by storm.  Spectators put bets on whether or not he and Woodburn would take the direct route which was rare for this brush combination.  As you can see, money changes hands.

As you might imagine the crowd went wild and Phillip and Woodburn moved into 14th.

October 2nd, 2010

Dressage Day Two Recap by Silva Martin

The minutes and moments have been flying by at the World Equestrian Games for me and for everyone else here.  That includes Silva Martin who, as you might imagine, has been very busy what with her husband riding in the World Equestrian Games!  We were able to rendezvous just this afternoon to discuss Dressage Day two for the eventing portion of the WEGs.  Here’s what she had to say!

Karen O’Connor and Mandiba/ photo courtesy of Josh Walker

I thought I saw a lot of very beautiful horses and a lot of good riding.  The Americans really gave it their best.  Everyone is getting along and cheering each other on.  It’s a very good atmosphere and we’re very lucky to be here.

Karen [O'Connor] did a great job. She’s on a 44. The judges were starting to judge a little easier; I was watching as the day went on. Mandiba was good and worked with the atmosphere very well. Karen rode very accurately and he looked great. She had a few little mistakes but nothing major. The score was really fair. I remember he [Mandiba] was a little unsteady in places but Karen kept him togther and being such an experienced rider you could really see that.

Becky Holder and Courageous Comet/photo courtesy of Josh Walker

Becky [Holder]  was outstanding.  When she came in the crowd went crazy because everyone loves Comet-he’s like a – what do you call it?- national treasure. He loved the atmosphere and Becky was right on it.  It was a beautiful test all around including the changes and all the trot work.  She didn’t miss a beat. Obviously he [Comet] has an amazing trot and big extensions.  Her canter work was like clock work. Everything was just beautiful.  She coudn’t have done any better.  She’s on a 39 which is very exciting.

Phillip Dutton and Woodburn/ photo courtesy of Josh Walker

Woodburn is an ideal event horse, actually, because he’s a thoroughbred but looks and moves like a warmblood.  We all thought he was going to nail this and go into the lead.  His trot work was beautiful but the judges weren’t going crazy for it.  He was really going for the extensions.  The canter started off good then, at the first and second change he got nervous then had two changes on short diagonal.  I don’t know what set it off but Woodburn got upset about making a mistake and he got a little frazzled.  That’s where he really lost marks.  I’m not sure what it was but he made big mistakes at the end which got his score down to a 48 which is still a great score but we were hoping Phillip would go into the 30′s, which he’s capable of. Those mistakes really got him down a bit.

But it didn’t matter after today!


October 2nd, 2010

WEG Dressage Freestyle Close-Ups

If you were lucky enough to attend the World Equestrian Games dressage freestyle last night then you’re aware that it was a sold out house and that we were treated to quite a show with the top dressage riders in the world all in one place including Edward Gal and Steffen Peters. The showman of the evening (and crowd favorite), however, was certainly Juan Munoz Diaz with his Fuego XI.  They were spectacular from start to finish and looked as if they were enjoying the ride as much as we were.

Did you see his arm at his side below? Like I said, showmanship!  Juan ended up 4th and just out of the medals much to the crowd’s dismay and so they met his score with resounding boos.  I know I’ll be looking forward to seeing him perform again sometime soon.  He’s officially on the eventing radar map!

There were no boos, however, when Edward Gal took the gold for his ride with Totilas.  Their partnership, superior talent and skill, and out of this world movement seem like they’re from another planet (and seem unbeatable).  To sweeten the deal Edward (who spoke after his win) came across every bit as thoughtful, kind, and down-to-earth as everyone says.  Maybe we can get him into eventing?  He’d fit right in.

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