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.