And Lots Of It
Well, so far autumn is making up for summer's lack as far as rain goes here in my part of New Jersey. Tropical storms indeed, as yesterday was wet, warm, and miserable. Today, at least it has cooled off.
I've been following the WEG scores and results on the Internet. I cannot even imagine the disappointment of some riders when misfortune interfered with their chances for medals. The US Endurance Team suffered one problem after another, including one lame horse, a lost shoe and later withdrawal and one horse finishing and then having a metabolic crisis. All common in such a high intensity sport, from what I've read, but what I really appreciate is how quickly horses are pulled from competition by either their riders or the judges at the least sign of a problem
Dressage seems to be catching on with one German horse pulled before the competition for "blood" on his tongue. There is, of course, a bit of controversy about how that might have happened--with accusations of rolkur--but once again quick action by the judging committee made all the difference. It has to be hard for any rider who has trained and worked to reach a prestigious competition like the WEG to lose even the chance to compete, but once again, the horses must come first.
And then there was Shawn Flarida, the US team's leading rider with one gold medal for the team victory in reining, in his ride for the individual title. During his championship run, his stirrup leather broke, throwing him off balance. Apparently he touched the saddle with his free hand, incurring an automatic 5 point penalty from all three judges. What's remarkable to me is that he still finished the ride to score a 207--bottom of the class--without being eliminated. If you've ever watched reining, that's pretty remarkable in itself. Even with two stirrups riding a spinning, sliding, galloping horse accurately at speed is impressive. If he had gone off course at any point, he would have earned no score at all, so to finish and still earn 207 (The winning ride was a 228) is quite a feat.
Afterward, when he was interviewed, he simply said, "It was just bad luck." He also noted that there would always be another chance.
Somehow, good horsemen always know it's often a matter of luck as well as training and hard work.
Pretty amazing when it all goes well when you think about it.