Friday, October 01, 2010

Then Came the Rain

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.  


  1. We've been getting drowned up here too. Tomorrow should be better though.

    So far I've only been able to catch the reining part of the WEG on TV. I think there is more to come on Sunday though.

    You're right there is a certain amount of luck to go along with training and working to get somewhere.

  2. Shawn is a Champion in every sense. My yard reining-trainer commented that Shawn had nothing to prove. He has won everything more than once .. He is the top man.
    I asked Jimmy what was the difference with the others trainers? He replied that Shawn always put the hips, shoulders, legs of the horse in the right place, then asked for his face. It kinds of reminds of the comments of another Reiner, who said that Shawn was all about interpretation of the horse, with little interventions. Jimmy added that the Italian Reiners were too mechanical.
    Very interesing point of view. I am starting to log on Jimmy training's techniques on my blog, because it is quite different from anything else, I have seen.

  3. Glad the weather is cooling off some for you. Although warm rain is better than cold rain :)

    I really appreciate that the rules are there in dressage to protect the horse, and that they're enforced. And Shawn Flarida sounds like a true professional :) I guess that's horses, some days just don't work out!

  4. the broken stirrup thing happened to mark todd one year at a 4* - he got round - exceptionally good horsemen to be able to do that...

    on rollkur - some of the pics from warm up are not nice..