Sunday, October 03, 2010

WEG and Lungeing

Three Horses on the Line

When I got home from church, the World Equestrian Games were being broadcast on national TV....NBC.  I was really torn because it's supposed to rain for the next three days and I'd wanted to do at least something with the Boys.

So it was lunge a horse, come in, watch a bit, go out, lunge a horse, come in, watch, lunge a horse, feed, come in to watch.  I'm just taking it slow bringing the Boys back from winter.  Today, ironically enough, Toby was the first one to come to me in the pasture, so I gave him a very short lungeing session.  As always, I am ever pleased to see him so sound at age 20.  He moves like a young horse.  However, I also know that had I continued to push him as an upper level dressage horse, he would not be sound.  I'm happy I quit when I did.

Tucker too looks fine on the line and I don't see any sign of his favoring any one leg or refusing to take a lead at the canter.  But the added burden of my weight and how he has to carry himself to carry me could make all the difference if his hocks are bothering him.  It is nice to see that he doesn't seem to be at all uncomfortable when he's on his own.

Chance may be just a LITTLE uneven on the right hind, the one he's had issues with before, but it may also be an optical illusion as he has socks of different length on his hind legs.  It certainly doesn't affect his canter on either lead, so whatever MAY be there isn't significant.  And, in the past I found that the more fit he got the better he went.  What a continue to like is that he is balanced almost identically on both leads and, for good or ill, he surely can canter in a slow rhythm......z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z....

Oh, do I have to wake up now?  Disappointed in the US Event team's turn of luck.  Mostly that Becky Holder withdrew Courageous Comet before the final phase. But her horse lost a shoe early on in yesterday's cross country.  When it happened, I was really worried that Comet might not be sound today, and sure enough, that's exactly what happened.  Been there, done that...but not at a World Championship, of course. Bad break, but as I said the other day--that's horses.

Comment on the dressage?? I will say it again. Of the medal horses, the one I would like to ride is Ravel. He is so elastic, soft, and smooth looking. Taking nothing away from Totilas or Mistral, but they just look too hard to ride to me--gaitwise especially.  While I can see why Totilas wins, I do have some reservations about the way he goes.  There are, interestingly enough a few flaws in his work, including some not so great tempi changes (Ravel's are gorgeous) and that extended trot which doesn't look too different than his regular trot.  Much is being discussed about this on various websites, so I won't go into the controversy.  But it just seems to me that if he would stretch out his frame he might get some more apparent length of stride from behind.

People have complained about the scoring for the musical freestyle as well, mostly because Fuego, the Spanish horse did not medal.  I managed to see a video of his ride and, although it was hard to hear the music in the version I saw, it was a lovely ride. But I do not think the technical difficulty matched the rides of the winning horses.  At that level, the artistic score is influenced by the technical difficulty of movements and how those movements are linked together. For example, Totilas when from a powerful extended canter into a totally collected canter pirouette in one stride, and Ravel performed both sets of tempi changes on a fairly steep serpentine. Transitions between gaits affect the score as well.  I think, in this case, technical merit outscored aritistry.  Sometimes what the crowd likes is not going to earn the winning score no matter how loud the crowd cheers.

Addendum:  I just watched Ravel's freestyle on NBC, so I got to see all of it really well. That test is by far the hardest, most technically difficult test of the top three--perhaps of the whole competition..  Amazing transitions and complexity, demanding and showing off Ravel's amazing suppleness.  Surely a few bobbles here an there, but when you talk about taking risks and showing a horse to his utmost, that is a classic.  WOW!! Talk about setting a challenge and meeting it.


  1. just catching up on my reading and glad to read that you were in the saddle!! WOOHOO!!

    The controversies of Dressage scoring and the WEG! (or oat any competition for that matter. I agree with you that of the top 3, Ravel seems like the most rideable. He seems smoothest and most correct. I was a bit surprised at the somewhat young age of some of the horses at that level, makes me wonder as to how long they will hold up if they were rushed into these upper level movements.

    I wont say any more because I really only have a good grasp of dressage basics and Grand Prix is waaaay beyond the basics :)

  2. Good to hear you got all the boys working today.

    I haven't seen the dressage yet, so I can't comment on it. I did catch the eventing and stadium jumping but none of the dressage tests. I don't know why they didn't broadcast the whole 3 day eventing. Or maybe they did and I missed it. I've always like Ravel and I'm looking forward to see if I got it on the taping I did of the events. I could only do the two hours or so for the eventing tonight. Seems my husband wants to watch some other Oh well, give and take.

  3. I quite agree with your assesment of WEG. I have always loved Ravel, he looks so relaxed and soft. His way of going is what I try to emulate in my riding.

    Totilas is an interesting horse. When he first came on the scene I didn't like him, but seeing him this year...I think he is maturing. He's quite young for a Grand Prix horse, I think as he ages he may just live up to his hype.

  4. Oh now I am going togo watch the Dressage freestyle.
    Totilas is impressive, but I find bizarre that his houlders/front end is so develop compared to his hind-end Boh? Perhaps I am too use of teh Quarter horses and their wide bum ;-)

    Dressage ought to adopt the Reining scoring, Anky was raving about it.
    Correct movement = 0
    Fault - 0.5 to -1.5
    Good + 0.5 to +1.5

    I hope dressage evolves in teh right direction ;-)

  5. "I really only have a good grasp of dressage basics and Grand Prix is waaaay beyond the basics :) "

    it may be beyond the basics, but if the basics aren't there, the grand prix is wrong as well.....

    Glad you got some horsey work done, Jean..