September 3 and 4   Leave a comment

September 3

Cross country day dawned grey, windy and cold, but it was predicted to turn warm…which was exactly what happened, amazingly enough.

We began by getting hot chocolate and huddling for a while in our stadium seats, until a few competitors had made their ways through. Our overall strategy was to walk the course from back to front, thereby avoiding the scrum. I have no way to gauge whether that strategy succeeded, but I can say that the trickier fences, or the ones which were part of a combination or complex of fences were crowded three or four people deep at the observation points. However, if you waited a bit, the people at the front would move off, and gradually it would be your turn to see the fence from the best vantage point.

Cottesmore Leap fence: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0P_EjuuNFo

Capability’s Cutting (blind jump into a sunken road and up the opposite bank) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jj5hCH6eCWc

The Waterloo Logs  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWaE9nrCsqc

landing moment - Pardubice fence

All this takes time, however, and we didn’t make it back to see fences 3-1 negotiated; we saw the final two competitors get through the Leaf Pit, one of the trickier things on the course, and then all was done. So our strategy probably would have worked if we’d had the discipline to tear ourselves away from

sailing over the Winner's Avenue fence

each jump after seeing one or two contestants negotiate it, but we did not!

My general take-away feeling from watching the competition was that though the fences looked nauseatingly enormous to us on the course walk, in reality the horses at this level and at this competition made them look like nothing, they

well away - Winner's Avenue

were just sailing over the fences with ease the vast majority of the time.

Now it is September 4th and we have seen the entire competition – William Fox-Pitt won it by quite a margin, and with style. He, unlike most of the other competitors, seems to have installed a special button on his horse that says, “clear the show jumping fences by at least a foot extra, and touch nothing.”

I am going to beg off on the details right now, as I seem to have gotten a case of food poisoning from last night’s dinner, and I’m exhausted dealing with that and packing for travel tomorrow. This last item is a real challenge, due to the already-bloated state of my suitcase and the new items that I now need to fit in there. I think I’m actually going to have to throw a few things away – jettison would be the correct term.

Tomorrow, or soon anyway, I will post videos and photos from both days, I promise!!! But now I need to take care of business. Tomorrow back to London for one evening and night, and the next morning, to Heathrow for the long journey home.

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Posted September 4, 2011 by Evelyn in Uncategorized

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