Things are gettin crazy up in here y’all.
Our focus on Friday was the Young Event Horse Championships and stallion show. The British format is kind of similar to our own as far as judging criteria, but the format is a bit different. The arena has a dressage court, show jumps, and XC jumps set up in it, and the horses do all 3 phases back to back. Dressage test, then straight over to showjumping, with XC jumps at the end of the showjump course. After that they strip tack and judge confirmation. Each horse is in and out in about 10 minutes.
Each horse gets scored for those sections, then they bring the top 10 back in together to w/t/c while one of the judges (in this case Ian Stark) gives them a score for Suitability. Fun little byline, I happened to be sitting next to Eliza Stoddart‘s grandparents, who were super sweet and adorable. I texted a video I took of one of Eliza’s young horses (the above Ramiro B) to her grandmother.
From there Ian picks the top 3 to ride, and the horse’s rider hops down, Ian gets a leg up, and off he goes for a quick w/t/c. They had Ian outfitted with a microphone so he could talk about what he was feeling with each horse, and what he was looking for. Basically he wants one that feels balanced, elastic in its body, rideable, and with a desire to go forward. Each of the horses he chose to ride was quite different from each other, so it was interesting to hear what he had to say about each. The one that was my original favorite ended up 2nd, so I was happy about that.
What struck me the most during all of this was how absolutely PACKED the crowd was. The bleachers were full and it was standing room only, many people deep, all around the perimeter of the arena. Having been to the US championships at Fair Hill, where there are maybe 20 people watching, it blew me away. The people seemed mostly quite educated too, the comments and murmurs I was hearing were spot on. It made me a bit sad, knowing how little people care about these classes in the US. It’s a big deal here.
During the lunch break they had a stallion show, and I fully expected the stands to empty out. Yeah no. MORE people filled in.
I particularly wanted to see former 5* stallion Leprince des Bois, and was not disappointed. For a 20yo stallion that jumped around Badminton, Pau, Burghley, and Luhmuhlen, and THEN went on to win at the Young Rider level, he looks freaking amazing. Good mover, good type, lots of blood. We might have to use him next season.
After that we wandered over to dressage warmup to catch some of that. We got over there as Lauren was warming up on Vermiculous, at which point the skies opened up and it was blowing a gale. I was frozen. Luckily it passed through quickly, and the sun came out for the last group. We watched Pippa and Izzy and Ludwig and Ollie and Tim warm up, which was interesting. You saw everything from lots of long and low stretchy trot to people running through their tests over and over. Watching warmup is definitely more fun to me than watching the actual test.
Despite all the shopping that we did on the first day, we still managed to do some damage again. Not nearly as much, but we went back and got some more stuff. The prices are so good, and there’s just so much. I grabbed Henry a shipping halter like I got for Presto (it was $18, how could I not???), Bobby bought a hunt bridle, and Michelle got a couple halters and some gifts for friends.
The total pile that is accumulating on the living room floor in our flat is getting out of control. We’ve left it all there because every time we walk in the room it feels like Christmas all over again.
We finally got our very English dinner last night too, fish and chips. And peas I guess, which I don’t eat. The mushy peas looked even more disgusting. But the fish and chips were AMAZING, especially with the curry sauce. Then we found an ice cream shop and tore that shit up too.
Rough life y’all. Today is cross country (I’m literally sitting by the Leaf Pit as I type this, waiting for the start) which should be AWESOME. The course is huge. So freaking big and gnarly.
I’m posting a lot more pics and videos on my Instagram stories if you want to follow along over there! I’ll be adding things as the day goes along.