Friday, April 24, 2015

The Highs and Lows of the 2015 World Cup Dressage Freestyle

The high point, of course, was the incredible freestyle of Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro. Words cannot do justice to this ride. Even Axel Steiner, who had been talking through every ride, explaining the excellents and the not-so-excellent points, was virtually silent except for an occasional, "perfection" or "extraordinary". At the end of the ride he said, "I have seen many freestyles in my life, but I have never seen anything like this. I confess I have tears in my eyes..." As for me, I was sobbing through the whole ride. Hey, I'm sobbing just remembering. How I took these photos, I don't know.

From the beginning halt to the final salute, Valegro was perfect.

1st, of course, 94.196

Three horses had to follow that act with all of us still on our feet, applauding and crying, when Edward Gal rode in on Glock's Undercover... and did a fantastic job... but, of course, he was vying for second, which he achieved handily. I must say here that I was not a fan of his training methods during the Totilas days but either he has mellowed or I have. He seemed to have a wonderful rapport with this horse both during the practice session and this performance. It was a well deserved 84.

Glock's Undercover N.O.P.

2nd   84.696
Of course, the crowd went wild when Steffen rode in on Legolas. So wild that Steffen put a hand out in a damping down motion while Axel, who had been telling us to applaud whenever we saw something we liked out on the floor, cautioned us to be quiet with this horse as he is very hot and was obviously wired up. Of course, most of the crowd did not have Axel talking in their ears but Steffen's hand motion did quiet the crowd. Until the final salute when they went wild. As did Legolas. Steffen waved to the audience and kept "Legs" out there, I suppose to try to get him used to the crowd. Legs obviously just wanted out of there and took some mighty leaps. It was probably during that post-performance hysteria when Steffen's spur inadvertently nicked Legs very sensitive skin and raised the "tiny drop of blood" that eliminated them from the competition. But we did not know that he had been eliminated until after we returned home.


4th before elimination with 80.286, 3rd briefly until the last rider passed him

Unee BB

3rd  80.464
It was a thrilling exhibition and nothing to darken it until we learned after returning home the next day that Steffen had been eliminated. It brought back memories of the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky five years ago when we had looked forward to watching another super horse and rider from across the seas, only to have her eliminated before the ride when a judge noticed, in her first pass in front of the judge's stand, pink in the foam around the horse's mouth. It was determined to be blood and she never got to make the ride. Probably, the horse bit her tongue to raise the blood. FEI rules are clear: any blood anywhere is cause for elimination. Everyone supports that rule, but... once in awhile, it eliminates a horse because of an innocent accident. Those are the breaks of the game.

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