The first actual competition in the jumping part of the World Cup began at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 16... with more Las Vegas craziness. But for some reason, I have no photos from that evening. Maybe I was shell-shocked. I do know, thanks to the web, that few horses jumped a clear round, but two of our favorites did: Bertram Allen on Molly Malone plus Rich Fellers on the amazing 19-year-old Flexible. This was a speed class. As the program said, "The Speed Class is the class where everybody runs around jumping sizeable, twisting, tight turning jumps, trying to go fastest and leave all the fences up, while getting penalized four seconds for every knockdown." Molly Malone came out first with Flexible second, going into the second round on Friday night. I did take a zillion photos during Round 2. So now we proceed to the preliminaries of Jumping Final II.
Ruth and I came early to watch the jumps being set up and riders pacing distances between jumps. Here's the view from our seats high in the "nose bleed" section, with the arena being leveled. That was the last time it was quiet in the Thomas & Mack.
I marveled that the World Cup Trophy was set up within the jump area. I thought that rather dangerous. As it turned out, no one ran into it, or jumped it, and the dressage horses had much more trouble with their trophy set just outside their arena with a spotlight on it. Several of them shied.
Before every competition we all stood for our National Anthem while this same little horse kept asking his rider why they could not get out of the arena and away from all those rotating lights and weird shadows and noise (the singing of the anthem, by a different Las Vegas based semi-famous group or person each competition, was distorted by how loud the sound system made it.)
And then the pyrotechnics began. Most of the audience was, of course, a generation or two younger than Ruth and I and apparently loved the hoopla, noise and lights.
I liked the cirque de soleil acts, sometimes easier to see in the overhead monitor.
Finally, the competition began... in a separate blog post. If it were not for the dates on my photos on the camera, I would have no idea what happened when. It was all a bit overwhelming.