Tuesday, October 12, 2010

World Equestrian Games online

I really want to thank USEF and:
 
http://www.usefnetwork.com/WEG2010/ 
 for allowing anyone and everyone in the USA to watch all of the driving (and other disciplines) free online. 
 
The expert, live commentary was by the driving FEI  judge from Belgium, Mark Wentein who kept a continual dialog on the finer points of dressage, strategy in marathon, and skill in the cones.  Each of the dressage test's 20 movements explained, camera close-ups of rein handling, facial expressions, and hearing drivers speak to their horses.....simply exhilarating!  Can't get that anywhere but online.  I didn't feel bad about not attending for the better spot listening and watching. 

The American team was at their peak and a thrill to watch.  I spent over 4 hours watching each and every competitor go through each of the eight wonderful hazards with Mark's commentary.  At the end, I was exhausted yet exhilarated, as if I had just completed the course myself!  Richard Nicoll, Susan Gilliland, and the countless others who worked so hard to make this happen in Kentucky should be proud of a job well done.  

 
Fred and I were able to see the record breaking score in Dressage put in by Australia's Boyd Exell.  A lovely thing of beauty and unity.  The Flying Dutchman, Ijsbrand Chardon and his team were smooth and fluid in the marathon to win that phase.  Chester Weber redeemed himself from his heartbreaking elimination at the last WEG, in the cones, to win this course clean and fast.  Overall, individually, the gold went to Boyd Exell, silver to Ijsbrand Chardon, and bronze to Tucker Johnson, in his farewell to FEI competition by retiring at this event.   I felt emotion when at the end of the last hazard, he stood, looked back and waved to all farewell.  No doubt he will continue in Coaching.  
What I watched from the top 10 drivers was a lesson in what is best about any kind of relationship with a horse.  It was the unity, communication and willingness that can take place between human and animal when all has been done to make it "all about the horse."  If the horse is not numero uno, one cannot have the relationship exhibited.  
One can pick apart any endeavor with a horse and find cruelty.  I feel one has to know what is possible with a horse; and, with the level of horsemanship at WEG, it may inspire folks to seek the way of the horse.  The hope is we get this at home with our own animals in our own chosen way.  
I learned a lot in my horse journey and saw much that was not good...but those things have a way of being short-lived and fall away leaving the best to continue onwards.  Yes, horses suffer and so do people.  A fact of life.  I respect anyone's work to bring to light pain and suffering so it can be thought about and hopefully corrected.  One person can only control what they themselves do.
Nancy, whose husband says: "There is no horsemanship if all you are concerned about is winning"- Fred Rojo