Dressage in General:
- Courtney King's bonk on the head back in March (or maybe it was February?) that really served as a bonk on the head for the rest of the community. I guess it's all fun and games until somebody gets hurt? But honestly, I am very glad she was okay in the end, and I suppose that if this is what it takes to show I'm-too-good-for-a-helmet stars that they, in fact, are not too good for a helmet, then so be it. I am very happy to see this change. Honestly, I used to think I would "graduate" from a helmet once I became a good, upper-level rider, because the "cool kids" didn't wear helmets, so I certianly shouldn't. I, and I'm sure many more at my level, didn't know any better. Lead by example, right?
- Steffen Peter's "rising up, straight to the top" at the WEG. First time an American has ever medaled at a WEG game in dressage, I believe. And he most certainly deserved it for not getting that medal due to cranking his horse's head in and around and about. It's like a horsey Rocky.
- The Genetic Jewels of Totilas and siblings Bussard and Uusminka. Brentina was bred twice to Totilas this year with frozen semen followed by an embryo transfer (Brentina's owners do not want to risk her going into foal because of a genetic history of death during foaling and a previous colic surgery, understandably) but both of these attempts failed when the embryo would not take. Is this super cross meant to be? Would the baby be doubly spectacular or unfortunately mediocre? A cross between two "superhorses" will be something to behold. Also, Totilas' full siblings, the 5yo stallion Bussard and the 10yo mare Uusminka, could have the makings of greatness in them as well. Seeing the extreme success of Totilas, will his full siblings be just as great? What about Totilas' babies? At this rate, will we see Pegasus pop out of a mare in the near future? If so, I think I might steal him ;)
- Juan Manuel Muñoz and Fuego XII's rockin' (and relaxed) ride at the WEG, even with the understandable rear at the end once the audience roared their approval. Firstly, and I've always found this odd, this was practically a first for a Spanish breed to be ridden at the WEG. Definitely stood out from the usual sea of warmbloods. I've always thought Baroque breeds did dressage far prettier than most warmbloods (though Swedes can be more baroque-y than the typical warmblood, as they are a far older warmblood breed)and with the uphill build and killer hind end they are usually quite the naturals, and Fuego was just so fluid and free and expressive and unrestricted that he made some of these other riders (and I hate to say this, but I did not see this amount of freedom in Edward Gal's and Totilas' ride, the horse just seemed quite restricted at times). Plus the lack of slobbering, dripping, excess foam in the horse's mouth and the loose, relaxed reins just screamed good, relaxed riding to me. So it was shocker to me that he didn't do better than he perhaps should have, and this in turn made me wonder if there was any bias in the scoring? Well, anytime you have a human scorer, bias is a given. We are all human, right? Plus, imagine the uproar against FEI judges if the flawless Edward Gal and Totilas didn't win. Still, I was happy to see such a wonderful pair get such good audience reviews at the WEG. They were a pleasure to watch.
- Anky's fall from grace was relatively quiet, even with the unprofessional I'm-telling-on-you lawsuits and online outcries against people saying icky, mean things about her! But nonetheless, it is kind of significant. The torch, though still in Dutch turf (unless the lucky fella who gets to ride Totilas in Germany has equal success as Gal) has been passed. Van Grunsven is now part of the reining crowd. I kind of feel bad for the horses. But one thing is for sure: the Americans will still be king of the reining ring for some time. We kind of created the sport. Kind of :)
Stay tuned for Greta's big top 5 tomorrow!
BTW Greta was a star on the longeline today. Just a short little trip since it was pouring rain and a cold front was coming and everyone was left inside, so she could get out and stretch her legs, and she was ace. Now she is snuggly tucked up with her fleece cooler and blanket over that, and apples and foodles and hay and her besties on either side of her, Mia and Belle and Choco across the way. And tonight they'll all be curled up waiting to see what Santa brings them tomorrow (like a big bag of peppermints, apples, and carrots. Nothing unusual really, but Greta and Choco won't mind.) Have a merry one, y'all.