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Friday, April 19, 2013

2010 World Equestrian Games (WEG) - Part 2 - Behind The Scenes!

I apologize for the long delay in posting the second half of my WEG discussion. I finally managed to get into Photoshop at home and find some more pictures. Doing this has definitely gotten me psyched up for my Rolex trip, needless to say!

This table was the second jump by which I stationed myself on WEG Cross Country day, after trying - and failing - to get close enough to anything at the Head of the Lake water complex. I think people staked out spots there at about 6:00 AM (no doubt it will be the same for Rolex).
Anyway, once I got the hang of when to hit the shutter button on the iPhone, I actually managed to get some fun pictures.
You can baaaaarely see the simply enormous ditch before this fence  - it was wide AND deep!
As I mentioned in my previous post, one of my favorite things is how excited the horses are to be on course. I never get tired of watching them gallop by!
A lot doesn't go smoothly on x-country courses. Here's someone I caught sadly meeting the end of their competition at a ditch (the rider may have actually fallen in it, I don't recall):
You can see by the sky what a gorgeous day it was for WEG XC. What a blessing for participants and spectators alike! (I will be packing my raincoat and Wellies for my Rolex trip, though, as I will be out on course even if I am slogging around in muck.)
Unfortunately, the next day dawned cold and rainy. I was extremely grateful I'd thrown my raincoat in the car at the last minute or I would have been truly doomed. As it was, I hadn't thought to bring a down vest so I piled on literally every top I'd brought with me. I was also glad I had my paddock boots since they kept my feet pretty warm. I would have been dying in the sneakers I'd worn the day before.
 The stadium jumps were gorgeous, of course...

and the winners were deserving and proud. Unlike most of the spectators, I stuck around for the medal ceremony:
Afterwards I got to thinking about the warm-up ring. I had left my assigned seat and wandered around the stadium a bit, and caught a glimpse of it. The riders were going back in that direction after the ceremony. I wondered if maybe, just maybe, I could go over there... I figured it would be guarded and I'd never get near but I had to try. Guess what - no guards. Here's who I spotted first:
Why, I do believe it's none other than New Zealand's Mark Todd, one of the Eventers Emeritus at these games! Demonstrating good horseman's behavior, his main concern was getting blankets on his tired and patient mount. He was oblivious to me snapping photos and I dared not to even say, "Congratulations." (NZ finished third)

Here is the second-place Canadian team, doing a group photo with their coach David O'Connor. It was weird seeing one of the best American riders ever a) not riding and b) coaching somebody else. No worry: he is now the new American coach, back where he belongs.
And last but not least, I was truly thrilled to lurk not 12' feet away from the champion British team, who were doing a TV interview with a reporter! I actually captured some of this conversation on video, too, but due to technical ineptitude I afraid I don't have it for you. After a couple minutes I was shooed away from the scene by a volunteer, but it was very cool.
Yes, even though the goofy (undoubtedly custom-made and extremely expensive) British hunt cap William Fox-Pitt is wearing adds a few inches, William Fox-Pitt is extremely, and I mean EXTREMELY tall. Very pleasant and polite, too. His height only adds to my awe of his eventing accomplishments, because imagine the potential for lawn-darting when you're so far above the horse's back.

I made one last trip through the shopping area on my way out of the Games, stopping to admire these bracelets. Only slightly out of my price range, LOL.
After another very long walk, I arrived tired and happy back out front of the KHP where my friend would pick me up. I'll be seeing this sign again soon, though, and I can't wait!

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