Between the excitement of yesterday’s grand prix special, where Mistral Hojris became the best British dressage horse of all time, and tomorrow’s freestyle where he will hopefully hammer the point home, we wanted to catch up with Laura Bechtolsheimer and “Alf” for a quick photoshoot.
“Laura, I know how busy are, but would you mind sparing five minutes to have your picture taken kissing Alf on the nose?” I asked. “Of course!” she said. “Kissing Alf’s nose is all part of my day anyway.”
Horse & Hound’s answer to David Bailey, Trevor Meeks, and I found Laura and Alf looking gorgeous in the Kentucky sunshine without a jot of effort. William Funnell, out supporting wife Pippa, stopped to congratulate the medallists. As did eventer Andrew Nicholson riding by. “You’d rather take their picture than mine any day wouldn’t you Trevor,” he said. “Well, funnily enough,” came the reply.
Dr Bechtolsheimer appeared, clapped his hands and said “come along, time to train” and off our models went. You don’t win medals for standing around looking pretty, afterall.
Prior to that I caught all the drama of the individual reining final, where America’s number one chance Shaun Flarida’s stirrup broke. In the style of Mark Todd and Bertie Blunt, they soldiered on, but it can’t be easy to slide with one brake pedal.
Even more excitingly, Britain’s Doug Allen scored a top 10 finish. This was an incredible feat on a borrowed horse he only got to know a few weeks ago.
I’m now kicking back to enjoy the reining freestyle, which isn’t part of the competition so I can enjoy it without working, woop! My laptop is being a joker and testing my patience by locking documents, so I’ll be glad to close it up tonight.
It’s more of a party than a demo. So far we’ve had people stood up in the stands doing the conga, and a brilliantly cheesy “Wind beneath your wings” freestyle. There’s a whole lot more artistic license in this than the grand prix dressage kur that takes place tomorrow night. These are properly themed and all about the entertainment value. I can’t see Edward or Steffen coming in dressed as an angel tomorrow…
Horses for courses, it’s all spectacular.
So many of you are checking in to Horse&hound.co.uk for your World Equestrian Games fix, which is fantastic, thank you! Just yesterday we had more than 35,000 viewers. I’m afraid I don’t know their names… Mum says she can explain six page views, and even granddad, who is in his mid-eighties and more computer savvy than I am, has been tuning in to our interweb. Many seem to be loving our picture gallery of the cross-country course our eventers will have to tackle on Saturday, so if you haven’t already seen the size of those fences be sure to check that out.