WEG blog: popcorn, language barriers, endurance and dressage

  • Question: How long does it take two hungry journalists at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) to eat a bag of popcorn?

    Answer: About three grand prix tests.

    Except that I don’t think what we just had was called popcorn. It was either kettle corn or caramel corn — I think we have a language barrier between US and UK English. Probably kettle because I asked for salt, although what we got was a kind of wonderful mix of salt and sweet. Yum.

    Into day three, I’m starting to feel like WEG is home. My boyfriend put his accreditation on before his trousers this morning, I’ve got a regular spot in the press room and I’m able to navigate parts of the vast Kentucky Horse Park without a map.

    After the intensity of covering yesterday’s endurance competition, today’s been more relaxed for me. The dressage has started, but my colleague Sarah Jenkins is reporting that and after filing a news story to the office, I’ve taken the opportunity to catch up on some work and let my brain chill out after finishing writing about endurance at 2am this morning.

    Don’t worry, I’m not slacking though. I’m writing this sitting in the stands watching the dressage — wireless internet, isn’t it amazing?

    I can’t help feeling rather sorry for dressage riders. You come all the way to WEG, for many involving putting a horse on a transatlantic flight, and many do just one dressage test. At least with eventing you get to have a go at the cross-country, even if you only get to fence four.

    Talking of cross-country, we’ve been getting tantalising glimpses of the course while moving about the Horse Park, although it’s not open for walking yet. We pass a big water complex daily between the media car park and the media village and it looks tough enough.

    The weather’s let us down today with a thin drizzle this afternoon replacing worse during parts of this morning. I’m just so glad it held off until today though — think of doing a 12 or 14 or 16hr endurance ride in the rain.

    The four British endurance riders who finished yesterday all did so in the dark, as did many others, and you have to admire their stamina and bravery, let alone that of the horses. And it’s not just about the riders; perhaps more than any other equestrian event, this is a team sport where outside assistance is all the rage. Crews form an integral part of the effort and are essential in getting the horses through the vetgates.

    It was fascinating to see that the horses are fed constantly throughout the day. We eventers don’t like to feed our horses too much before cross-country, but I guess it makes sense that if you’re going 100 miles, you need fuel.

    Fingers crossed, it looks like Britain’s dressage riders will be in bronze at the end of the first day — Sarah will give you an update later so come back for that — and by this time tomorrow, we might have secured our first WEG medal. Let’s hope Britain’s second two team members, Carl Hester and Laura Bechtolsheimer, are on top form.

    Log on later for an end of day dressage report, full report on the dressage at WEG in H&H out 7 October.

    Pictures from WEG

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