Well that was exciting. And emotional. Michael Jung’s even tearful about having clinched the individual gold medal. Who said the Germans were cold fish? Between William Fox-Pitt keeping it together to secure team gold and individual silver and Pippa Funnell proving that nine-year-old Redesigned was totally worth the gamble of selection, it’s a wonder that I’m not crying, too.
The showjumping was relatively straightforward and didn’t cause many cricket scores, which worked in our favour as it’s not like we had many fences in hand after cross-country day. But that sneaky gate between two oxers caught enough riders out, including the Americans.
On my first day at Kentucky horsepark, I saw a native gopher having a debate with a squirrel in somebody’s front yard (garden). That was my first ever gopher sighting. For the past two days, I’ve been the gopher. Yesterday, I donned snorkel and goggles to photograph the water jump for H&H’s Trevor Meeks. Today, my biggest responsibility has been providing Pippa [Roome] with warm snacks to keep her going in the sub-zero stands. (Fear not those who think I’m slacking, I have written a dressage report and news story for the mag in my spare time).
At yesterday’s water, I entertained myself between fences by playing back my pictures on the mini screen and zooming in on riders’ eyes popping out on stalks as they plunged down the enormous drop into the water.
Even Mary King had the permanent smile wiped from her face momentarily as Imperial Cavalier threw in an air-born leap and Mary had to lean so far back to stay in the plate that she was practically pushing his hindquarters back against gravity.
Andrew Nicholson, on the other hand, looked the picture of calm. His idea of “hailing a cab”, typically used to help keep the rider’s balance, looks more like he’s getting the waitress’s attention for the ticket (bill). He looked equally chilled out in this afternoon’s showjumping, despite Nereo not instilling confidence in all his supporters with his technique and penchant for seeing a long stride at big oxers.
We’ve got the “proper” showjumping to come here at WEG next week and I’m glad I had a day to be gopher and recuperate a little. I arrived with all the eagerness of a kid in a candy store (sweet shop) to be told by Trevor (who has done a fair few of these championships): “Marathon, not sprint, junior”. He was quite right, and by Friday my enthusiasm had driven me into a wall. Now, I’m ready for week two of WEG. Bring it on!