Anna Ross: Thrills, spills and stable cams *H&H VIP*

  • What a Europeans — thrills and spills until the end. The Dutch up-ended the form book, the British were brilliant and the German spectators were not terribly dignified in defeat at their historic happy hunting ground.

    I’ve broken the land speed record in the grand prix a couple of times myself at Aachen and can confirm that it’s a difficult place to ride. The movement of masses of people is distracting to horses and can create tension before the tests as the horses move arenas. Some horses were affected by this and didn’t show their best.

    It will be a different atmosphere in Rio where the layout keeps the public and the horses separate, so the results may be turned upside down.

    It was sad to see Totilas’ career end with him being unsound. He caught the imagination of the dressage public in a way no other horse has, set new standards and marked the start of a new era for dressage. No one wanted it to end like that.

    At the moment the onus is on one judge at C to make those split-second decisions regarding welfare issues. As the judges all have differing viewpoints, would there be any merit in a warning light system between judges’ boxes allowing the individual judges to raise concerns?

    Valegro and Charlotte showed fantastic work, but a rare miscommunication in the one-time changes meant the chasing group got closer than normal, which made for exciting sport. Desperados was fantastic in the kür; who knows what might have happened if Undercover hadn’t bitten his lip in the special — and that was without the much-publicised Toto/Valegro showdown.

    Next year I’m sure Fiona and Patrick Kittel’s lovely mares will be up in the medal hunt.

    I was delighted to see Beatrice Ferrer Salat have such success having battled soundness issues with her horse. I have got to know her as my dog, Benjy, hates her lurcher and can detect it across any lorry park like a heat-seeking missile. At least next time I can say congratulations as we remove Benjy’s teeth from her dog’s backside!

    A clearer structure?

    The new British Dressage (BD) competition structure will be implemented as of 1 December. Recently I heard a conversation between two riders at their first affiliated competition, lamenting how complicated they found the current system. They decided to rely on whether they received a “rude letter” after the show to see if they were in the right section or not.

    I wonder if newcomers will find the new system more or less complicated than the current one.

    Stable adventures

    If any further evidence was needed as to whether dressage riders were boring or not, one need look no further than my iPhone. I have been trying out different types of “stable cams” to help keep an eye on Cassie (Die Callas). My evenings have been fun filled, observing her “adventures”, highlights being her eating hay, sleeping and rolling. However, I don’t recommend googling “web cam” and “horse” as I did in my product research!

    Ref: Horse & Hound; 17 September 2015