The Team for Hong Kong: Steffen Peters and Ravel, Debbie McDonald and Brentina, Courtney King-Dye and Mythilus.
The weekend’s good news:
~ The weather was way better.
~ The horses and riders were more energized, the tests were cleaner overall.
~ The show was a sell-out, the tents were full, the bleachers were full, and the crowd was vocal and enthusiastic.
From the photographers’ point of view, the bad news: an ever-expanding press corps was expected to cover the event from ever-shrinking vantage points. There were several good shooting positions that started out as “legal”, but one by one they were roped off to keep us pesky photographers from accessing them. One of our prime locations, beside the judge’s box at “H”, with the afternoon sun behind us, was turned into a standing-room-only area for the overflow crowd on Sunday morning… so just at the time when the most photographers would be present, we had the least operating room. It sure did leave me scratching my head, and with the impression that management felt like the press was a burden, rather than an asset.
We did, however, have water, power, and internet access in the press tent, and no one was suffering from heatstroke this week.
I’ve posted a Highlights gallery of photos from Week 2. Enjoy!
But the weekend was about dressage and good horses, and we definitely had that!
Brentina looked fabulous. Debbie mentioned during the press conference that they’ve worked hard on Brentina’s nutritional program so the mare could lose her belly fat. When she said that, I think every reporter in the press tent nodded in empathy and thought, right there with you, girlfriend. Debbie and Brentina turned in a stellar freestyle on Sunday that brought down the house.
Ravel… Lovely. Among other things, I’m always impressed by Steffen’s ability to get beautiful, flowing half-passes from his horses, and Ravel’s are no exception. And that’s on top of everything else that they do well!
Idocus and Mythilus: Courtney has two great equine partners, one a seasoned campaigner, the other an ascending star. Both of them had super trips this weekend, guided and enhanced by Courtney’s elegance as a rider.
Kingston: It warms my heart to see this stallion back at the top of his game. He’s such a boy, such a character, never one to keep his opinion to himself, but he and Leslie Morse had a clean and slammin’ freestyle on Sunday.
Leslie’s reaction to Kingston’s freestyle
And competitors, be sure to check out your official photos from the Selection Trials by Amy McCool!