It was the worst of times, and then it was the best of times.
The class started with two heartbreaks, over first a meltdown (Rafalca was anxious about something at “H”), and then a ring-out (Kingston just wasn’t right today), and ended with giddy celebration.
Both Isabell with Satchmo and Anky with Painted Black had mistakes. Isabell insisted it was all the fault of the photographers, who were simply doing what photographers do for a living. Apparently there aren’t any photographers covering dressage in Europe. (Where’s the eye roll icon when you need it?) To be fair, there were a lot of shooters, and because the floor of the Thomas & Mack is so small that the dressage arena is actually a foot shorter than regulation length, the photo “pit” is within a few meters of the ring rail. The folks in the pit were pros, and they shot Isabel just about exactly as they shot every other competitor, so it probably didn’t warrant being growled at by a rider in the middle of her test.
But Steffen and Ravel laid down a test just like the one I saw a few weeks ago at the Dressage Affaire and passaged right through the door that Anky and Isabell left open. And he didn’t yell at the photographers. I was nearly in tears at the end, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. I even saw Steffen dab at his eyes during the awards. A few moments later I ran into Shannon Peters, who said that so many congratulatory messages were coming in that she thought her phone might explode. But in a good way!
Fashion note: I suggested that Jeanette Haazen’s background music should be “Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes”. She’s got bling everywhere, from a pavee browband to crystals lining her boot tops, collar and points, and dotting her saddlepad. But it’s done so well that I didn’t even notice it all until I was working on pictures. I thought it was just her great smile that made her sparkle!