Okay, I’ll cut right to the chase. Yes, there was an after party. It was crowded, boisterous, giddy. The hand-made signs that had been waving from the stands of the Thomas and Mack were hanging on the walls, and there was a lot of champagne. Shannon was wearing a leather jacket that had the words, “Ride it Like You Stole It,” embroidered on the back. I stayed up later than I’ve been awake in a long time, and I’m guessing that there were certain people who partied on far later!
Flash back to why there was a party:
This was quality dressage. The top four rides were over 80%, and Ashley Holzer with Pop Art was just a fraction below that. And close! Steffen’s winning ride scored 84.95%, separated from Isabell by only 0.45%. I mean, really, we watch these performances looking for the details that separate the winners from the also-rans, but my heavens, this was just plain good stuff. Anky and Painted Black danced, with really elegant interpretation of their tango music, and had strong trot, piaffe and passage, but made mistakes in the tempi changes. Isabell and Satchmo’s ride, to music specially composed for her and performed by the Potsdam Symphony was beautiful, fluid and difficult, with some small mistakes. Steffen and Ravel rode to a combination of Cold Play’s Viva La Vida (I woke up with it in my head this morning!) and The Rolling Stones’ Sympathy For The Devil. The choreography was just as challenging as Satchmo’s and from where I watching, the piaffe and passage was just a bit more rhythmic and uphill.
The party really started the moment Steffen saluted the judges at the end of his ride. There were flags and banners everywhere. When the score was announced, the place was all big joyful noise. But here’s the cool part: you’d think that a horse faced with that sort of pandemonium might react by taking actions to avoid imminent doom. Not Ravel. He’s got his papa’s (Iron Spring Farm‘s late Contango) level headedness, and through the din he walked on a loose rein, watching the crowd with interest as Steffen waved. When the World Cup trophy was carried toward him (it had made its entry via a diabolical-looking Deus Ex Machina that lowered it from the ceiling amidst lasers and fireworks, and it’s a good thing that no horses were in the ring when that bit of Vegas pyrotechnics went on.), Ravel immediately searched it for treats.
So congratulations to Steffen, Shannon, Akiko, and the whole team involved with this wonderful horse. I have a feeling that what happened in Vegas is not going to stay in Vegas!