I’ve got lots to write about our stay in Wiesbaden, but today I just have to share some of the photos from the Grand Prix Freestyle.
The weather has been better than expected here all week…. Until about an hour before the Grand Prix Freestyle started. It wasn’t just the forecast showers, unless you interpret “shower” as “dump buckets of water from the sky”.
When we arrived at the arena, just about the time that the rain started, the covered grandstand was already full, and there were spectators lining the rest of the ring several deep, all sporting rain gear or umbrellas. At the moment, they were watching an endless award presentation for the vaulting competition. Teams of kids were standing in formation in the pouring rain – in their spandex competition attire. Freezing, I’m sure! I turned to Axel, and his brother Uwe, who had joined us for this show, and said about the crowd, “I’m sure they’ll leave after the awards.”
They both shook their heads. They grew up in Wiesbaden, and they know this crowd. “They’re not going anywhere,” I was told. I was dubious. There was a bite to the damp breeze and I wondered if I was wearing enough layers.
The Brothers Steiner were right.
Those fans stayed not just until after the last musical ride, but but they stayed for the awards, too – at midnight, in rain that simply never let up. I am utterly in awe of them. They cheered for everyone, enthusiastically, before and after every single ride.
I decided if these riders were crazy enough to ride in this weather, and these fans were crazy enough to watch them, then I would be crazy enough to photograph it all. Fortunately the ringside cafe was bedecked with huge Henkel awnings, but even so, everything was really damp by the end…. It is nights like this when I remember why I spent a small fortune on my Canon Mark IV: weather sealing! Not to mention its amazing ability to see in the dark.
So hear you go!
Update: the rain never let up last night, and by this morning the warm up footing had washed out. So the last day of dressage competition at Wiesbaden was cancelled.