Dressage Affaire was a beautiful show, as always, and designed to make everyone feel welcomed. From the coffee and cupcakes in the morning by the scoreboard, to the great competitor’s party on Saturday night (I heard it went on far later than we were able to keep our eyes open!) everyone seemed to have a wonderful time at Kim Keenan’s flagship show at Del Mar Showpark.
It was inspiring to see old hands turning in super rides (Ravel, Tip Top, Rafalca) as well as horses moving up the levels (U II, Flor De Selva, Farinelli), as well as numerous youngster strutting their stuff in the lower levels.
Axel did seminars during the Friday and Saturday lunch breaks, sponsored by Dressage Training On Line. On Friday, his focus was the requirements of second level, and Saturday, Prix St George. His rider on Saturday, Dr Mark Silverman, deserves a particularly hale “Hoo Rah”, having been volunteered for the job at the last minute. Not a big deal, you say? Mark says that he’s been so busy that he has only ridden a few times this year, and he insisted that the last time he rode through a Prix St George was back in 1984…. On Long Island…. I happened to have been at that show, photographing him , so please do not count on your fingers to reckon how long ago that was.
But the social highlight of the weekend was the housewarming party at Leatherdale Farms South. Doug and Louise Leatherdale and Sue Blinks graciously opened their home to a hoard of dressage riders, and treated us all to amazing food, wonderful wine, a very enthusiastic mariachi band, and tours of their beautiful facility. Residents of the 12 stall barn include grand prix veterans Robin Hood and Mark, who, when the music started, decided after their initial surprise, that freestyle night, apparently had come to their house. Mark was retired from competition in an emotional retirement ceremony on Sunday that had most of use dabbing our eyes. Thank you, Doug and Louise for sharing him with us, and thank you for a wonderful evening at your lovely farm.
All proofs from Dressage Affaire have now been posted. If you signed up at the show, you should have received your password via email by now: if you didn’t sign up at the show, please check the galleries to see if there is a gallery awaiting you. If you find your gallery, you can sign up on line: your complete gallery will be posted and your password will be emailed to your within 48 hours.
Meanwhile, enjoy the Highlights gallery: there were lots of beautiful horses, but there were also oodles of darling dogs, too….!