From Inside The Ropes

Day 6 of my Journey of the Spirit to the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event.

Time to be positive. Originally, I planned to indulge in a rant on the state of American riding, cross-country and otherwise. However, after reading Donna Freedman’s post on not cluttering up email inboxes, I realize any complaints would only add only to the negative energy of the universe. Instead, three happy memories of fence judging:

The most brilliant piece of riding I ever saw was at a simple oxer coming downhill from the Hollow, about where the 14AB The DuBarry Double Corners where were this year. Karen O’Connor came screaming down the hill at nice ground-covering gallop. Before the fence she gathered her horse just enough for him to power over happily in stride. She stayed in perfect balance, holding but not tugging the horse’s face, and pushing his hindquarters up underneath. Yeah that. That’s how I want to ride.

I wrote this about Rome, but it could be Lexington:

Much of Saturday resembled a big event anywhere: open green spaces, beautiful horses, well-built fences, lovely footing. You start off thrilled to be there and unable to believe your luck. You enjoy watching this big-name horse or that big-time rider. Mark Todd really is tall and angular, yet you’d give significant portions of your anatomy to ride the way he does. After about 50 horses you start to hope the end is in sight. It could be equine paradise, but you are cold, wet and tired of standing on your feet. After about 75 horses, you realize it is almost over and do not want to see it end.

Taken from “Guidice For A Giorno (Judge For A Day)”, USCTA News, May/June 1999.

The art of fence judging. Rules change, but the need for judgement, patience, and leadership remains. Required for all fence judges and competitors – who ought to be fence judges anyway. Originally raved about in “Footnotes”, USCTA News, Issue Five, 2001. [Allen 1994]

Leader after dressage: PARKLANE HAWK & William Fox-Pitt
Lanterne Rouge: TULLIBARDS HAWKWIND & Jordan Linstedt

LINKS to get you started: [There’s way more out there]
Rolex K3DE
RLX: real-time scoreboard.
Eventing Nation
EN: Four-Star Rookies
EN: Random Rolex Thursday Notes, Photos and Videos
EN: The Rolex XC Photos
The Chronicle of the Horse, Eventing
COH: James C. Wofford Walks The Rolex Kentucky Cross-Country Course (This year, I checked.)
Horse Junkies United
HJU: costume commentary on the jog
HJU: Top 10 after Cross-Country at Rolex 2012
[My system doesn’t do videos, so you’re on your own there. Many available.]

What is your favorite officiating memory?

2 thoughts on “From Inside The Ropes

  1. Hey, how about some love for HorseChannel? 😉 That Jordan girl did have a slow round, but she jumped clear!! As did Sal Dali, yesterday’s 85 in dressage and lanterne rouge (love that by the way), which is more than could be said for a lot of multi-time Olympians who struggled greatly with the course. All in all it was a SAFE day, but an incredibly difficult course, which I think is pretty cool.

  2. I was fence judging at Essex a million years ago when there were still events at the USET headquarters in Gladstone and group of chit chatty people were meandering toward my fence in the galloping lane. Horse was coming, so I blew the whistle. The didn’t shift. Blew it again. Still nothing. Started waving at them, when the area steward stepped up behind me and said, “So, you don’t know Cap’t Mark, do you?” Rumor has it the dude is a bit of a prick, but he does know enough to get out of the way of a galloping horse in time. Just not one to be told when.

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