Now..for something completely different!


Today I went to the Net Jets CSI 4* Grand Prix at the Derby Field  in the showground that usually hosts dressage.  CSI stands for Concours de Saut International. And the prize money was…….. $205,000.!Well that amount is never seen in dressage!  I recently learned that the show jumper Hickstead ridden by Canadian Olympian Eric Lamaze had winnings of $3.7 million before his death in 2011. Valegro, the most famous dressage horse in recent times, won Olympic gold medals in two Olympics with his rider Charlotte Dujardin but I have no doubt that his prize winnings would be a pittance in comparison to Hickstead’s. But I digress…

It has been about four decades since I was jumping horses and I never approached anything this size. The jumps looked huge to me!


It was not an easy course either with even Olympians not getting clear rounds. I could sympathize with these horses and riders.There were some quick turns and combinations that asked some very tough questions.


At the fences there were workers who would press down the divets, the horses created with their hooves, so the footing would be good for the next horse.


My husband was also watching and he said: “It looks easy but I know it’s not.” He’s right sometimes it does look easy.


But here is the muscle and the effort that goes into it. Look at this horse and rider. ( They cleared the fence easily!)



In the photo above the rider is preparing the horse for the next fence. The horse has his head raised because that is the only way he can see in front of him. Horses’ eyes  can see almost 360 degrees but not what is directly in front of them unless they raise their heads. This horse is head up and ready for the next fence.

Two years ago I interviewed Canadian show jumping icon and multiple Olympian Ian Millar. He told me the two most important qualities in a jumper were the horse’s ability to be brave and to go fast.  That was the other thing that I noticed today. Between fences these horses were fast!


Just before the break I saw the ringmaster arriving for work. He is an important part of the awards ceremony.


VIP guests could sit in the Pavillion and have some lunch while watching the jumping.


The Winter Equestrian Festival attracts the best riders and horses in the show jumping world. It is terrific entertainment.



11 responses to “Now..for something completely different!”

  1. Author Interview – Marc Watson – “Death Dresses Poorly” (Dark Comedy/Urban Fantasy) | toofulltowrite (I've started so I'll finish) Avatar

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    Liked by 1 person

  2. Avery Avatar

    Man. Like a kid in a candy store. One day I have to go down there!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      You should. It is an extravaganza of horses and riders.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. melroseequestrianservices Avatar

    I liked this mate, I felt as though I was there. And I knew horses couldn’t see directly in front of them, but I didn’t know thats what makes them raise their head (as silly as that sentence sounds) that explains why at times, Moo raises his head in dressage. He just wants to see stuff maybe!
    I went to a Grand Prix Showjumping event in Australia a fair few years back. I walked the course and it was incredible how huge these fences were. Meanwhile Moo and I are off to jump 70cm (hopeful) on Saturday. I’ll do the other 1m another day. This stuff is awesome.
    Mel x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      I’m so glad you liked this post because I thought of you when i was putting it together. And the eyesight thing is interesting in dressage because in the dressage flexion they do not see right in front of them so they have to hand over to the rider. Some horses find that difficult and also it is why when they are spooked by something they bring their heads up. Biasini pops his head up with his ears pricked if he is spooked by something.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. melroseequestrianservices Avatar

        Aw that’s sweet of you Anne x it’s nice to be thought of x
        I guess I need to get Moo to trust me a little more, I can work on that, and I respect guard independence that he doesn’t just hand over his safety easily 💕 this would explain why he bobs up and down when we are nearing horses that are warming up 🦄

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Subbashini Meenakshi Sundaram Avatar

    Beautiful event , I felt nice while reading it. Above all you are an excellent photographer ma’am, how nicely you captured the actions of horses.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      Thank you . I appreciate your comment and I am delighted to know you enjoyed the photos of these wonderful horses.


  5. Integrity Training Avatar

    Great photos!!! You are so lucky to be in Florida with all the horse events! Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Debra Avatar

    What an exciting heart pounding event, I was there the previous eve. It pains me but also makes me proud to know an amazing mare who also competed at this level. I am honored and thankful to spend my days with her – “Camilla “

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      Wow! Camilla! that is so cool! those jumpers are amazing . My Canadian coach Belinda Trussell was there today and she said it makes her nervous to watch. She’s a two time Olympian in dressage but she said she gets nervous for the horses and riders with those big jumps, tight turns and close combinations.


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