Competition in the Pandemic

Yesterday I went to the Caledon Dressage show held at Angelstone. This is the first National level dressage show to be held in Southern Ontario during the Pandemic . My coach Belinda Trussell and her assistant trainer Lynsey Rowan were competing. I already knew there were extensive safety precautions and restrictions due to Covid. Each competitor was limited to two “essential persons” who could come with them. I was able to apply in my own right as a photographer. I had filled in a form and submitted it online. I also submitted a liability waiver online.

When I arrived at the show I saw there was a check in desk. Here I was identified as being on the list of essential persons. If I had not been on that list I would not have been permitted to enter. I was given a wrist band so that the stewards would know I was officially admitted. I knew where Belinda and the Oakcrest Farm team were stabled. I made my way directly to their stabling area. There were strict rules about no moving from one stabling area to another so there could be no socializing. Also there were porta toilets at the ends of each row of stalls so there would not be any lining up or cross contamination. Masks were mandatory unless mounted on a horse. The show organizer had made every possible effort to ensure the safety of everyone in this difficult Covid situation. And everyone I saw was abiding by the rules!

There were two rings; the main ring and the Kubota ring. Belinda was showing first in the Kubota ring. The judge and scribe were in two socially distanced booths. The judge was giving the scribe the scores for the movements and her comments via the Cee Coach microphone system and the scribe would record it on a tablet with the test sheet loaded. The scores were ready and posted within minutes and the test sheets would be emailed to the competitors. This eliminated any danger of spreading the virus through paper tests or too close proximity of judge and scribe.

First up was Belinda on Bella Venezia. Once they had warmed up groom Alexis Bradbury gave Bella a little treat and a final check and they went into the ring

Trot half pass.
Bella’s very expressive trot.
In the extended walk Bella stretches her head down in a relaxed walk .Belinda and Bella won the class with a 72.8

After a short break Belinda rode Feng de Lys.

Feng canters past the judge.
At the end of the test Belinda was very happy with how Feng had performed for her . They won the class with a top score of 77.5

Shortly after Belinda’s ride on Feng Lynsey Rowan was riding the Intermediare 1 in the main arena. I hurried over to see her. Here she is just about to enter the ring.

Lynsey has saluted the judge and she and Carlucci are ready to start their test.
The extended trot is the first movement.
Half pass to the left.
Lynsey and Carlucci salute the judge at the end of the test. They won the class with a super score of 74.7

So Team Oakcrest swept all their classes. With exceptional scores! How did this happen? Attention to detail. Belinda is a rider who pays attention to every tiny detail of the ride. A corner is not just a corner, it is the place where the rider must pay attention to every aspect of how the horse is going. The corner is where you prepare for the next movement. Lynsey, who has trained with Belinda for several years, rides the same way. Lynsey, as assistant trainer, usually rides the youngsters but now Carlucci’s owner, Barb Sinclair, has given Lynsey the opportunity to ride and compete on an advanced horse. Personally I am delighted to see this as I think Lynsey deserves it. I am very proud of both riders. Covid cannot get these girls down!

I will be putting up a second post about how Belinda, Lynsey and Alexis felt about showing during Covid.

26 Comments Add yours

  1. Anne Sandler says:

    Beautiful horses, images and narrative. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      You are most welcome.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is what I expected, sitting here I enjoyed something good happened in another part of world happily only through this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes! It gave me hope and I wish the same for you!

      Like

  3. kunstkitchen says:

    Thank you for these beautiful photos of the competition. I also appreciate The story about how careful this was carefully arranged.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      It was really fun to watch and I appreciated how much work had gone into making it safe for everyone. Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. kunstkitchen says:

        Always a great pleasure to see your work.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. David says:

    It does make for a very different experience. When my daughters rode at Saratoga in mid-June, the restrictions were quite significant. A rider was allowed a three person support crew – trainer, two grooms or two grooms, one horse tech. No braiding of horse manes. Temperature checks entering the showgrounds, random checks throughout the day on site. Vendor row – one food vendor, one supplies vendor, one farrier. Media presence – specified media day only, otherwise none. Official show photographer – none. Mandatory mask, mandatory physical distancing. Everyone on site must display their show credentials. A lot of portable toilets. If a rider and support crew came from a state on NY’s restriction list, the rider and crew had to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine. From what we understand, there have been no adjustments to the state’s order.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Sounds similar but here only two people per rider. No media and there was one photographer. We dont have braiders as dressage riders mostly do their own braid. Belinda’s groom braids her horses . I do Biasini myself when I’m showing. But we all do the bigger rosebud braids not the small hunter braids. Thanks for commenting and letting me know how the Saratoga show dealt with Covid.

      Like

  5. Jen says:

    I love your pics!! They’re beautiful!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I thoroughly enjoyed the way you explained and showed the movements. Belinda and Lynsey are two great riders. Just wonderful to see your lovely photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for leaving this comment.

      Like

  7. sandyjwhite says:

    Encouraging to see such an event could happen successfully and safely.
    Your shots are wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Sandy! It is encouraging and the show organizer went to great lengths to make it safe and everyone respected the rules.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Connie Gee says:

    Wow! Thank you for the report and lovely photos. As a spectator I’ve missed out on the opportunity to photograph any shows and was craving some news of the goings on! Congrats to Lynsey and Belinda for fantastic wins!! It’s wonderful that competitions are back and in a safe environment, a great job by the organizers. As always I love your writing style and the detail you bring to each post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you so much for this comment Connie! There was such a lot of work put in by the show organizer to make this show possible.i will have one more post about how the Oakcrest team found it.

      Like

  9. Emma Cownie says:

    It’s lovely that the horses and riders managed to compete in these very difficult times!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      It is! And my hat is off to the show organizer who did so much work to ensure everyone could be safe. And also everyone there was observing distancing and wearing masks. It was great!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Gorgeous photographs 🐎

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Your photos really capture the connection between horse and rider, I really enjoyed this post. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      So glad you enjoyed seeing these horses and riders. I appreciate the comment.

      Like

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