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
After a short break Belinda rode Feng de Lys.
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.
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.