“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”
– Leonardo Da Vinci.
There is no doubt in my mind that when you get to the Grand Prix in jumping and the fences are 1.5 and 1.6 meters in height that you are flying.
Today, even before the first horse was on course, I was amazed at the size, height and breadth of the fences. The riders were just walking the course when I arrived.
There is an element of danger in all horse sports and the jumping competitions can be dangerous. I was reminded of this by this vehicle.
The first Canadian rider on course was Tiffany Foster on Hamilton. You can see a photo of her jumping above.
The next Canadian was Erynn Ballard. Erynn is a very experienced rider. The announcer told us she is at the top of the International list of Women Jump riders. She was riding Corner Pocket Z. I could see that this grey horse was full of energy. It was a cool and windy day and some of the horses were showing signs of excess energy. It was clear to me that Erynn was having to ride with all her skill.
Erynn was managing well but then Pocket Z came to a big fence and initially thought he would jump it but half way through take off he changed his mind. There is a point, on approaching a fence, in the final stride , when the rider makes the commitment to getting over the fence. If the horse does not make the same commitment the rider is destined to have a mishap. Pocket Z crashed into the fence, from above, breaking poles and Erynn came off on his right side . Neither she nor the horse were injured and both walked away but it was a nasty moment to watch it. The photo below shows the moment Pocket Z changed his mind.
The third Canadian rider was Amy Millar riding Truman.
Amy and Hamilton went on to the jump off. They finished in 3rd place with a clear round in the jump off as well. Their jump off time was 43.99 and the second place finisher Paul O’Shea of Ireland had 43.88. Ben Maher and Tic Tac, of Britain, had a time of 43.52 and was the winner. So close! The prize money for this Hygain CSI 3* competition was $140,000 which will be divided among the leading finishers.
It was a cold day with wind, so by the time I had watched Amy Miller’s clear round I decided to head home to a hot cup of tea!