Monday, October 11, 2010

WEG Disappointments

I realized today as I was thinking about the AllTech World Equestrian Games being over that I hadn't really posted anything more about the games since The Second Day........US Wins Gold Medal....and My Heart Skips a Beat
I missed some things I would really loved to see because of breaks in the weather here. I also missed some things because the schedule I'd downloaded turned out to be incomplete. The end result was I didn't get to watch anything but highlights of the things I wanted most to see.

I have to admit my biggest disappointment was not getting to see the complete individual medal competition for the reining. After seeing Shawn Flarida and his horse, RC Fancy Step, that first go round I was really looking forward to seeing the horse and rider again. I missed the live competition and then had to rely on whatever NBC served up.

I heard via an email that there had been some kind of tack failure for the pair so I already knew the outcome was not good. I just didn't know exactly what had happened. I figured with this pair being the high scoring pair from the team competition their run would be featured by NBC so I was hoping to get my details then.

As fate would have it, we were taking Solidare's colt to the vet when the reining aired on our local network. While I'm not big on technology, I was relieved we had the ability to tape the event or I'd still be wondering what happened.

I don't' want to take anything way from those who won. They did a great job. The WEG are like any other horse show, stuff happens. It's part of the gig. The best pair on that day is exactly that, the best pair on that day still I was driven to see what caused this awesome pair to be stricken from the ranks of medal winners.

I watched in horror as I saw Shawn Flarida lurch forward and grab the horn. I listened to the announcer talk about losing a stirrup and it all didn't make sense to me. What had caused this to happen? Something threw Flarida forward so abruptly he had to save himself but I sure didn't see what it was and a simple loss of a stirrup didn't make sense to me.

At the end of the run, Flarida walked over and retrieved something from the dirt. It was only then and with the subsequent replays that I could see what had caused this wreck. A broken blevin buckle and a sheared off billet occurring as the horse was propelling forward at the gallop would have unseated many riders. I'm pretty sure I'd have been in the dirt.

I watched carefully for Flarida's scores wondering what that five point penalty per judge cost him. With a 207.5 and adding in those 15 penalty points the ride was a 222.5 even with the horse unable to go full out the rest of the ride. If I remember correctly that score was within the scores of the medal winners and yet this horse had been ridden very conservatively because of the rider's precarious position without the use of his left stirrup. You know that had to affect that score.

I can only imagine what the number might have been had Flarida been able to ride the horse to his potential. Watching this situation gave me all the more respect for Flarida and his horse. This pair will always be the gold medal winners in my book.

I heard Flarida say this horse would not be back to the games in 2014. I sure hope that's not the case. I would love to see this horse show the world what he's really got in those individual medal runs. Who knows maybe his owners will have time to contemplate the possibilities in the next four years while their horse adds season to his skills.

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  1. One good reason why you need to practice your reining moves stirrupless or in English tack, or bareback...Stacy Westfall has the right idea, but it does mean you've gotta spend your time working bareback to be able to sit those explosive reiner takeoffs in rundowns and other moves. My mare almost nailed me with a takeoff the other day, and I was in full Western tack, not English or bareback.

    BTDT, with the reiner girl, she's not on that level but she has her moments. I'm only up to rollbacks in English tack on a very occasional moment. Sooner or later, bareback will happen. Stops are currently not pretty, but we can do spins pretty well now.

    That said, if the horse is anything like mine, once Shawn's stirrup broke, the horse probably throttled back as well. Balance wasn't right, and a lot of good reiners like to move in balance.

  2. I'd have been eating dirt for sure.

  3. My face would have been so deep in the dirt I wouldn't have moved for a week! I don't know how they stay on when everything is working fine. I just don't have the balance that I used to have. Did ride bareback a couple days ago and didn't eat dirt but I only walked and trotted. Stacy Westfall is amazing and almost brings me to tears watching her ride bareback and no bridle!!!!

  4. That was such a hard thing to watch. But I loved that he kept on riding like he was going to win it and he seemed to have such a great attitude.