Commonwealth, schmommonwealth. The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are on.
Horse lovers the world over are enthralled by the high drama and hijinks in Lexington, Kentucky this week. Already there's been a controversial withdrawal following a travel-related mishap
(on the very same flight hilariously previewed here.
) In all the excitement, Eitan Beth-Halachmy, a "cowboy dressage" rider in the opening ceremony, seems to have burst a spleen.
As expected, the Dutch took the gold medal in Dressage despite one of their team being disqualified with a horse bleeding from the mouth.
Some point to training methods like rollkur, or hyperflexion,
saying they are cruel and abusive. The FEI has banned rollkur; former advocates say that what they do is not rollkur, but "LDR" (long, deep and round.) Look at the lawsuits fly!
In happier news, the gloriously named Nobby took the gold medal in the Endurance event.
"He could go another 100 miles today if you wanted him to," rider Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton said of the 15-year-old bay Arab gelding. Still to come, the equestrian triathlon: Eventing!
On the eve of competition, US team favorite Tipperary Liadhnan
was another shock withdrawal, this time thanks to an unlucky bout of cellulitis. What made this especially frustrating was that his rider Kim Severson has worked wonders on his showjumping issues.
Can the US still win with Karen O'Connor in Severson's place? O'Connor is the darling of the eventing-enthusiast crowd,
but some say her horse Mandiba is no match for Theodore O'Connor,
the mighty part-Shetland she rode until his untimely death...
It all plays out this weekend. There's video behind a paywall,
or, to save your money for that Devoucoux saddle,
follow along on the blogosphere. Check out EventingNation, Hamish
and Dave, The Chronicle of the Horse
or Sidelines Magazine's LaurenGallops
or On The Line
(disclaimer-slash-boast: On The Line's Erin Gilmore is my own awesome riding instructor. I am not involved in her blog in any way!)
What is it about women and horses, anyway? Maybe this title offers a clue.