There’s really only one word I can use to sum up my experience during XC on Saturday: wet. So so wet. It didn’t start wet and it didn’t end wet but while the actual rides were going on it did not stop raining.
Actually, I found it a little bit funny that they reworked the schedule to get all the riders out on course as quick as possible so they could avoid the big storms that were supposed to happen in the afternoon only to find that it stopped raining as soon as they were done. I knew it was supposed to be rainy and cold so I tried to pack smart. I ended up having on a long sleeve shirt, a sweatshirt, a waterproof jacket with fleece lining and a second water proof jacket over it, plus my Dubarrys. While, I technically stayed dry… I would have been happier if it hadn’t been raining.
We also had the help of hats (in my case I went through two), an umbrella, and a Man O’War, aka: alcohol. Yum. If my hands hadn’t been so cold I definitely would have had more then one as we walked around the course.
But you guys don’t care about that! You want to see the ponies. I will say, it was so so cool to see all these high class horse and riders. The course rode really well as a whole and I’m so glad I got to experience it. While I will never ride at this level (I’d be way too terrified to go near any of those jumps!), it made me start dreaming of Dandy being out there. There was no single jump I thought he couldn’t do, he just couldn’t string a whole course of 4* jumps together.
We ended up spending quite a bit of time at the fallen log and the opposing corners. The best ride through the corners really required the rider to get the horse into a nice collected show jumping canter. I saw a lot of really really nice riding.
Unfortunately, I also was there for Mackenna Shea’s fall. Actually, I was videoing her because I was really impressed with her riding so far and thought it’d be cool to watch. Instead it’s kind of sad. Looks like Landioso got in too deep to the second corner and just couldn’t get himself over the logs. The good news is the frangible pins worked exactly like they were supposed to and probably kept Landioso from breaking his legs.
And, of course, I got to see JLE and Capato strut their stuff. With all the rain, JLE was riding very cautiously and they did have a run out after the keyhole but I still really enjoyed watching them.
By that time though, the boy and I were so cold and sore that we skipped the last ten to fifteen rides and headed inside to the trade fair. I figured a little shopping would cheer me up.
I was on a pretty tight budget since I don’t have a job right now but I did manage to snag a few things: 2 C4 belts (a skinny and a normal size… I couldn’t decide!), a 5 inch egg butt snaffle from Stubben (they were having crazy deals!), a XC Rolex hat, and a new halter for Gus Gus! There was an incredible halter shop there and I think I got a steal of a deal on a triple stitched dark brown halter with adjustable chin, double buckle crown and a throat latch clip thing.
We finished the day with margaritas at Jalapeños with some of the JLE crew. It was so great to be able to see people again but I’ll admit that it made me a little bit sad. I’m not really part of that crew anymore.
Thankfully, Sunday cleared up and was nice and sunny. We got there early to watch the jog and froze for a few hours (it was still pretty chilly!). And I’ll admit I rolled my eyes a bit when JLE came out in her, admittedly, gorgeous short sleeve dress to jog Capato. They did look fantastic though. If I was getting to jog at Rolex I probably would have sucked it up and done that too!
Then we just hung out until stadium started. We finally got food from the vendors and I enjoyed every bit of the greasy, fried food.
Watching the stadium was so thrilling! I couldn’t believe how quiet the stadium could get while we all held our breath. The course was tough but fair. There were a lot of tired horses but a lot of really good riding.
But in the end, Tim Price couldn’t keep them all up and Michael Jung and Fisherroccona came out victorious with a clean round.
And that ended our wonderful Rolex weekend. I had such a good time and am so glad this was something I got to experience. I don’t think it will be a yearly pilgrimage for us (it is still 6 hours drive!) but we’ll be back.
And if Dandy every makes it there will be a huge party so you better all put it on your calendar.