It was a beautiful cool morning with a breeze. It was supposed to get in the upper 70's during the afternoon.
Dottie, Lynn and Jeff and Jacob helped us get ready. It was easy to stay focused with all that help. Soon we were headed down to the start, and off on course.
|Ready to head out on course, photo by Marie de Ronde|
|Some last minute words of encouragement from Chester, |
photo by Marie de Ronde
|Off we go! Photo by Marie de Ronde|
After a quick briefing from Michael on how the hazards were going, we started on Section E. Michael told me that Hazard Two was getting deep in the turns to B, C and D.
The outer course was a busy place, with some drivers walking their ponies and some trotting. Soon we were in the first hazard, then on to the second, and before we knew it the marathon was over. Everything went pretty much according to plan, except in Hazard Three where I whizzed by my gap and had to make another loop into B. The water hazard was tight and slow as we had imagined it might be for us. Otherwise I think we worked our plan well. All our section times were right on.
|Cooper, Shelly and Fran in the Water Hazard, photo by Marie de Ronde|
|More Cooper, by Marie de Ronde|
|Cooper going for the finish by Marie de Ronde|
Once Cooper got settled, we went off to watch as much as possible. The day grew warmer and coats came off. We saw some great driving and some scary driving, all sorts and sizes of ponies and all ages of drivers. There were a few accidents, very well handled and no ponies or people were hurt that I was aware of. In one spectacular incident, a team of smaller ponies were galloping around a turn when one of the leaders tripped and fell. The other ponies ran on top of him, and then the carriage. There was a mix of legs and harness. The driver and navigators quickly untangled everything while the ponies laid quietly, then got up and stood calmly while they and the carriage were taken out of the hazard. The ponies were hooked and walked back with no apparent injuries. They did cones the next morning and looked fine.
|Suzy getting it done, photo by Marie de Ronde|
|The serious US contingent watches, photo by Marie de Ronde|
This is probably a good time to explain the Pony Championship Team score calculations, since it is different from other Championships for Single, Pair and Four in Hand horses. A team is comprised of two singles, two pairs and two fours. One score from each class counts toward the team competition. So the one best score for single, pair and team for dressage counts for that competition, then again the same for marathon, the lowest one single, pair and four in hand score is counted for the marathon score. Cones just the same. So these eliminations and mistakes changed everything around.
I was judging at the CDE at Innavale earlier this summer. At the competitor's party, a man who was navigating at the show came over and introduced himself to me. His name was Alex, and he was from Slovenia. We had a nice conversation about what I could expect during my time in Slovenia, and what the area was like. Alex said he was coming to Slovenia for vacation in September, and that he would try to come to the Championship to watch.
Imagine my surprise while we were watching at a hazard and Alex came over to see us! It was fun to ask him lots of questions about Slovenian things that were a mystery to us. He stayed for the afternoon and we enjoyed his company. He was inspired by the driving he saw. It's a small world.....
|Laurie flat out, photo by Marie de Ronde|
|Lisa coming up the hill, by Marie de Ronde|
Cones were scheduled to start at 9 the next morning, with walking starting at 8. Off to bed once again as the music played on.....