I heard the first competitor told to enter the ring a a minute before 9, and just before he came in, the water cannons, large sprinkers along the ring, went off! These are like fire hoses with a lot of force.
What a shock! The first competitor was quickly stopped just outside the arena and everyone rushed around to figure out how to turn the water cannons off. It took a few minutes before the timer was disabled and the water stopped.
How lucky that this did not happen when a competitor was in the ring - truly not pony friendly!
Once that little issue was solved, the show got started without further incident. All team members came down to the ring when one of our drivers were competing. First up was Jennifer Matheson, who drove a very nice test, the best I have seen her do with her pair. She had a good score and was very pleased. Next up for our team was Wendy O'Brien, who also drove very well. I thought she should have had a better score, but know from my judging career that things sometimes look diffrent from that vantage point than outside the arena.
|Jennifer - photo by Marie de Ronde|
|Wendy-photo by Marie de Ronde|
We went to the hotel for lunch and ordered pizza. Slovenian pizza can be different from what we are used to....
|Killing time and waiting for lunch|
|A close up of Jeff's tie (and shirt)|
Cooper felt good in the warm up, and there was the ever present warm up dilemma, how much to do? Too little and he would not be supple and attentive, too much and he would be tired. I tried for some place in the middle.
Finally our time came to head to the second ring and await our entrance. We were given the nod and headed down the hill and under the arch into the ring.
|A unique perspective - photo by Marie de Ronde|
DRAMA IN THE BIT CHECK:
Chester and Marie met me at the bit check/wheel measurement outside the arena. As the steward checked the bit, she commented that I was to wait for the vet. Vet? Why? Another official explained that the head judge wanted the pony checked for lameness. Just then my scores were announced, a 44.67, putting me in first place for the day. Both Marie and Chester commented that it didn't make sense, the winner being lame. The vet arrived and asked us to jog the pony in hand. We quickly stripped the harness off, and Chester jogged Cooper with his driving bridle and one rein. Cooper looked great and the vet agreed there was no problem. Whew! That was unexpected and unnerving! Marie told me that four other ponies had been examined earlier in the same way and one competitor had been disqualified. I was very happy that Chester and Marie were there when I needed them.
I led Cooper back to the stable, and Chester and a steward followed with the carrige. Our supporters were waiting. They had wondered what happened to us!
|A relieved Chester and a steward pulled the carriage back to the stable|
Jeff and Lynn asked me if I wanted a beer and I said DEFINATELY!!
A party in the big tent again that evening, a little more tame this time. Most participants were busy getting ready for dressage or walking hazards. But once again the music went on into the night...