The final phase of the driving event was the Cones Competition and took place on October 10th, 2010, the final day of the World Equestrian Games. This “test” was all about the drivers getting their four horses through a twisting course of cones with balls balanced on top and set very close together, sometimes it seemed, with only inches to spare. They were of course penalized for going off-course, knocking off a ball or exceeding the time allowed on the course. Then the final placing’s were determined by the team with the lowest number of penalties, throughout all three phases – the dressage (which I wasn’t able to attend), the marathon and the cones.
Before the competition began the drivers were allowed to walk the course. They knew what the route was going to be, on paper, but walking it gave them a feel for how wide they needed to turn their horses in order to make it through without knocking those pesky balls off the pylons or “cones”. They were walking the course to some beautiful music that was playing through speakers dispersed around the stadium area. Two songs made me think of Todd. They were songs from our wedding. More on that later.
This is the Mike McClennan dude. An interesting thing I heard about these four horses was that he raised them himself on his ranch in Texas. Certainly, not the norm. I do wish I could remember what breed they were. Why “Quarter Horse-crosses” is stuck in my brain I’m not sure… but maybe they were. Anyone know?
I don’t recall what team this was, not American anyway. I know, I’m stellar aren’t I?
But really, does it much matter?
Aren’t they all incredible or what?
Alex and Joe were slightly impressed too.
Know what else I think was impressive?
The medal ceremony.
With its music, all the different country flags (I’m patriotic to the core here)…
And the way they cheered for Team Germany who took the bronze.
Of course we were all freaking out that Team USA received the silver.
Pictured above (I think) on the Jumbo-Tron screen is the Individual Medal ceremony where Boyd Exell of Australia got gold. Chardon, a Dutchman from the Netherlands received silver and Tucker Johnson of the United States earned the bronze.
Life without Jumbo-Tron is not as impressive as with.
Thank you Jumbo-Tron inventor.
After the ribbons and medals were awarded everyone took a beautiful victory lap.
They were all literally, “Four-in-Hand”, hat in the other as they passed the stands. Simply GORGEOUS!
Sorry, but oh my gosh. I still can’t believe I was there.
The crowd was going crazy and the vibrant, strong classical music coming from the speakers was just incredible…and then…
The finale. The top three U.S. competitors: Tucker Johnson, Chester Weber and James Fairclough, with music enveloping the field, in a nice gallop and three abreast, charged for the out-gate.
So there it is. The conclusion of my view at the World Equestrian Games.
Even though we didn’t get to use the Opening Ceremony or the Closing Ceremony tickets we left Lexington feeling like it was a complete, glorious and impressive experience. One of those “Once in a Lifetime” deals and just fantastic, beginning to end. From our “den mothers”- the Georgetown Fire Department people, to the guy in the parking lot at the hardware store where we sat, taking up the whole parking area with the truck/trailer and studied our map trying to figure out just where we needed to be. Right down to the parking attendants in the parking field on the grounds. Such constant smiles and upbeat attitudes from everyone we met.
I have to tell you what was the utmost impressive thing of all: It was how my husband unselfishly let me go to these World Equestrian Games with my dad when he and I had planned on going for our twentieth wedding anniversary. Since Todd was home in Michigan and I was there in Kentucky I texted him a lot. I texted him a lot that day…
“Happy 20 Years…What a wife you’ve got. Wanna do 20 more?”.
He’d texted back, ”10/10/10…30 More”.
He’s a keeper. I certainly hope he can tolerate more than thirty.
And a big thanks to my Mom and Dad…
To my Mom for encouraging my dad to go in addition to taking care of horses back home so he could go.
And to my Dad for making every road trip we do together better than the one before.
Love you guys.