Just a quick final blog to congratulate Eric! It was an amazing feat to come from 17th place to finish second in the World Cup Final – a testament to the tremendous power and talent of this combination.
I had watched most of the show from the press area in the stands which gave me a nice view of the whole ring. I was lucky, however, to get ring side seats for the final day. Watching the class from the ground offers a whole different perspective, and I had that much more respect for the competitors as I watched them negotiate these huge jumps. I also got to walk the course so I know just how big those jumps really were.
We came perilously close, however, of being robbed of this celebration. Hickstead was not accepted at the jog on Wednesday and had to be re-presented on Thursday morning when he was passed. He also had to be jogged several times at the vet inspection on Saturday before being passed. I wasn’t at the jogs so I can’t pass judgment though Eric told me that it was frivolous. Can you just image the commotion if they had spun him, especially after the fiasco with Sapphire last year?!
It is interesting to note that WEG silver medalist Abdullah Al Sharbatly (KSA) and his wonderful mare Seldana Di Campalto withdrew after the first round of competition. They were a bit slow in the speed and incurred eight faults to finish in 31st which converted to 35 points and well out of contention. Al Sharbatly looked a bit rusty – certainly not in the same form as in Kentucky so probably wise.
I was also very surprised that FEI president Princess Haya wasn’t here. I would have thought that an historic four Finals at the same event would have merited her presence for at least one day. I forgot (mental head-slap) to ask a member of the FEI why she wasn’t present, but I’ve sent an email and will send the answer to Karen to pass along to you. It is possible that I missed her among all the events.
Time to pack for the trip home! ~J.