Laura B – I wish I loved her music but I just can’t. It does everything – it’s totally correct – but it just doesn’t have a soul and Alf really deserves music with a soul as big as his. Sorry Cees – you know I admire the hell out of you. But that twangy country surf guitar just doesn’t work for this fine fellow. He’s no cow pony. Laura’s quite far ahead of her music. I think he must be rather edgy tonight. Not only did he stop in a piaffe, he isn’t perfectly on tempo to the music – see Cees, that’s the peril of EQM. Even the best production can’t compensate for a tense horse on a given day.
Juan Manuel – ambassador for the Baroque horses of the world – so awesome to see a Spanish horse out there with the best. Of course he’s using Spanish music. The horse is not in the least bothered by the noise the audience is making. Interesting placement of the extended trot on an inside track. It’s a very well produced freestyle with good transitions. He did ones on centre line one handed. Brilliant! He also gets top marks for interpretation. He was way ahead at one point and he just waited and waited until the pirouette music came on. Standing ovation – fully deserved! I’ve never seen one tempis one handed. And on centre line no less. Poor little horsie nearly bolted JM out of the saddle after the salute. That was pure entertainment. It may stand as the highlight of the night.
A little note on the crowd – they quite rightly booed and whistled when his score came up. Maribel! Que pasó?!? From 76 to 84, I believe, qualifies for Stephen Clarke’s ‘unacceptable’ category of judges not getting it right.
Captain of the Universe (you can apply that to Totilas or Edward, as you prefer) – he almost stopped in the first piaffe at B but then popped into Totily awesome form again. Cantered at the end of the extended trot – maybe a little too ready tonight? A late flying change behind in the canter zig zag. I have never seen him make so many mistakes – but the good stuff is still ten-worthy. The third piaffe that he took out at the WC final went back in. I wish he would use that Kung Fu Panda music the British guy did and posted on YouTube. I just don’t get this music and the judges completely ignore the absence of matching beat in most of it. I actually thought he had a new freestyle for WEG. A few people made half hearted efforts at a standing ovation but I don’t think anyone will top JM and his Spanish wonder horse for audience appeal tonight. What?!?! I’m sorry but that score is JUST WRONG. I would be so fine with him winning, but not with that absurd score. Looks like the judges had lots of flies in their eyes tonight.
Steffen – you know, I love Viva La Vida but I still object to it being in with all this old rock and pop music. The second right pirouette got quite big. And he had a mistake in the one tempis. The left pirouettes got even bigger. The newly added second set of pirouettes went much better, but the ones in between were very bum high at the start. I don’t know why but this freestyle always seems long. Of course the crowd jumped to their feet; this is their home boy. I am sure he’s a bit disappointed though. That was not the performance of a life time, though I suspect he’s going to get some retardo score for it. Actually he didn’t get a retardo score, and that’s our medalists all in.
Imke – somehow I used to like this freestyle more than I do now. I’m not seeing a lot of interpretation in the first part of the canter tour. But I do love piano music for Sunrise. I just wish they hadn’t dumped all those other instruments onto the early trot and passage tour. The piano and percussion are all this wonderful mare needs. It was a very harmonious ride. It didn’t look over-prepared and the horse looked like she was giving exactly what she had to give.
A few thoughts while we wait for the medal ceremonies – the event really was sold out. There were a few empty seats behind the judges’ booths at the C end, but other than that it was pretty packed. Oh dear. Someone please put a muzzle on Brian O’C. Brian, don’t tell Edward he’s in control of the dressage world. Don’t call him Master and Commander. Your pronunciation of names was much better this week than it has been in the past (did someone give you phonetic spellings, I wonder?) but sometimes you say the silliest things.
Watching the three medalists come in tonight I must confess a small disappointment. Not one of them had their best rides, but their scores don’t reflect that. How are we to have faith in those folks in the gazebos when they do this in a World Championship? The right people won the right medals, but the scores did not need to be inflated like that. It is an insult to Juan Manuel and Imke in particular.
It was great sport tonight but the judges kind of ruined it for me. Steffen made me smile though just now in the victory gallop. There is some macho in under that gentle veneer after all. He exited the ring going ones with the reins in one hand, just to show us all that he can.
Tomorrow, cross country! I’ve been told by a reliable source that three of the six Canadians are going straight through at the water – can’t wait to see that!