I thought I would be posting this yesterday, but due to some mysterious British logic, Badminton’s show jumping round was today and not on the ‘traditional’ Day of the Sun. And I certainly didn’t want to jinx Rebecca and Rupert by gushing about how awesome they had done until the last rail on the last fence of their show jumping round was still happily in its cups. Which it was, of course. We know Rupert is one kick-ass show jumper.
Remember way back in 2012 when Canada’s Eventers were the Bad News Bears of the Olympics? If you do, you can forget about that now. Just look at the results from Rolex last week and Badminton, which finished today, Day of the Mon. There’s only one thing Hawley and Ginny might have wished to repeat at Rolex from London, and that’s their best-ever dressage score. But look at ’em now. If you want to try and bottle the positive energy emanating from this post XC interview with Hawley, please sign me up for the first batch.
Hawley told me today that she is still completely mystified about what happened at Fence Three at Greenwich Park last year. She was apparently the only rider that no video captured at that complex; there’s video of Ginny running off, video of Hawley getting into the ambulance, but even youtube trolling has yielded no answers in the form of footage. But now that Ginny has proven herself once again on the course in Lexington, who cares? Hawley and Ginny are back, it’s official!
It merits a mention that also in the top twenty at Rolex were Shandiss McDonald on Rockfield Grant Juan (16th) and Peter Barry with Kilrodan Abbott (17th). If Shandiss dials in her pace (this was their first Rolex, mind you) and show jumping and Peter his dressage, we may be seeing quite a dream team assembling for Normandy next year. Oh and there’s one more pair in there, the TWELFTH PLACED Badminton combo of Rebecca and Rupert! Rebecca finished only 32nd after the dressage, but that was in a killer field – as Badminton always is. 51.3 penalties is not a shabby result by anyone’s standards except maybe for the likes of Michael Jung and Ingrid Klimke. Rebecca and Rupert blazed around that big bad-assed Badminton track, and then showed how fit as a fiddle they are by putting in one of show jumping day’s most stylish clear rounds. Don’t believe me? Here, you can see it for yourself:
So Rebecca and Hawley have officially galloped away from the fail of London, and it’s time for the rest of us to gallop away with them, starting with our wallets. You may have noticed – either on recent posts here or in my At Issue column on the pages of Horse Sport Magazine – that the soap box I’ve been dragging around and climbing onto lately is about that perennial failing in Canadian high performance equestrian sport, fundraising. OTP has a short attention span and probably could learn a lesson or two about luck or its evil opposite in a sport as demanding and risky as eventing; but whatever. Now that they’ve pulled the cash – at least until the team can wave something else looking kind of metallic in their faces – there is no point in griping, only going ahead with Plan B.
If you go onto Rebecca’s or Hawley’s Facebook pages you can see right there how much these two fine athletes and their wonderful horses are inspiring a lot of people. They are succeeding in spite of the financial challenges – imagine what they could do if a little less of their energy were spent trying to make ends meet between successes. Hawley has plain old wonderful sponsors in Terry and Linda Paine – American ones. Rebecca has a list of corporate sponsors to whom she is deeply grateful – that goes without saying. I don’t know what fundraising plans Canadian Eventing has up its sleeve, but even if they do have some kind of wicked strategy for filling the coffers to send our top riders and horses to the big gigs they need to do in order to win another medal at WEG, let’s not sit idle, m-kay? If any one of you dreams up any kind of fundraising event or program, I am hereby promising to contribute, and to get at least 25 others to contribute. A lot of little donations, a few big ones – they all add up and they all matter. Let’s go, Canada. These horses and riders have proven their worth, now let’s get behind them.