Olympics 2008
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Saturday, August 23, 2008 05:11 PM
Canada wins Silver medal in team Show Jumping in jump off with US for gold. What a great effort! It gets even better. Canadian Eric Lamaze with his amazing horse Hickstead wins gold in individual Show Jumping! Canada is ecstatic :) It was a long time ago when we had a medal and we never had a gold one in jumping until now!
Canada was broadcasting equestrian Olympics from start to finish, everything. What a treat! I finally saw Eventing from start to finish including all dressage and stadium jumping. Interestingly enough eventing dressage reminded me the local dressage shows. The test wasn't very difficult and horses were good but they were not brilliant movers that you usually see in high caliber Grand Prix dressage. Some riders rode very well. However, most of the riders need improvement in sitting trot. They were not connected to their horses and bounced all over the saddle. In cross-country the course was built on a golf course, right between fairways and through the bankers. Because of that the cross-country course had lots of turns and ups and downs. It became very technical and demanded a good partnership and skills from horses and riders. People who bossed their horses around didn't have very good rounds. It was interesting to see that riders who didn't do well in dressage didn't have a chance for a medal and many of them didn't do well in cross-country or stadium jumping phases.
Show Jumping was very impressive. Jumps were works of art. I have never seen such beautiful jumps. And they were big and wide - 150-160 cm high. Difficult combinations: tight turn into 14 feet of water after vertical in the first day, or, water and 5 strides into tight vertical-vertical combination. So many horses couldn't handle that. Again, you could pick out horses who were pushed or punished to jump clean in their training. These horses didn't come through at the moment their riders needed them most. One horse decided he doesn't care and jumped through every jump without even trying. The successful jumper must love to jump. Yes, he need technique and scope and power. But all of it will not cost a dime if he doesn't enjoy jumping and doesn't honestly try for the rider. It is really encouraging to see all the safety caps and light rails. Horses do not hurt themselves when they hit the jumps, jumps fall to pieces from the lightest touch. It was interesting to see that some horses really stopped trying when they discovered that jumps do not hurt them. Watching that made me wonder about people who use all kinds of tricks including pain to make a horse jump clean...
Dressage was some what predictable as usual, especially for the first two spots in team and individual competition. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that some combinations were awarded good scores for good correct riding even if their horses were not big, flashy movers. There was only two times where I really didn't agree with the judges.One was Andalusian stallion from Spain team Fuego XII that did a very good Grand Prix test. He is so gorgeous and he moves very well. He got surprisingly low score, even Cara Whitham, Canadian "O" judge, was very surprised at the number. Another was Isabel Werth's Sachmo who managed to stay on top with 76% in Grand Prix Special after major resistance you can say rebellion in piaffe. It was very interesting to listen to Cara Whitham commenting on the rides. Most of the time I agreed with her. She was very good at pointing out good executions or mistakes. I taped the whole Olympic dressage to watch it again, listen and develop my eye. Last time I did that with World Equestrian Games it really improved my ability to "see"..
Happy riding...
 
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