It’s a miracle how many horses you can cram into a dressage arena at the same time when everybody knows what they’re doing. Exhibit A: arena familiarization this afternoon here at Lühmuhlen. Europeans spend a solid chunk of their year schooling and competing in small, crowded indoors, and they’ve worked out a solid system of not running into one another in the process.
Check it out. Having witnessed far too many fender-benders in American warm-up arenas (“But there were only two horses in the arena! How did they manage to run into one another?!”), I was suitably impressed. If nothing else the per capita aspect of quality event horses contained within one rectangular patch of real estate makes for a nice screensaver.
And, yes, the soundtrack has been on fire this afternoon. My newest deep life regret is not running out to video Michael Jung schooling fischerRocana FST to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.”
(If you were trying to “Where’s Waldo?” an American in the crowd, sorry. Although our U.S. Luhmühlen contingent could surely have held their own in traffic, they came out to school earlier in the afternoon when the atmosphere was a bit more zen.)
Watching top riders school their horses is at least as interesting, if not more so, to me than watching them perform their tests. One of the more untraditional warmups I saw was from 2015 Luhmühlen winner Ingrid Klimke, who was schooling her CIC3* ride Horseware Hale Bob in a very light seat in a deep, relaxed, stretchy shape. It looked like she was playing with a toy slinky out there. Look at his face; what a happy horse! Ingrid also took the early fashion lead with those bright cornflower blue britches — want/need/have to have.
The competition will stream live on FEI TV starting with dressage on Thursday. Until then …
The feeling you get after the perfect ride.
It’s why we do what we do.
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