THE LAND ROVER GREAT MEADOW INTERNATIONAL, PRESENTED BY ADEQUAN
A very long name for this event, but I feel like I should include all of it.
I was very excited about the Nation’s Cup being so close, so I absolutely had to go. I bought the weekend pass, and I was there first thing Saturday morning. Except I did skip out on some dressage, I would have had heat stroke if I stayed the whole day to watch dressage.
Great Meadows, where the event took place, is a 200 acre open land space land preserve. It is primarily famous for hosting the Virginia Gold Cup, a steeplechase race held in the spring and the fall. During the warmer months, they host Twilight Polo and Twilight Jumpers on Friday and Saturday nights. It is run as a non-profit for the community to enjoy the open spaces. In an area that is continually being developed, it’s more important than ever to keep our open space.
This riding arena, the warm up ring, all the cross country jumps and any other little bits, were all build just for this event. It makes me wonder if they will continue having events like this here. The cross country jumps looked permanent, which would make it convenient for future events!
This is going to be a long post. But it’s long because of pictures, not words. That makes it easier to swallow.
I woke up at 5am Saturday to ride Berry before I went. I am shocked that I actually managed to go through with this plan, but I got up like I was on auto-pilot. Riding in the morning is amazing, I only hope I’ll be able to keep doing it (so far, I have not). But the end result was I got there nice and early to watch dressage. The amount of photographers, both professional looking, and just amateurish, like me, was astounding. We were all competing for the best spot just above the judge’s car. I decided not to join them, and wandered around the ring.
Since this event was affiliated with Land Rover, they were everywhere. The judges for dressage sat in them. They were sprinkled throughout the cross country course, peeking out from behind bushes, or creeping down to the water to drink.
Because of my lack of a really good zoom, and the overcrowding of prime locations, I ended up hanging out mostly by the warmup, and the entrance to the ring. I actually like hanging out by both of these locations, because I like being really close to the horses, and I like hearing the trainers during warm-up.
Warm up was a well oiled machine, but I’m used to the equivalent of crossing a five lane highway in rush hour. This warm up allowed two horses in the dressage railed section, and then two horses on the opposite side of the ring that was not railed in.
Since the warm up ring was elevated, it gave a good view of the entire ring.
The test I saw was 2015 3 Star Test B, for any of you that want to try it at home. Looks exhausting!
And speaking of Sharon White, she was my favorite to watch. Not only am I a sucker for a gorgeous grey (I admire from afar!), she’s a beautiful rider!
Let’s admire her together:
Cooley On Show is an Irish Sport Horse gelding, imported from England. He is owned by Sharon Cooley and goes by the barn name Louie. When not showing off his fantastic movement and jump, he enjoys long walks around his pasture and taking naps in the shade.
The dressage was going throughout the day with 15 minute breaks. During the first break, I went to check out the vendors.
I discovered a new kind of vendor. Of course, it was more like how Columbus “discovered” America, as in, lots of other people probably knew about this, I just happened to find it this time. But here it is: The buy a tin cup, and keep coming back for more vendor.
There were two of these, and I got a cup from the other one. I immediately regretted this decision, the “soda” was flat. I put it in quotes because it might as well have not been soda. I would have preferred the lemonade from Bayou Billy instead. Oh well…
The vendors were all clustered together, resembling a flea market. Of course, they had all lots of expensive things at them.
It’s so much fun to admire pretty things.
I then headed out for the day, hoping to get a nap before show jumping in the afternoon. The nap did not happen.
A few hours later I was back, this time with company, and we settled ourselves in the hot sun on what they called “Adequan Hill”. It gave us a nice view of the arena, a nice view of warm up, and a nice view of the path leading down from warmup.
The heat made me disinclined to wander around to get good pictures, so all my pictures are pretty terrible. I regret this now, but at the time, moving seemed like a lot of effort.
I don’t know what the rules are for this kind of thing, but while the National Anthem was being sung, a rider was still warming up. This was even more obvious because they had trouble on the warm up jump and literally smashed through it. Way to be suave, unknown rider!
The announcer told us there would be an award for the best fist pump after the round. Phillip Dutton came in strong for the first ride with his double fist pump after his round. I personally loved the fist pump award idea. The announcer had us all cheering for the best fist pump, there was a lot of audience interaction throughout the evening. Some riders forgot to fist pump, others got really into it. Those of course, were the favorites. Lauren Keiffer on Veronica gave an enthusiastic fist pump, and her horse Veronica surged forward with equal enthusiasm. One rider (Marilyn Little maybe?) gave an extended fist pump as they lapped back around to the exit.
Thus ends any decent photos I have, and of being in the horrible, terrible heat.
In yet another amateur mistake, I packed my camera, hoping for lots of glorious photos of cross country, and then I forgot the battery. Way to mess that one up, Courtney! I was reduced to using my cell phone.
But, the day was truly beautiful. It was warm, but not overly hot, and with low humidity. Seriously, the best day possible for cross country!
I took a video of every fence except the first, but I do not yet understand the magic of posting videos. I will figure it out though and post all the little clips…eventually. But I am willing to accept I am terrible at videos, and it would be a much better idea to check out the archived feed of the event. Here’s some other points of interest:
After walking the entire course, we settled down under the trees by the water jump. It really was the best spot to relax.
As we were sitting there, the last rider headed out, but unfortunately only made it to the first water jump, which was jump 5 or so. We saw her and head’s heads bobbing on the edge of the hill. That was the signal for everyone to leave, and the mass exodus begin.
I’ve decided I really REALLY love watching eventing. Everything runs on time, and I can’t believe how supporting the crowd was. At every jump, people clapping and yelling encouragement, it was so easy to join in. I would definitely be more motivated after applause, so I hope people will do it for me during my hunter rounds. Overall, really fun to watch, and I really hope there’s another event at Great Meadows!