Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Las Vegas World Cup was a wow

Three days of watching the best riders in the world compete was a great thrill. The fences were gigantic, and the arena a tight little space. I ordered tickets early so we got seats up really close, along side of numerous wealthy oversize people wearing VIP necklaces. On the final day we were overlooking the jump where Meredith Michaels Beerbaum, number one rider in the world (and winner of the Cup two years ago), jumped the liverpool, (a jump with water below it), and fell off for no apparent reason, just like any other rider in the world might do. See someone's video of that ride here.

Beat Mandli of Switzerland with Ideo du Thot won the World Cup, second was to German Daniel Deusser and Air Jordan Z and the two tied for third were Marcus Beerbaum, Germany, and Steve Geurdat, Switzerland. In the U.S. the majority of competitive riders are women, but it's the reverse in Europe.

We didn't see the first day's event, when our personal favorite, Richard Spooner, had a hard time on his horse Cristallo.

But Richard did place third in Saturday afternoon's Grand Prix, a separate competition from the World Cup. He was riding eight year old Ace. Eight is very young for a horse to be jumping these heights. You can see a video of his go here.

Here's Richard conferring with legendary trainer, George Morris, who formerly was quite disdainful of West Coast riders but seems to be changing his mind about them.

Dinah was getting Richard's autograph here. He is so nice to his fans. The t shirt she's handing him to sign was shot out of an air gun by a clown, and she managed to catch it. She was annoyed that I took her picture. She has about a dozen grooming brushes signed by Richard.


linda said...

Wow. The girls are all OVER Richard.

I like Dinah's purse!

Sally said...

She won that at a horse show in 8th grade. The line for autographs was so long, and he obliged anyone who asked by posing for a photo with his arm around her. Dinah didn't choose that, but I would have!

carol said...

wow, it never would've occurred to me that show jumpers would achieve the status of rock stars, but lo, it appears to be true!

also it is amazing how high those fences are. I worry that the horses suffer injuries, although I suspect they aren't pushed to perform like thoroughbreds are.

Sally said...

Interesting point, Carol.

There are really strict enforced rules about medications and performance of the horses, and I can't remember any accident like what happened to poor Barbaro. The fences are all light weight and fall down easily. In fact some of the cups that hold them up are flat.

This kind of horse is more likely to suffer from intestinal problems. Most of the competing horses are in their teens. It's a cool sport, where men and women, old and young, are all competing against one another.

The youngest rider was 21, and the oldest past 50.