Sunday, March 6, 2011

PRO Derby Cross

*Aaaaaaahhh* I have spent the last two days in Wellington, soaking up all the Olympic-level showjumping that I possibly can. Last night was the Nations Cup and then today was the Derby Cross and the Hermes Puissance competition.

The event that I was most excited about ("giddy as a school girl" would be more accurate) was the Derby Cross, because I have been dying to see some eventers in action. In Wellington, you can't swing a dead cat without hitting at least 4 Grand Prix showjumpers and a dressage pro or two, but eventers are rarer than a fairly-priced drink. So when I heard that hordes of 4* eventers would be converging in Welly-World, I circled the day on my calendar and counted down the days.

For those of you unfamiliar with derby cross, it's a competition consisting of rider teams; each team has three event riders, one showjumper, and one polo player. They ride different courses that combine many of the same elements, but everyone jumps a combination of classic showjumps and cross-country obstacles. Each rail adds four seconds to the clock, and of course the goal is to get the fastest combined score. Each rider is also given the option of a "joker" fence at the end of the course, which takes 10 seconds off the rider's time if h/she jumps it clean. I believe the eventing joker fence was about 4'6" or 4'9" and it came down quite a few times.


Team Triple Crown
Allison Springer (Captain), Eventing
Will Coleman, Eventing
Marcia Kaluk, Eventing
Meredith Littles Meredith (Team Udonna), Showjumping
Luis Escobar, Polo

Team Guardian
Karen O' Connor (Captain), Eventing
Hannah Sue Burnett, Eventing
Clark Montgomery, Eventing
Laura Kraut, Showjumping
John Gobin, Polo

Team Canada
Kyle Carter (Captain), Eventing
Jessica Phoenix, Eventing
Rebecca Howard, Eventing
Jonathan Millar, Showjumping
Brandon Phillips, Polo

Team Haygain
Phillip Dutton (Captain), Eventing
Jennie Brannigan, Eventing
Sinead Halpin, Eventing
Katie Prudent, Showjumping
Nic Roldan

Team FarmVet/Cavalor
Buck Davidson (Captain), Eventing
Will Faudree, Eventing
Bruce Davidson, Eventing
Aaron Vale, Showjumping
Kris Kampsen, Polo

For once, I remembered to bring my camera, but I have unfortunately not yet read the 700 page book that explains how to use it. I mostly just put it on "running guy getting hit with a lightning bolt" mode and shoot vaguely in the direction of action. So, don't fear, your eyesight is just fine -- many of these pics are just quite blurry (especially the jumping ones, which of course are the ones that we most care about).

David O'Connor was the course designer, and he came out and gave a brief overview of eventing and explained the course. Afterwards, hosts Boyd Martin and Leslie Law came out on horseback and went over the derby cross competition, explained some of the different tactics the riders would be using, and did demos of some of the fences.

Boyd Martin demonstrates the corner while David O looks on

Oh, I am just getting started. I promised 5,000 blurry photographs and I aim to deliver.

For some clear pics, click here.

All in all, it was quite the exciting event and I'm so glad that I was there. Team FarmVet/Cavalor placed first, Katie Prudent was the Most Valuable Showjumper, Will Faudree was the Most Valuable Eventer, and I honestly don't know who the Most Valuable Polo Player was (sorry, polo fans). I definitely think the event introduced a lot of people to eventing and hopefully they will be converted to eventing fans.

OK, moving on to the Nations Cup -- long story short, the USA won. McLain Ward and Sapphire were the only pair to jump double clear (looovvve that mare!!), and both Beezie Madden and Margie Engle each had one clear round and one 4-fault round (Margie's only rail was on the last fence of her second round, when Indigo came in to the fence distracted and caught a back rail of the oxer -- such a heartbreaker!). Canada was 2nd, Great Britain 3rd (finally got to see Nick Skelton ride!), Ireland/Australia/Mexico tied for 4th, Venezuela 5th, and Colombia 6th.

 Last but not least, Pablo Barrios won the Hermes Puissance tonight -- he and G&C Quivola were the only pair to clear the final 7'3" (!!!!) wall. Oh, and he did it with one stirrup. Yeah.

That first fence was a warm-up & didn't count

Hopefully, all this time spent basking in equestrian greatness has rubbed off on me. Tomorrow, it's back to reality and back to the barn to work Certs -- heck, maybe I can set up a 7'3" wall and we can just go under it!

Puissance Wall! (I'm 5'7")


Nina said...

So many cute ponies! OMG you really were in heaven! That 7'3 wall is just crazy! Most horses wouldn't even be able to see over it!

eventer79 said...

Awesome blurry pictures, yeah!!!

I didn't watch the Derby Cross, as I have some deep seeded philosophical issues with PRO, but I DID watch the puissance live and it was AMAZING! Me and SeeingStarz commentated brilliantly, I thought, LOL. I was actually most blown away by the horse that came in 2nd -- he was by far the most powerful jumper I had seen in a long time. But I wanted to take home the little Irish bay that came in third -- I had mad MAD horse lust for that beautiful thing.

sumaclab said...

Great pics, I so envy you being able to be there! (p.s. who's Beezie Engle??)

Frizzle said...

Lol, sumaclab, thanks for pointing that out. That's what I get for writing a blog post at 2 am! I just fixed it.

And, eventer79, you're too funny, but I guess "good on ya" for sticking to your principles! The Puissance was truly incredible to watch, I stood right by the in-gate and had a head-on view of the wall, so it was pretty awesome. And, yeah, I was drooling over pretty much every horse there!

I DID have some issues with two of the riders, though -- I watched the warm-up and both Shane Sweetnam and Richard Merediths (think that was him name, he was the Aussie on Charme Z) were not wearing helmets. The Aussie also came out for the awards ceremony sans-helmet, and about halfway through someone came out and handed it to him, and he carried it around under his arm (the point of that would be....??).

SprinklerBandit said...

Ah, the old helmet-under-arm thing. It's what they did before underarmour, you know.

Ha. I crack me up.

So jealous you actually get to see this stuff in person. Thanks for the pictures!

(What is derby cross? I have no idea. Youtoube here I come.)

smazourek said...

Sooo jealous right now- you got to watch this awesomeness and I got 2 foot of snow :(

My Dad lives in Loxahatchee, how bad would I be if I came down to see him and then just snuck off to Wellington so see some shows?

Frizzle said...

smazourek, you should definitely come down for a "visit to your dad." There have been SO many changes at PBIEC in the last few years, it really is expanding at an amzing rate! Every year, I'm blown away at all of the improvements (there's even a 2-story ringside tiki bar!!).

Alana said...

Ooh frizz! Love the pics! Are you going to be there this Saturday(the 12th)? I am just a bit above wellington visiting family so I figured I would head down there!

Frizzle said...

Alana, I wasn't planning on going up tomorrow, but we'll see -- there's a $200,000 Grand Prix tomorrow at 7pm, so I'll see if anyone wants to drive up with me. E-mail me @ so we can get in touch in case I go. If you're there, I recommend going early and snagging a seat in the tiki bar (referrably second floor) -- I like to run back and forth from there to ringside at the in-gate.

baystatebrumby said...

Can you belieeeeeve some of those jumps!!! They make my heart leap put of my chest!

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

how cool to be there live. That 7'3" talk about riding with MAJOR confidence...lordy, I would crap in my saddle!!!