Bring on the clowns! And the horses too!
Every Friday Counter-Canter Culture features the important US and International Horse Shows currently under way.
The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014
It’s the twelfth day of competition at the 2014 World Equestrian Games, which means this spectacle of man and horse is about to come to a close. But before all is said and done comes the big finish – The Individual Show Jumping Final. In all of equestrian sport, I don’t believe there is anything like it.
There are only four horse and rider pairs that make it to this final competition, and the test to get there is steep. First the duo must be blazing fast to set a time that will keep them in contention on the first day’s Speed Competition. From there they compete over two days and two courses for the team competition. Only those riders ranked 30 or higher individually, based on time and faults, after the close of the team events advance to the fourth day of qualifications for the individual final where the final four are decided.
Currently, the competitors are taking a day off after the close of the team competition and before the individual events continue. The Netherlands was crowned champions of the team event with host nation, France, coming in a close second, and the U.S. rounding out the medalists in third place. Just one rail, or about four faults, separated the top three. Tomorrow the final four will be determined, and on Sunday the final will surely cap off these 2014 World Equestrian Games with a flourish.
Naturally, I’m rooting for American Beezie Madden and her mount Cortes ‘C’ to hold on to the first place position she carved out for herself in the first three days of competition. But there is no question that her competitors are hot on her heels. Only 0.18 points separate her from the second place duo of Sweden’s Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Casall Ask. Also not far off the leaders is the perennial favorite, Rodrigo Pessoa, who just missed out on a medal at the 2010 World Equestrian Games, coming in fourth place.
Of course, the undisputed star of the 2010 finals was not human, but horse. Who could forget Hickstead carrying each of the final four to a clear round? And that is why we watch! So don’t miss the action this Sunday. If it is not on television in your area, catch all the action on FEI TV. It’s a must see!
As a teaser, watch the legendary performance of Hickstead today in his memory.