Two of the Grand Prix Freestyle competitors at Devon really gave a moving performance-- Jacqueline Brooks was one, and I have blogged about her in the past. A chestnut mare, Elfenfeur, and her rider Alice Tarjan, also had a memorable ride. In my own mind D-Niro and Elfenfeur would have placed at the top. I love to watch powerful horses moving balls-to-the-walls as much as the next person ;-), but the overall picture is not just energy, but tension. I don't always get a sense that the horse is loving it. The most special rides show a harmonious partnership, with both horse and rider bringing a sense of joy and sympatico. Jacqueline and De-Niro actually made me tear up.
I found this footage of AT and Elfenfeur at the U.S. dressage finals. Do you see what I mean? There is power, but also lightness, softness, balance, fluidity in equal parts.