Thursday, April 26, 2012

Going on hot grapes and coffee

Grateful Kate: Sir Donovan redeems himself
Photo from
We left home at about 4:30am, and I continued my annual tradition of packing seedless grapes in my luggage -- handy and refreshing for the trip from the airport to the hotel, and making a stop for lunch unnecessary (straight to the horse park!). At 10:30am, I was munching my grapes and sipping coffee as Bob negotiated traffic. The flight was uneventful except that I sat next to a guy in cowboy boots and a hat. He turned out to be one of the reining judges for the Horse Park competition. Across from me was a lady who worked at Keeneland, and she was sitting next to a lady who runs a horse rescue. I eavesdropped SHAMELESSLY.

We got to the horse park, and I saw Laine Ashker's lovely lovely dressage ride. She rides without a flash and Anthony Patch is perfectly quiet in the mouth -- it can be done! Lainey's position was awesome and she rides much more fluidly than last year (event riders tend to flap around a bit in the dressage ring).   Aside from a late change or two, her ride looked good to me, but I wasn't watching critically, I just enjoyed the view. She got a 51.

Katie Ruppel, the girl whose horse was SO NAUGHTY last year, did a great job. Watching the way she rode was inspiring, she was so quiet and supportive, and her hands were exceptional. I have to say that Sir Donovan reminds me of Riley, or maybe the other way around. They're both big-boned, knobby-jointed chestnuts. SD's dressage test was obedient and relaxed--really nice. The test was not "bright and joyful" but slow -- it almost had a sleepwalking feel. Sir Donovan showed us last year what he thinks of dressage. This year he let's us know he is still not in love, but he's doing it for his rider.

Looking at Sir Donavan, I'm starting to feel that Riley's gawky big-boned, slo-mo movement stage might not actually be a stage. I'm going to try to find video of Ruppel's ride today. Did any of you see it?


  1. You need to do more than eavesdrop. Most people enjoy talking about what they love, so you could open with, "I couldn't help overhearing that you run a rescue. I just wanted to thank you..." or something to that effect. Starting a conversation with strangers and often be great for both sides....

    Sounds as if you are having a great time already. Love watching the eventing dresssage tests. Shows just how hard the sport is to get those horses to actually perform in the dressage arena when what they really want to do is gallop and jump!

  2. I watched both those rides (at my work desk.. desperately trying to look like I was working and not just dressage-gawking).
    Loved Laine's ride and enjoyed Katie's. I was happy to see her actually get to ride the test this year! Echo your sentiments. SD looked soft and attentive, but not... dynamic? which is perhaps the inverse of most of the rolex tests (dynamic and energized.. just less... focused?) Maybe that's why it stood out to me

    1. Ahaha I was in the same boat! At work watching dressage and trying to pretend that I was very busy :)

  3. I think this is it:

  4. Ouch! A 51 is terrible in eventing dressage, no? The lower score the better...I thought 20's and 30's were a more common score. Am I missing something or is that a misprint?


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