Wendy Ying attended the post-dressage press conference at Lipica and sent the following report:

Tom Rumff, president of the organizing committee, welcomed the competitors and guests to Lipica and congratulated the winners of dressage: Peter Koux of Denmark with a single pony, Dieter Baackmann of Germany with a pair of ponies, and Bucker Tobias with a four-in-hand team of ponies.

When asked why the organizers chose to host the pony championships rather than a horse championship, Rumff responded: “We wanted to start with the pony championships and see if we could do it here in Slovenia. Most of the show infrastructure is new, and we have hopes of using it for future championships.”

The competitors’ impressions of Slovenia were all positive.

Tobias was impressed with the facility and the surroundings.

Koux was also impressed with the facility but said they have had a very wet, cold summer in Denmark and while the weather is great for people on holiday (like this reporter), it is a bit of a challenge for conditioning from the northern climates.

When asked about the course: Tobias thinks obsctacle 6 on the hill will be the most difficult for both ponies and drivers.
Baackmann thinks the course is a good mix of technical and open galloping hazards, and the water is not to be underestimated. 

Jan De Boer was asked what the challenge is for showing small ponies against the larger ponies. He said, “When showing the smaller ponies, we prefer the more technical hazards, while the larger ponies have an advantage in the galloping hazards. The Dutch are close behind Germany, so will take risks tomorrow.”

Shelly Temple was asked about the difficulties of traveling from America to Europe to compete. She said, “The travel has taken its toll on our ponies. It was hot when we left the U.S., then cold in Germany, now hot again in Slovenia, but we are looking forward to the rest of the competition.”

As I said in my first post, this is a great place for a competition. I saw first-hand today that the flow of traffic for competitors works easily and keeps the horses relaxed. It is basically one-way traffic as your work your way around the grounds to the main arena and then driver have a very short walk to back to the barns to untack. For the support people, it is very easy to walk a few steps from the last warm-up arena to the stands to watch. Then they can easily access the barn area directly from the stands with the proper credentials. For the spectators, they can observe the last warm-up arena from the top of the stands and then walk around the seating area to meet the competitors at the exit of the ring for a congratulatory hug.

There are also two hotels on the grounds with full-service restaurants open late for horse-show people. For overflow, the town is only a five-minute drive and has a few nice hotels and restaurants and a large grocery store and shopping mall. Every night in the tent, the show hosts a party for horse-show folk. Here in Europe, most competitors camp on the grounds, so show organizers bring in bathrooms and showers. In the campground, the smells of cuisine from around Europe are in the air. “Burger Bob” had already had a cultural exchange with the Hungarians, who are cooking goulash in a giant cauldron over an open flame next to our camp.

Now I am off to the nightly team debriefing with Chester and Michael. After that, the competitors will be back to walking hazards and then, at 9:00 p.m. is “Slovenia Night” and the dressage awards ceremonies.