(Most of) the members of our CAA trip to the 2014 World Equestrian Games arrived in Paris on Tuesday morning. Then, after a welcome reception that evening, and after the jet lag had started to wear off, we boarded a bus, bright and early Wednesday morning, for our three-hour drive to Normandy … stopping for lunch in the beautiful little seaside town of Honfleur …

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lunch

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In the afternoon, we enjoyed a really interesting hours-long tour of the Normandy beaches. Our guide’s amazing breadth and depth of knowledge about the D-Day invasions made the tour especially meaningful. We made a few stops along the way, including one at the American Cemetery, where we were able to explore on our own for a little while.

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At one end of the cemetery is this memorial …

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… at the center of which is a statue representing the youth and spirit of America, rising out of the waves …

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statue

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Our final stop was a brief visit to Omaha Beach …

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beach

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But, of course, what we’re really here to see is the Driving Championship at the World Equestrian Games … which began just a few short hours ago with the first of four sessions of driven dressage.

Former World Champion Ijsbrand Chardon was the very first to go this morning, and his test earned a score of 42.12 penalty points. He said afterward that he felt his test was the best he’d driven all year but that he was not very pleased with the score.

Currently standing in fifth place after the morning session is the U.S. driver Misdee Wrigley Miller, with a score of 58.05. After her test, she said she was “very, very excited” to be here at the World Equestrian Games. She said that she’d arrived in Europe in April with a slightly different team of horses, but that she fell in love with a particular (new) horse. So, she said, she’s spent the last few months reorganizing the horses in her team, and it all just fell into place in the last couple of weeks.

Through a comedy of errors that I won’t go into here, I didn’t get any photos of Misdee’s dressage test. But I will have my camera trained on the the other two U.S. dressage tests — Lisa Stroud this afternoon, and Chester Weber tomorrow afternoon — and on all three of them during Saturday’s marathon and Sunday’s cones competition. And, we hope, the awards ceremony!!

In the meantime, here’s a view of the leaders of a Spanish team as they trot up the center line …

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