On this, the six-month anniversary of the WEG driving marathon, I just have to say that not much can beat a good marathon day.
And last year’s WEG driving marathon was spectacularly good for a marathon taking place here in the U.S. We had the most FEI-level four-in-hand drivers ever gathered together for a North American competition, including most of the world’s top four-in-hand drivers. We had beautiful marathon obstacles and beautiful weather. And we had huge crowds, most of whom had never seen combined driving before. More than once, while walking the course, we overheard people saying, “Wow, this is amazing!”
Then, after the marathon and my work day were done (after the marathon, of course, I had to go back to the office and prepare a blog post), we had a wonderful WEG evening to cap off an already wonderful WEG day. We had a friend visiting from Seattle, who had come to town for the weekend just to see the WEG driving. While I was working on my blog post for the day, we were offered two grandstand tickets for that night’s sold-out jumping finals — the Top Four, where the best four individual jumper riders each jump four rounds, once on their own horse and then once on each other’s horses — to determine the individual medals.
There were three of us, and Dana and I looked at each other and said to A.J., “no, we’ll pass.” And he said, “If you want to, you can … I don’t mind.” We looked at each other again and said, “Ok, we’ll take them!” Once I was done with work, we had about an hour before the Top Four was to start, so we walked over to the food court area to get something to eat. And there was that evening’s Univ. of KY football game, being shown on the jumbotron. Needless to say, A.J. was happy to stand there and eat pizza while watching football on the BIG screen and then to go home and watch the rest of the game. (He’s definitely a convert to driving, but he’s not as much of a horse person as either Dana or me.)
A.J. left for the bus back to downtown, and Dana and I headed to the stadium. Unfortunately, the quickest route to our seats was blocked off by that point, as the competition was about to begin. But we found an even better view at a standing-room area on the mezzanine and even ran into some friends to hang out with. Needless to say, it was wonderful to see the world’s top jumpers (riders and horses) competing.
When it was over and we were leaving, Dana was almost run over by one of Princess Haya’s bodyguards, which was an, um, exciting way to end the evening. And then on the bus ride back to town, a man sitting in front of us had the exciting tail-end of the football game playing on his cell-phone radio. He’d turned it up loud enough that those of us sitting near him could hear the broadcast. And others on the bus must’ve been listening as well because nearly everyone cheered when the Wildcats scored.