world championships


Before I left for Germany, I kept checking the extended forecast for this area. At the time, the weather people were predicting sunny weather with temperatures in the mid-70s. “Ahhhh,” I thought. How nice that was going to be after our long, hot summer at home. And then, just a day or so before my flight, the temperature predictions jumped up to the low 80s.

And so, of course, after the cold, wet summer they’ve had here, this week has been quite warm. Yesterday, unbelievably, it was nearly 90 degrees.

Perhaps because of the heat, or the sheer difficulty of getting through the crowds, there didn’t seem to be as many hordes of national fans as we often see, running between obstacles to support their drivers. But there sure were an awful lot of people everywhere. It looked like every “local” horse fan from near and far had come out to enjoy the day.

In the end, Sweden’s Tomas Eriksson won the marathon phase, Australia’s Boyd Exell (the reigning gold medalist) came in second, and Germany’s Georg von Stein finished in third. I heard that Georg drove a cracking fast marathon and would’ve won except that he had a few penalties in one of the obstacles.

Overall, Boyd is now in the lead, eleven points ahead of Chester Weber. Georg von Stein is in third place so far.

Going into today’s cones competition, the Dutch are in the gold-medal position. Germany is in second place, Sweden is in third, and the USA is in fourth.

Here are some of my favorite photos from yesterday’s marathon, in the order that the competitors drove:

.

Chester Weber’s lovely leaders

.

Chester Weber in obstacle 6

.

Boyd Exell in obstacle 6

.

Georg von Stein on his way to obstacle 4; he got a huge cheer from the German crowd as he drove past and turned the corner

.

Joe Yoder (USA) at obstacle 2

.

Hungary’s Zoltan Lazar at obstacle 2

.

Koos de Ronde (NED) in obstacle 2

.

… and Koos (see the orange dots in the distance?) making his way to obstacle 3 through the crowds, which, unbelievably, were not kept off the track here

.

Germany’s Christoph Sandmann entering obstacle 7

.

Jimmy Fairclough (USA) entering obstacle 7

.

some of the crowd at obstacle 8 … the man with the Hungarian flag must’ve spent the day walking from obstacle to obstacle to support his fellow countrymen

.

.

Hungary’s Jozsef Dobrovitz in obstacle 8

.

Ysbrand Chardon (NED) at the end of the marathon course

.

I should’ve mentioned this earlier, but (in case you missed mention of it in my Twitter feed over to the right on this page): if you’d like instant updates, tidbits, results, etc. … you can follow me on the CAA’s Twitter page as well.

We’re heading out to the marathon course early this morning, to try to get good viewing spots at whichever obstacle each of us particularly wants to see (or to start at). There will probably be tens of thousands of spectators on the course today.

Over the past couple of days, I’ve taken a look at most of the obstacles:

.

obstacle 1

.

obstacle 2

.

obstacle 3

.

obstacle 4

.

In trying to find obstacle 6, I got slightly lost in the woods, but I had a lovely long walk in the cool, sweet-smelling shade.

.

.

,

And then I found it, sitting quietly in the woods. I’ll be here first thing today, and I’m sure it won’t be quiet anymore, what with the huge crowd, drivers yelling encouragement and instruction to their horses, and the sound of hooves and wheels on these big wooden bridges!

.

.

.

.

.

And, just because there haven’t been any horses yet in this blog post and because I think they’re gorgeous, here are a few more views of the Spanish horses of Juan Robles Marchena of Sevilla.

.

.

.

.

Yesterday was the first day of dressage here in Riesenbeck, and I did something a bit different. Instead of getting all the “usual” photos of dressage tests being driven, I mostly hung around the warmup arena … and the in-gate, where one is up close as the teams trot smartly across the path, through the gate, and into the electric atmosphere of the huge arena lined with thousands of spectators.

Currently, Chester Weber (USA) is in the lead. Less than half a point behind him is Boyd Exell (AUS), and Ysbrand Chardon (NED) is in third. Dressage finishes up today, and then we move on to the marathon and the cones.

So here is my slightly different perspective on the leaders after the first day of dressage.

.

Currently in third place, Dutch driver, trainer, and instructor Ysbrand Chardon is seen here with his student Wolf von Buchholtz (ARG):

.

.

.

Also by watching the warmup, I learned that Spain’s Juan Antonio Real Garcia is trained by Boyd Exell (currently in second place and the reigning individual gold medalist).

.

.

.

And, finally, here are a few photos of Chester Weber: entering the warmup area, in the warmup (with his trainer and U.S. coach Michael Freund), trotting to the main arena, and entering the dressage arena for his test.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Here are a few scenes from our first day at the venue (which was still relatively quiet in the early afternoon, but packed with people after the day’s festivities) and the opening ceremony for the world championship.

.

if you’re, as this sign asks, still tired, there are several places to find a cup of coffee

.

unlike the “crowd” you see here, the beer trucks were truly packed by about 6:00 p.m.

.

food choices abound: pizza, sausages, fish sandwiches, schnitzel, salad, and more … if you need something sweet, one option is this colorful candy truck

.

.

one of the antique vehicles presented in the opening ceremony (and used to bring dignitaries and show officials into the arena) was the same (fascinating but rather noisy and slow) horseless carriage you saw in yesterday’s post

.

on our trip are folks from Argentina, Canada, Great Britain, and the U.S. … unfortunately, I didn’t get any good photos of the lone driver representing Argentina, and there aren’t any drivers representing Canada … but I kind of love this photo

.

if you’ve been following the blog for a while, you’ll know that I have a serious weak spot for baroque horses; these two beauties are the leaders of one of the Spanish teams competing in the championship

.

the U.S. team, left to right: Joe Yoder, James Fairclough, and Chester Weber

.

these are only some of the nine German drivers; as the host nation, Germany is allowed to have more individual drivers, in addition to the three drivers on the team

.

after all the drivers were introduced, we were given highlights of a couple of other shows that will be held tomorrow; one of these is a show of German cold-blood horses … but look at the adorable foal!

.

after the heat of the day and the opening ceremony, we needed a bit of a pick-me-up

.

when our group was preparing to leave the grounds around 6:00 p.m., the party tent (here), the beer trucks, and the wine-tasting stands were in full swing

.

We’ll be back over there in a little while this morning for the first day of dressage!

Our CAA group is heading out to the venue in a little while, for our first day at the World Four-in-Hand Championship. Today is a get-your-bearings day, with time to see where all the food vendors are (and what they have to offer), to explore the trade fair, and to enjoy this afternoon’s opening ceremony.

Yesterday, when I drove out to the venue for the first time to a) make sure I could find it, as I’m our group’s designated driver this year (!) and b) pick up all of our tickets, I saw this unusual (and rather noisy) but fascinating contraption being driven around:

.

.

« Previous PageNext Page »