There was a pretty big Eventing horse show going on at The Horse Park at Woodside this weekend. Eventing is the trifecta of Dressage, Cross Country, and Show Jumping. Last weekend, while 'test driving' some $5,000 saddles (ouch!), Kelly had met a woman who was going to be competing, and had been invited to come check it out as a spectator.
And we all know that she's just a girl that can't say no... to anything involving horses.
I may have took another thousand photos. I will not be posting them all.
But while we were trying to find a good place to watch the Cross Country trials (man, the course is IMMENSE!), we stopped in a small patch of shade. While we were standing there, getting some good views of the jumps...
...Kelly realized that she was not alone, by the snuffle snuffle of something behind her head.
It was one of the competitors, and his handler, looking for a place to get tacked up. Kelly was, of course, happy to share her shade.
So this is "Worth The Wait", and he's a Warmblood. Kelly seemed to know what that meant, and made intelligent conversation with Worth's rider, but I kept thinking "Warmblood? Sounds like some vampire moniker. I wonder if he sparkles..."
Worth The Wait, it turns out, was just finishing up his set, and had done the dressage and show jumping the previous day. And Cross Country was his favourite thing to do. His rider asked Kelly if she was comfortable around horses. Oh yes, she said. "Well, feel free to pet him. He's a people-person. And oh, here's some apple pieces for a snack for him. Not too many. He'll get more if he runs really, REALLY fast in his race."
Oh man, Kelly was in heaven, getting to 'help' take care of a horse getting ready for his race. And she had a bit of a job to do... we were standing in the shade of a Russian Olive, and Worth The Wait kept wanting to sample the leaves. So Kelly was charged with distracting him so he stopped snacking on something that might give him a tummy ache. And when she'd successfully get between him and the tree, he'd turn his attention to the weeds at his feet. But she was happy to try to distract him, while I watched the racers on the course.
Whoops, Kelly. Worth The Wait has given up on snacking on the trees and weeds, and is now licking the bird poop off of the fence post.
But soon Worth the Wait and his rider were ready to go. They were the second-to-last competitors that afternoon.
I turned my attentions back to the course.
This is the second jump (hence the #2. Dur. Sorry, I guess that was pretty obvious), and it might not look imposing, but that thing is HUGE. I would look completely inelegant trying to hoist myself over it with any sort of haste, and these horses just *sproing*, and they're over it.
I think I liked the water jumps best.
Or maybe it was just that I was going blind, looking into the sun for two hours.
And now it is Worth The Wait's turn.
He's spunky, and you can tell he is READY to go. He even bucked and reared a bit getting into the starting gate.
And he's OFF!
...and he clears the first jump with ease.
Galloping towards the second jump.
And then a few jumps I didn't catch...
Now he's coming down towards the water jumps.
The first jump into the lake.
And dashing across the lake.
And then the jump out of the lake.
Then they run out of view, for another dozen or so jumps, and another set of water hurdles. I don't think there's a zoom lens long enough to catch ALL the action in the course from one vantage point. But we watched, waiting to see him again...
Here he comes! Galloping towards the finish line.
And over the final jump. Curse the blurry photo.
It was the perfect end to a wonderful afternoon of watching horses, and I thanked the rider afterwards, for being so gracious in sharing the pre-race time with my daughter. It's something she will always remember, and cheering for a horse you 'know' intensifies the experience immensely.
"Best afternoon EVER, mom!"