February 23, 2009

A Swedish candybag

What a weekend…
Swedish riders won the world cup classes both in dressage and show jumping in Gothenburg.
There was one happy crowd in there I can tell you, I turned both deaf and had no feeling left in my hands after all the clapping.

First, the dressage - and what warms my heart the most: Briar and Jan Brink.
Their last show on Swedish soil together. And they won!

Jan Brink gave a very touching interview at the prize ceremony.
He said it had not been easy for him to keep his thoughts concentrated, knowing that this was their last show together in Sweden, and it was so marvellous to win just because of this.
When asked how he had been able to keep Briar at the top for so long, he said “keeping him happy. Letting him have time off, varying the work including hacking out, and daily turn-outs.”
I can buy that.
What also warmed my heart was that the loyal owner AND breeder of Briar, Hans-Yngve Göransson, also was called out to the prize ceremony.
He has turned down some impressive amounts of money, folks. There are not many breeders that still are owners when a world star is retired.
Way to go, Hans-Yngve!
When asked what Briar is going to do when he retires, Jan answered. “Oh, he is going to spend some time on his favourite hobby, breeding”. (Laughter roars through the arena)

And what a cool horse.
When turning up the centre line at the end of the program, the spectators couldn’t keep from clapping to the music. It turns somewhat out of rhythm. Briar not only stays calm, but keeps HIS rhythm in the passage. Wow.
And walking out of the arena, when 11.200 people in the audience is standing up clapping, yelling and cheering and the noise is overwhelming, Briar stops at the tightest spot close to the audience to rub his nose on the leg. Totally relaxed.
I will always remember that.
My eyes were wet, but I don’t believe they were the only ones…

We also saw an upcoming dressage equipage, which might keep Sweden at the top; Minna Telde and Don Charly.

They came second.
I really liked what I saw here, guys.
Talented dressage riders live dangerously if they don't have loads of money themselves.
They spend 4-5 years educating the horse to GP-level, but at that time the horse is worth a lot, and of course it is tempting for the owner to sell.
Minna experienced this situation around Christmas. When she warmed up before the WC class in Stockholm in December, several potential buyers were watching. In spite of that she went out there, and came very close to beat Anky/Painted Black. Some nerves!
She managed with the help of good friends to raise a loan and purchased Don Charly herself a short time after that.
What a marvellous feeling it must have been then on Friday to come second in the WC.
Both she and the horse have had health problems, so it is so nice to see them at the top.
I will follow closely in the time to come…

The WC-class in show jumping was really, really tough.
All the best riders were there, but out of the starting field of 36 riders, only four qualified for jump off, two of them Swedish (which of course was very popular).

All riders gave their best, but this time Svante Johansson/ Saint Amour did a super round, and won the class. Svante was very happy a year ago when the stallion was bought and placed with him. This was their best result ever, so it was one very happy rider at the prize ceremony on Sunday.
Thomas Velin came second, Rolf Göran Bengtsson 3rd and Alvaro Miranda 4th. So none of the top ranked made it.

Most charming?

The Shetlands pony Fonzie, his buddy the dog Mango and their owner Inger Hillskog Roth.
Fonzie does piaffe, passage, canter pirouttes and Spanish walk in addition to a lot of other tricks. I just love to see two animals working together, and they really loved to perform in front of the audience, no doubt about it.
I almost laughed my head off at the dog, he was as hyper as a five-year-old child just before Santa arrives...

As the whole exhibition centre is filled with horse equipment during GHS it is very easy to empty your wallet. (Funny how I always manage to squeeze in another saddle pad. Or two.)

A princess wagon, anyone?

But it was not only the show that was fun. The socialising part was just as good.
I met a childhood friend over lunch, whom I have not met for 20 years. We had a lot of fun in our early teens, also with horses.
It was so nice to see her again, and we had a lot of laughs together now too, but also some more serious moments. Time went fast, so we scheduled a new meeting for the summer, I’m looking forward to that.
We were a total of 11 horse crazy people that travelled from Oslo, staying at the same hotel.
We had a very nice dinner together at a Thai restaurant on Saturday evening, but otherwise just met at the hotel bar in the evening and spent the rest of the time as each and everyone thought best.

It was a relaxed and fun weekend, so we have already decided a rerun next year.


Irene said...

Önskar att jag varit där! Alltid trevligt, speciellt när man möter vänner!

HorseOfCourse said...

Hej Irene! Välkommen tillbaka, och grattis på födelsedagen!