Sorry it has taken be so long to blog about Saturday night’s event. Life’s been busy, but at least that keeps me on my toes.
The ASPCA Maclay Regionals were an amazing experience. It is something every horse lover or fan of elite level show jumping should see at least once. As a stepping stone on the way to the Grand Prix and Olympic show jumping events, Big Equitation trains the young riders who could one day be big stars who represent our country internationally.
These Junior riders (18 and under) are incredibly skilled. Riders completed a difficult course set at 3’6” that included bending lines, rollbacks, and natural as well as bright obstacles. Most riders were called back to the flat phase, were they were asked to execute various tasks at all three basic gaits.
The top four were then tested over a shorter course, which they had to memorize based on the verbal instructions given by the judges. The test was a bit more complicated, even though it was executed over the same fences as the first course. Trot fences, sharper rollbacks, and lead changes right in front of the judges table added to the difficulty. While I have heard that the test at the national Final back east is much harder, I do think that these riders will go prepared.
One thing that stuck with me from the evening was seeing what may have been the first victory gallop for some of these riders. May it be the first of many.