WOW! What a great day for the sport. It would have been nice to have more teams finish, but with Evening as very young and small discipline in Latin America, it was a great. Out of the 10 teams from 14 countries that started, we have 5 team still in competition and 13 countries still represented with individual riders. I really think that everyone really respected the difficulty of the course and rode accordingly making the day as safe as it was. I felt bad for the anchor riders for both Guatemala and Mexico. Being the strongest riders of both teams I think that after seeing the course ride well all day, the pressure to do well got to them and they both made mistakes by perhaps having to much speed and both ended up eliminated at different questions 1/2 way around the course. The Puerto Rico team was manned by only one member, California based rider Lauren Billys who took an unfortunate fall at the big oxer #16. Neither she or the horse were hurt. Virginia based Argentinian rider Jose Ortelli Jr. had a clear round, but was later transported to the hospital for the night for breathing problems. I hope we see him back today. Being an FEI Games, there are restriction on medications for riders as well as the horses. If they were able to help him without medication there is not issue.
To end the Day Team USA leads the pack, with Canada 2nd and Brazil in third.
Here is a photo of the rake from an earlier post, as it looked once ready for competition. The rake itself caused only one problem, that for Canadian Hawley Bennett riding Five O’Clock Somewhere. The B element caught one or two as the arrowheads were quite narrow. The distance on the the right side was an uphill left bending 4 strides and an uphill right bending 6 strides on the left option.
In a previous post I showed you the Golf Ball fence. Here is a photo from the back. This combination actually caused one run-out only all day. This uphill bending combination of four strides was fence 4 A-B and everyone gave it the respect of a narrow early combination.
As I said in an earlier post about the spectator interest in Equestrian sport, the crowds for XC were amazing! They sold 13,000 tickets ahead and estimates from the gate were that the total attendance was over 30,000 total. I know that getting around the course except on the gallop tracks was almost impossible. There is one thing I will say for the crowds here in Mexico however, unlike people at most big events I have experienced in the USA, he Mexican people do not act like pedestrians own the right away and smile and saw hello as you navigate your way through the crowd in a golf cart.
The Santa Sophia facility is beautiful and a eal asset for the sport of Eventing in Mexico. Plans are already underway to offer future Championship level competitions at this venue. To he right is the new statue erected in the circle as you turn up to the clubhouse. It is hard to get a good photo that shows the depiction of all three of the disciplines of Eventing.
Every good day of XC deserves a good party and our host and he property owner Humberto knows how to throw a party. The hacienda style clubhouse was turned into Fiesta central for all riders, grooms, family, officials and sponsors. The festivities started with a great Mariachi band followed by a feast of traditional Mexican fare.
Wayne with Monika, who was my tour director and driver at the test event.
More Later! Including history of the area and the Agave theme fence.