October was a busy month for eventing, and I'd like to go back to some of the things that stuck more to me than others. First of all Boekelo.
As usual Military Boekelo was buzzing with people and ambience. Or was it?
In all the FEI Eventing Nations Cup finale of 2023 reminded me a lot of the xc at Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Cause there were really no spectators out and about around the track, at least not for the FEI Eventing Nations Cup riders.
For some reason unknown to mankind, the eventing committee, or someone else involved, decided some years back that all team riders go first and then the rest.
Not too many years back in time the running order used to start with a batch of team riders, then another batch of team riders.
In this second batch, the first riders in teams with just the three riders on their teams, made their entrance. Then came the individual batch to be followed up with the segments of team rider 3(2) and 4(3).
This vouched for overall excitement, and also that at least the 3(2) and 4(3) rider of the teams always were riding their cross country in front of a huge crowd. These days not so much.
Now the whole FEI Eventing Nations Cup looked just like any other ordinary event out there, and also held a close recemblense to Global Champions Tour where the 5* show jumpers mostly ride for basically empty arenas.
With all the individual riders starting after the team riders it also makes me question the fairness of the game. Cause let's face it. With a few exceptions the ground conditions are normally way better in the early phase of a long cross country day, than in the afternoon.
It is also a fact that the earlier one finishes cross country, and get back to the stables, the longer your horse can rest and recover ahead of the Second Horse Inspection and final show jumping.
At Boekelo five horses were pulled out ahead of jumping. All of them individual competitors. Connected or not? You tell me!
Three Blind Mice
In the aftermath of Military Boekelo it was also painfully obvious the Ground Juror ones again were close to Three Blind Mice than anything else.
It was obvious for any views there should be a handful warnings and cards coming up, I was patiently waiting for two weeks for the updated list of Yellow Cards and warnings to be published.
In the end, one rider got a warning attached to the blood rule.
Nothing on the rider that rode like a disaster through the first water fence banking a corner on her way out, just to ride equally bad, and also really hard, into the "big" water complex and do a brutal face plant.
Nothing on other riders doing the exact same thing into that water. Also nothing on the rider that was pressing an obviously tired horse. Nothing at all but that tiny little warning according to the blood rule.
525 Dangerous Riding
Any Athletes who, at any time during the Competition deliberately or unintentionally by incompetence are exposing themselves, their Horse or any third party to a higher risk than what is strictly inherent to the nature of the Competition will be considered to have acted dangerously and will be penalised accordingly to the severity of the infringement. Such acts may include without limitation any of the following:
a) Riding out of control (Horse clearly not responding to the Athletes restraining or driving aids).
b) Riding fences too fast or too slow.
c) Repeatedly standing off fences too far (pushing the Horse to the foot of the fence, firing the Horse to the fence).
d) Repeatedly being ahead or behind the Horse movement when jumping.
e) Series of dangerous jumps.
f) Severe lack of responsiveness from the Horse or the Athlete.
g) Continuing after three clear refusals, a fall, or any form of elimination.
h) Endangering the public in any way (e.g. jumping out of the roped track).
i) Jumping obstacles not part of the course.
j) Wilful obstruction of an overtaking Athlete and/or not following the instructions of the Officials causing danger to another Athlete.
k) Pressing a tired Horse
Mondial du Lion
Next stop was Mondial du Lion at Le Lion d'Angers, France. I don't know what to say really. It was supposedly a World Championship for young eventing horses.
I know you cannot do anything about the weather, and I was there in 2012 when we watched the river grow bigger and bigger across the hippodrome and eventually flooding the cross country course, which lead to a total cancellation of the event.
But to run the dressage test at a World Championship on a flooded all weather footing arena doesn't feel up to standard.