Wellington, Fla. – Jan. 11, 2022 – It has been a long year for everyone in the world. Covid in all its forms has changed how we work and play. Our playtime and work time involves horses and I think that we are very lucky because we have been able to go about our sport with a great deal of normal activity. I would hope that we will continue to conduct our sport in a similar manner for the coming WEF season. Enough of the heavy stuff and get right to the first week of the winter series.
The first order of business is for me to report that Erynn Ballard (CAN) will begin 2022 as the FEI leading female rider. She is number 1 in the world. The second on the agenda is the new ownership of WEF has made improvements in the footing in some areas and will be making more as time goes on. The flow of people traffic has also been improved to create better safety for both horses and for people on foot. The face of the show grounds will changing and I know that our sport will be better for these changes.
The first week of WEF 2022 is a show that is under national rules and FEI rules do not apply. The most significant rule that has stood out for me is that time faults are calculated differently. National rules count 1 time fault for every elapsed second and the FEI counts 1 time fault for every 4 elapsed seconds. Personally I like the FEI because I think it reflects a more accurate picture of the round in question where the National rule seems to be more critical of the round. It does result in fewer ties at the end of the class. However if you jump clean you have a chance to win the class.
Our course designer for the week will be Eric Hasbrouck (USA) and has been the CD of record for the first week of competition for a few years now.
The Small grand prix on Thursday (WEF grand prix) was an excellent example of Eric’s work. There were 4 clean and a couple of clear rounds with just time faults. The TA was part of the tests on the course but it was a fair test. The right decision was not to change the TA. The feature grand prix today is the Sunday afternoon will be the $75,000 Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix.
There are 32 starters and all will compete. The course will feature 1 triple combination, 1 double combination, a plank vertical, 1 closed Liverpool vertical, 1 triple bar and 1 short pole vertical. There are 13 numbered obstacles with 16 efforts. The TA is set at 81 seconds and will not be changed. The speed is to be 375m/m. The weather is perfect. It is 1.30pm so let’s begin the first walk of 2022.
#1 vertical 1.45m or 4.10ft and the approach favors the right lead. The expectations of 2 riders were quickly torn asunder at the first obstacle.
#2 oxer 1.45/1.50m or 4.10/5ft comes on a long gallop on the right bending rein and tumbled to the turf 3 times. No given distance.
#3 vertical comes on a long gallop on the left bending rein with no given distance and was displaced from the yellow cups 3 times.
#4a vertical 1.45m or 4.10ft comes on a turn back left rein near and away from the in-gate. This combination did not present a great deal difficulty as #4a fell from grace only 1 time.
#4b oxer 1.45/1.50m or 4.10/5ft comes from #4a with a distance of 8m or 26.3ft and tumbled to the turf 2 times.
#5 oxer 1.45/1.55m or 1.10/5.1ft comes from #4b on the bending right rein with no given distance (8 strides) and was only 1 of 2 obstacles to receive no punishment today.
#6 a plank vertical 1.50m or 5ft comes from #5 in a straight line with a distance of 19.50m or 64ft and slid from the flat plank cups 1 time.
#7 is a closed Liverpool vertical 1.50m or 5ft coming on the right turn back and splashed down 5 times.
#8 oxer 1.45/1.55m or 4.10/5.1ft comes from #7 in a straight line with a distance of 23m or75.6ft and fell from the sky 1 time.
#9 oxer 1.45/1.60m or 4.10/5.3ft comes on a long left turn back and was bashed to the floor 2 times.
#10 is the short pole vertical 1.50m or 5ftand comes from #9 on a soft bend left rein and with a distance of 25.50m or 83.9ft received damage only 1 time.
#11 The triple bar 1.45/1.85 or 4.10/5.10ft comes on the right turn back and coming home. The triple bar is a set up obstacle (sets the test for what comes next) and as such does not need to be a serious threat on its own. The triple bar today was not faulted.
#12a oxer 1.45/1.50m or 4.10/5ft comes from #11 in a straight line with a distance of 27m or 88.6ft and fell from grace 3 times.
#12b vertical 1.45m or 4.10ft comes from #12a with a distanced of 8m or 26.3ft and was crushed 5 times.
#12c vertical 1.45m or 4.10ft comes from #12b with a distance of 11.50m or 37.9ft and received stricter treatment as #12b and was thrashed 8 times.
#13 oxer 1.45/1.65m or 4.10/5.5ft was the final fence in the first round today. #13 comes on the right rein towards the in-gate and sealed the fate of 1 rider. No given distance.
This will end the walk of the $75,000 Rosenbaum PLLC grand prix. The final results of the first round will show that there were 8 clear rounds. There was 1 round with 1 time fault and 1 round with 2 time faults. There were 9 rounds of 4 faults, 1 with 5 faults and 2 with 7 faults. The rest will compete another day.
I feel that this was the end of the pre winter season and next week we will commence the WEF winter series. As a national grand prix I believe that Eric Hasbrouck created an exceptional course in the grand prix today but also in the WEF class on Thursday. I have often said that these Grand Prix courses are some of the most difficult to design. This was a job well done.
I started last year to point out key design tests and this week I will point out the use of the triple bar as a set up jump. The triple bar today was not faulted but was used to create the toughest test on the course. There were 16 rails in the triple combination and was the hardest test today. The continuing ride on the 88.6ft or 27m and the shorter distances in the combination was a test of the obedience of the horse and the accuracy of the rider. In the future look for the triple bar, wall, and the water jump as fences used to set up the following test(s). That should do it for the opening week. Next week we will begin the FEI rated series and I look forward to the all star lineup of riders and horses and the courses that will provide us great competition. Until next week I am Dave Ballard.