Anyone who is friends with me on Facebook is most likely well aware of the fact that I got to see the Longines Global Champions Tour one Thursday. I think I uploaded a picture every 10 minutes for most of the day – and I was there for 13 hours!
The weather was actually quite nice at the start, and the classes started at a relatively low height with riders I had never heard of. (One of the USA riders was named Tara Couch – the coincidence made me laugh.) It was all held at the Horseguards Parade in Westminster – where Henry VIII used to have jousting tournaments… and there I was watching one of the largest global showjumping competitions. The arena also had the gorgeous backdrop of the surrounding Westminster buildings and a view of the top of the London Eye.
Of course, I was really there to see Beezie Madden ride. I think I’ve had a Beezie poster since I was still subscribed to Young Rider magazine at 12 or 13. I was sitting – for the first part of the day – on one of the short sides of the arena right in front of the combination, which is where most rails were dropped and about 80% of the falls happened. (It was a very exciting place to sit. haha.)
And since it was London… the skies opened up and dumped buckets of water on us all. I pulled out my cap and pushed the hood of my jacket up and huddled in my seat until the rain got so bad I could feel it seeping into my boots. The things we do for horses….
Once we got up to the Grand Prix riders (Beezie, Eric Lamaze, Reed Kessler, Jessica Springsteen, etc.) it got more exciting. There was rain, people were running for cover, horses were a bit more spooky… Unfortunately Beezie knocked too many rails to get into the jump off, but the jump off was fantastic.
Throughout the day, I was also one of the few people who cheered and clapped for all the Team USA riders… And I did so loudly. I felt proud and patriotic during the awards ceremony for the class where USA got gold and silver. Towards the end of the day, as the jumps got higher and the riders were more well known, Team GBR got loud cheers from the entire audience… so I felt I should try to make up for the lack of Americans in the stands. haha.
Then, I got to enjoy some polo! Ireland v Wales and then England v Bangkok. At that point I was soaked all the way through because no matter what I did… the rain had been falling sideways. It got under my coat and down in my boots… But it was one of the best days I’ve had in London! If any of the dappled grays go missing….. (It won’t be me, but that’s just because I don’t currently have anywhere to put one…)
A horse is the projection of peoples’ dreams about themselves – strong, powerful, beautiful – and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existence. ~Pam Brown