Last night, John and I went out of our eclectic-semi-western element and attended The International in Omaha with friends, Brenda and Tom. What is it? I tried to find a good description on their website to share with you, but there really wasn't one. Simply put, "a premier indoor equestrian show jumping sporting competition."
Beautiful horses of European decent (many I have heard of but hadn't seen until now) and their top notch riders were asked to complete a course of 13 jumps in 79 seconds. I believe the highest jump was 5'-something; many having only a stride or two between jumps. I found myself rocking on the heels of my feet and holding my breath every time the horse sprang up to clear the jump.
You all know how fond I am of bays so when this beautiful horse came into the arena, I decided to shoot some video with this blog in mind. It was that much more exciting when this horse cleared all of the jumps. I think only 5 in the whole competition cleared them all. This will give you a good idea of what it was all about.
I forgot my good camera so had to rely on the iphone. The still shots weren't so good, most having Baldy in the left hand corner in my picture. I swear I tried to move away from him but his big ol' head just kept migrating into my shots. But I was happy with this video clip.
After the preliminary rounds, the top eight horses came back in for the finals. The jumps were re-positioned and the time reduced to 45 (?) seconds. The horses were asked to move faster and it really changed the tone of the competition. The winner, a pretty gray, had a perfect run. The purse was $50,000. This same rider won the competition on Friday night which was another $30,000 - so not a bad pay day. I am curious what the split is between horse owner and rider? One newspaper article said some of the horses were valued close to $1 million.
This type of riding was out of my world but fun to watch. I could certainly appreciate the hard work that must go in to making these horses top notch competitors.