We used to call it Advanced, but when a show is recognized by the FEI, they call Advanced FEI. Today the FEI drivers drove their dressage tests. It was another pleasant day, cloudy, but mild. Thunderstorms are predicted tonight. Because there has been so much rain – which has made the dressage arena lush and soft, – everyone is concerned about the condition of The Gulch obstacle. They are hoping that it will dry up so they can put some more gravel on top so it won’t be mucky. But Mother Nature will do what she wishes, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Something new – in this country at least – was Live Scoring! Scorer Richard Pringle along with Mike Arnold who operates DrivingNews.us were able to set it up so that scores were posted to the DrivingNews.us website every half hour or so. Fans didn’t have to wait until evening to know how their favorite driver did. Go to http://drivingnews.us for all the scores and Live Scoring throughout the weekend.
Even the dressage booths at Live Oak are very attractive. After the single horses and ponies, they had to be rearranged so that three went to the top of the arena, and the other two placed at B and E. Their crew was so efficient it only took them eight minutes to get them in place.
Chester Weber scored the best score of the day with 36.86. Since Live Oak is hosting the USEF National Championships for Singles and Fours, Chester is well on his way to an eighth (I think!) Championship – consecutively. It was a beautiful test to watch and there were hundreds of spectators (and remember it is only Thursday!) to watch and cheer for the hometown favorite. Jim Fairclough is second, with David Saunders third. Shelly Temple is leading the single ponies with a score of 45.95.
California’s Leslie Berndl won the FEI Single Horse class driving Fritz Grupe’s Uminco with 49.92. There are quite a few drivers from the west, including Josh Rector of Arizona and Joe Yoder driving Mark Schmidt’s team, and Megan Sibiga with a single pony.
A favorite tradition – the course walk with the infamous beer stop – was cancelled to preserve the footing of the track. However, beer was plentiful at the briefing and included a barbecue dinner for everyone.
I can hear the thunder and see the lightening from my hotel room. Hopefully the storm will be brief and not dump too much water on the already lush Live Oak grounds.