After the first day of dressage at WEG, Chester Weber (USA) and Ijsbrand Chardon (NED), defending World Champion, are tied for first place with a score of 35.97. Chardon was the second to drive this morning and set the bar high. Jim Fairclough followed Chardon and with a score of 51.97 is standing sixth.
There were only six drives in the morning session, which started at 9. It was over a little after 10, leaving a four hour lunch break. It was great to see so many people in the stands. I don’t know the capacity, but I’m going to find out. The main tribune was completely full for the afternoon session and the stands across the arena were almost full. While many spectators were driving people, I’d say most were not, which is great!
Theo Timmerman of The Netherlands is standing 3rd, which is putting their team in a great position as a nation. Koos de Ronde is still to drive tomorrow. Bill Long received a huge applause as he finished his test. His score of 64.90 was surely a disappointment but his many fans were happy to see him driving in another world championship.
Even though some have expressed doubt about this being a ‘real’ World Championship because of the low number of entries (which is truly disappointing), it certainly feels like a real World Championship! The crowds cheer loudest for their countrymen. When hanging around the driving venue, we see many friends and recognize others. But when venturing to other areas of the Park, it feels more like a huge state fair or festival.
As of Wednesday, attendance is 351.574! Many days attendance has been over 30,000. There is not a cloud in the sky, and the temperatures are cool in the morning but getting to 80 by afternoon. I think some drivers are concerned about the 80+ temperatures on Saturday.
Tomorrow Tucker Johnson and Boyd Exell will drive, so it will be very interesting to see if they can best Weber and Chardon’s score.