Golden tickets!

Golden tickets!

Never in my life have I had any desire to go to Vegas… but toss top world rated equestrians, spectacular horses and a few HJU Sock Sisters together…out came the credit cards and off I went. Having just had knee surgery that had complications, followed by the crap flu, and other not-so-thrilled-about health issues, I had the fear I’d drop dead on the walkway from the parking lot to the stadium but it did not stop me.

For the weeks building up to this trip, I attempted to convince myself this would be a once in the lifetime adventure. Five minutes into the first Dressage session I began planning 2017. To see live horses and riders of this caliber, should never be a once in a life time event for a Horse Junkie.

Only in Vegas does Dressage get an opening act, and yes people, it was Elvis – most appropriate.

Elvis complete with showgirls and fire...

Elvis complete with showgirls and fire…

I’m not sure if it was the jet lag, lack of sleep (it’s been awhile since the HJU bloggers had seen each other so there was a lot of catching up to do) or a slight hangover (yeah,  no comment) but as the first rider entered the stadium and made her cursorily lap, I teared up – this is the real deal! The first bell was rung and the afternoon was off, EIGHTEEN riders in all were competing, Eighteen riders I’ve seen in magazines, books and TV… I am seeing live.

As the first rider came down center line, halt, salute and proceed tracking left, I suddenly became aware that from my seat up above the horse and rider I saw more than I ever have in any other situations. I felt like I was lingering just above the rider and was along for the ride of a life time. Several times I felt my muscle memory cueing up to help with the bend in the corners. My shoulder would go back just a tad more to open the hips for the most amazing extended trot. No wonder I was sore the next day.

FEI World Cup Champions Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro  - photo by Keara

FEI World Cup Champions Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro – photo by Keara

All in all rather than taking notes to help with the detail blogs, I got totally caught up in a new spot, a spectator, the camera and pad sat in my lap as my jaw hung wide and I totally enjoyed each and every dressage rider for the pure beauty they and their horse created. The lessons I have had over the better part of a hundred years all rattled in my head. I could see riders stretch down with every step and the relaxing effect it had on the horse. I could not really see the tiny shift in seat bone to aid in the bend, the minute pulse of a finger to soften the horse or the slight pressure of an inside leg, but I could feel it happening.

The rest of HJU press doing their job. Amy top center Keara All in Black in the middle of the U

The rest of HJU press doing their job. Amy top center Keara All in Black in the middle of the U

As a “slightly” over-the-top perfectionist living and loving the “slightly” OCD sport of dressage it was a blast and an inspiration have the opportunity to just sit and enjoy my first FEI World Cup… I’ll get on my game going forward.

Cheryl