It’s nice to know that even at the very pinnacle of the sport, horses do naughty stuff in warm up and riders have bad days.
It couldn’t possibly be because of the clear plastic rain ponchos the arena tenders were wearing or perhaps a man-eating camera stand complete with whirring, clicking, and buzzing as the horse tried to listen to the rider’s aids.
If you take a real careful look, you’ll see that management the world over has all sorts of contingency plans for warm-up arenas.
Raise your hand if you have warmed up in parking lots (check), by trotting up and down a road (check), had to dodge strollers with children trailing dirty diaper bags (check), loose horses (check), loud, LOUD screaming trainers (check), and those huge, dive-bombing black horse flies that are big enough to carry off a small Jack Russell Terrier (like to see them try to grab a few dogs I know.) These are not annoyances. These things are planned. They know you need stimulation to wake your horse up and these are only creative ways to assist you in your warm-up. Or to ruin your chances… take your pick.
It’s nice to know that even at the Olympics, warm-up is an unofficial competition, too. Andrew Nicholson of the NZL three-day team was held up for 10 minutes in his warmup while a heavy thunder shower came through, and amidst his vocal complaint about it, I actually found a little secret kernel of information about his warmup routine. So maybe that was planned, too. Ah ha!
Hey, you think I am a conspiracy theorist?
Well, now. Take a look at those judge’s huts. Now don’t they have bulletproof plexiglass on all sides? What do you think that is for? Hint: just think rocks and bottles being thrown as East End London erupts in riots after a British dressage princess receives a point or two south of a German score…
And there is a reason that the stands are so far from the horses….no errant Cokes or water bottles to splash on a shiny top hat, and officially too far for Witches’ Spells to have any effect…..that is, if you BELIEVE in such stuff.
Me? No. I just make sure, like the Japanese rider that I sprinkle salt over myself and my horse before I go in the arena.