Olivia D’Errico Accepts Trophy for Team Canada Juniors at Bromont

Olivia D’Errico Accepts Trophy for Team Canada Juniors at Bromont

I arrived almost too late to see them…Olivia and her nine-year-old mare, She’s the One.  The CEC final was scheduled for 2pm, so Dave and I took our time driving to Bromont and stopped for brunch, although we were careful to avoid the Champlain Bridge; we took the Mercier and Hwy 138 instead.  Good thing…because not 40 minutes after we’d arrived and my cousin, Rico, found us, his lithe, lovely, determined daughter Olivia was up next.  I don’t think it was quite 1pm yet.  Whew!  They did a beautiful job; clearly, She’s the One, a Dutch Warmblood, understands her job:  she gives nice air-time and brings all four hooves under just as she should, nicely symmetrical.  

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Olivia D’Errico and “She’s the One” !

Olivia D’Errico and “She’s the One” !

First competitor on the course, Olivia D’Errico and her mare She’s the One set the tone with a faultless run. The jump-off being immediate in such circumstances, D’Errico tackles the course once again, and remains faultless in a time of 41.61.”  I just had to blog

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Hickstead and Lamaze: A Big “Ask” Answered

Hickstead and Lamaze:  A Big “Ask” Answered

Spruce Meadows in Calgary, Alberta, hosts two of the most renowned, challenging equestrian events in the world.  Yesterday, I watched the BMO Financial Nation’s Cup (France won though Canada was a close second), and today, I watched the CN International Cup.  Sixteen-year-old Hickstead, called the Wonder Horse, and rider, Eric Lamaze, who brought gold home to Canada from the Olympics (up to then, I’d thought the highest medal was bronze; that’s what Canada usually wins) and is the Number One rider in the world…let me say that again…in the world, won the CN with nary a thought.  As I watched Hickstead in the BMO and again today in the first round, I thought:  “this horse knows exactly what he’s there to do, knows exactly what each jump requires…and then just does it.”  I was gratified to hear Hickstead’s owner say in an interview, “…he was a stumblebum in the early years…and now, it’s like he says to Eric, ‘just sit there and be a good boy, and I’ll take care of it.'”  Then, when Eric accepted the trophy (and the cheque) for the CN today, he too stated:  “Hickstead is an amazing horse…basically, I just let him go…he knew exactly what he was doing…and I didn’t even feel that he’d lost a shoe towards the end of the second round…he didn’t falter.”  You’ve gotta imagine Hickstead’s thoughts evolving in the nine years Lamaze has been his rider.  At first, he must have thought:  “…um, okay, so you want me to jump these funny-looking fence things.  I can do that…but geez, they’re high.”  And then, after the umpteenth competition: “…oh, I get it.  I can’t let my feet touch the rails cuz if they touch the rails and the rails come down, we lose…right?  Okay, now I really get it.”  

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So Proud of Olivia D’Errico!

So Proud of Olivia D’Errico!

I found out quite by chance about a month ago (through Evelyne Villers’ excellent Chronique in Premiere Edition) that my own cousin’s daughter, Olivia D’Errico, has qualified for the Quebec Equestrian Games which will be held at Bromont on the 16th to 18th of September.  Bravo, Olivia.  I’ll see you at Bromont!  (Meanwhile, I asked Rico, my cousin and her proud Dad, to let me use some photos on this blog site…let me know, cuz!)…and so he did. Unfortunately, the great jump pic that I wanted was “security-enhanced” so I couldn’t publish it here. But I have found another! Brava, Olivia and “She’s the One”, your lovely mare! I’ll see you at Bromont!

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Linus at the CHHAPS Pacific Canadian Horse Show 2011

Linus at the CHHAPS Pacific Canadian Horse Show 2011

My fingers have been hovering over the keyboard for about five minutes now, much like the scene in You’ve Got Mail in which Tom Hanks ponders how to explain his no-show on his date with Meg Ryan.  I was so privileged to be part of the Pacific Canadian Horse Show in Maple Ridge, British Columbia that my gratitude has all but rendered me mute. Everyone was warm, welcoming, helpful–and that was just the people.  The horses were, well, breathtaking, and since my booth was less than five feet from the shed-rows, you can easily guess where my heart led my feet, again and again and again.  I couldn’t get enough of these superb horses, each one a credit to the Canadian breed in looks and temperament.  All the owners and riders were very good about letting me pet, kiss and generally bask in the energy and beauty of their horses, and everyone graciously tolerated all my questions–and dumb and wordless staring, which I did a lot of.  Even while there, I was very much aware how different this Show and this group of people were from those at other Event and Competition shows I’ve attended.  

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164,868 in the Stands at the Kentucky Derby (First Leg of the Triple Crown)

164,868 in the Stands at the Kentucky Derby (First Leg of the Triple Crown)

Yes, I watched it.  I swore I wouldn’t this year.  After all, the number of injuries and euthanizing that goes on in the weeks before the Derby (several races are run) is a tragic reminder of what way-too-young Thoroughbreds are put through even before the world-famous Derby is run.  To run this year, 35,000 Thoroughbred foals were born three years ago  (only 19 made it to the Derby:  there was one scratch but 20 ran) so, once you calculate those put in claiming races (not good enough); those put in second- and third-class races (…and then put in claiming races), you must conclude that a great percentage end up either in slaughter or sold to backyard breeders who, at some point, will make horsemeat out of a potential athlete.  Before now, I’d always paid little attention to the fashion aspect of the Derby (a tradition based on the British Derby in which outlandish hats and frocks became a staple), but today I thought about

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