I'm without my camera this week. Mom has borrowed it for a trip of her own. [eyes closed, fingers crossed, trying not to worry] So, this week's posts will have to consist of stockpiled photos. I know - let's start with more horse jumping! (Because I couldn't get enough of them the last time.)
This series of three photos is of the same horse. I want to frame them as a set. (Thank you to Katie, for showing me how to use the automatic drive mode of my camera, without which I wouldn't have able to catch the whole sequence.)
We had a large field of 24 horses in this year's competition, and of these, 9 horses made it to the jump-off with a clear round. In horse jumping, you are scored a series of "faults." Four faults are assigned each time a horse knocks a rail down, and one fault is given for every second (or partial second) a horse goes over the allotted time for the course, in this case, 94 seconds. Like golf, the lowest score wins, and the ultimate goal is a "clear round." (No jumping or time faults.)
In the jump off, the course is shortened, and there is no maximum time. Riders cut every corner possible and go as fast as they dare in their attempt at a clear round in the shortest amount of time. Can you see the speed here as Laura Chapot and "Little Big Man" try to set the pace as the first team in the jump-off?
I don't know if you can see the skid marks in the ground in these two photos or not. The horse had just refused this jump, and Laura was taking him around for a second attempt. (A refusal is when a horse runs out or stops suddenly, refusing to take the jump.) I missed the shot of them skidding to a halt, throwing large divots into the air.
After taking this jump successfully, the horse refused the following jump. "Thank you very much. You are excused." She was taking it too fast and the horse's timing was off. Laura Chapot won the Classic with "Little Big Man" last year, but this wasn't their day.
I was fast enough to catch this spectacular image of a horse crashing through the jump right in front of me. This was also during the jump off and probably a result of speed and timing conflicts as well.
Don't worry, horse and rider were just fine, and went on to complete the round. Of all the years we have attended the Classic, this is the first time we have seen this happen. (I think this was Margie Engle, another New Albany veteran, on "Hidden Creek's Wapino.")
The winner this year, with two clear rounds and completing the jump-off course in 41.58 seconds was Darragh Kerins and "Night Train," from Ireland. (My sister Lisa's pick.) In second place was Kent Farrington on "Up Chiqui," also with a clear round and only 0.08 seconds slower at 41.66 seconds. (My horse.)
We each pick two horses at the start of the event. All four of our picks had clear first rounds and made it into the jump-off this year. We are getting better at our guesses. My second choice was Beezie Madden and "Judgement," who came in sixth. (I almost picked Margie Engle, whose horse went through the jump instead of over.) Lisa's other horse was the ill-fated "Little Big Man." So, maybe we aren't that good yet. We'll have to try again next year!