Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Reflections on the WEG

I was just down visiting with Jess, Missy, James and the crew at Blue Hill Farm.  It's always such a great experience to go to a training barn like theirs, where everyone is dedicated to the sport & the horses. What is different about Blue Hill is the feeling of camaraderie, teamwork and optimism that carries through to their success in the show ring.

I think it's an accurate statement to say that the team members & coaches were happy with their performance at the WEG.  The US riders all rode well, considering that they had to keep their nerves in check at their first International event at this level.  Missy felt that our area for score improvement would have been with accuracy, but even with those improvements we couldn't have gotten more than 5 points.

Jessica was also quite happy with James' performance, but was frustrated a bit with the judging.  
"James rode beautifully but suffered from the judges's inconsistant judging. I think some of it is because they do not see him along with the riders from the European countries often enough to know how well he stacks up against them. We plan to ride abroad next summer in preparation for the next Para-Olympics. I think it will help the judges see that he is a very good, steady, correct grade 4 rider."

That of course brings me to the next hot topic on the judging at the WEG.  It's a difficult balance to comment on the judging results at a competition without sounding unsportsmanlike, but the frustrations that arose from the judging at the WEG were consistent & quite obvious.  The general feeling was that the judges had their countries that they consistently score well & they're are afraid to change their scoring methods at such a venue.......But when there are 10 - 15 point differences on each ride, the fairness & consistency of the judging does become debatable.  Perhaps it is time that the US & Canada works on filling a few judge spots to help improve the balance for every team?

With the US placing in a respectable 7th place, the team is now qualified for the London Olympics in 2012!  There continues to be optimism in the barn & everyone has their own individual goals set in order to travel to London in 2 years.

Many thanks to all the friends, family, grooms, sponsors & supporters who donated their time & tireless effort to make the WEG happen for these riders.  It was a lot of work & a job well done!

Photos of James compliments of Kerri Sowers.

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