I may not have been the biggest fan of moving to a huge city. I knew it was going to have to happen as those places are really the only ones with job opportunities for Nik. It was either here or the bay area. I’m from the middle of nowhere and getting used to all the people and the huge roads (OMG 8 lanes of freeway! AAAAAAAA!!!) has definitely been hard. But one amazing thing is the access I have to stuff here!
For example, the Del Mar National Grand Prix!
I haven’t been to a super fancy Grand Prix before. (Some people will debate if the Del Mar one qualifies, lol) The horse park that was built up in Paso had folding chairs up on the berm above the arena. That was still pretty awesome but it wasn’t a stadium and didn’t have near the amount of stuff connected to it.
I went with Karen from Spanish Walk and boy was it fun! We got there a couple of hours early and watched a few of the hunter rounds in the back arena. The employee at the gate let us through but we seemed to be the only non-rider, non-rider associated people back there. Hehe. We also toured the stalls there. Luckily, I’m not in the market for any big ticket items. At least, none that I could buy just from seeing them. We did find the Smartpak booth and bought a few saddle pads. I got a lovely hunter green for Scarlet. I never really gave him a “color” so I guess I’m doing that now.
It was really windy and we had looked at everything so we got to our seats in the stands.
The first thing that we got to watch was the Ride and Drive class. I’ve literally never heard of this before but its a sponsored prize class where the riders rush over a small course, hop off their horses and drive a car around a course. It was freaking hilarious and so awesome. I think the best part was watching the riders trying to sprint in their tall boots and going, yep I know that feeling. Really, when you can’t bend your ankles and your weight is shoved towards your heels, it’s impossible to run well.
Then, we were able to watch the retirement ceremony for Flexible. I a big mushy mush of a person so I teared up a bit as I watched it. He was a freaking amazing competitor and I’m sure he will be much loved on during his retirement. I’ll be waiting to watch Flexible babies enter the ring.
Then we watched the Grand Prix. It was a very difficult course. There were lots of refusals, a few RTs and a few EL. There didn’t seem to be just one problem fence though, so it was a nice course. Five pairs moved onto the jump off. I think that is just about the right percentage for the class size (30). Somewhere, I heard that course designers aim to have a jump off of only 10-15% of the class.
I don’t remember the final placing, but the pair of Pumped Up Kicks and Jennifer Gates put on a heart-stopping show. Pumped Up Kicks really tackled the jumps, but they ran into an issue at the last two fences. The striding between the liverpool and the last vertical didn’t work out for them. Gates pulled up and Pumped Up Kicks basically got to no momentum before the last vertical. Somehow, he deer hopped over the last vertical and didn’t even touch it. It was freaking amazing. As Gates cantered off, she pointed down at Pumped Up Kicks, giving all the credit to him. It was amazing to see the horse push and make an impossible jump. It was also awesome to see a rider giving credit where credit was due. I know they were in the top five, but I can’t remember if it was 4th or 5th place they got. I really should have forced myself to take notes on the placing cause my brain was frozen by then! I’m glad I did buy a saddle pad because it helped keep me warm for the show!
A small note about Sunday. I didn’t ride as it was pouring. Scarlet has been good so I figured it wasn’t nice to ask him to ride. I did go look at another barn and trainer as my barn is larger than I’d like and I am not super fond of the trainers. But this barn was more of a bunch of pens in the middle of the brush. The arenas were good but the rest of it? Not up to my standards. The barn I’m at is good for what I’m paying. I’ll most likely have to wait till I can fork over a couple hundred more a month before I can move to the barn atmosphere that I really want. Makes me miss my old barn soooo much!