Friday was the Derbycross in Wellington. A "mere" 4.5 hour drive south was a bit annoying, but definitely proved worth it. Wellington is the richest looking place I have seen in Florida so far, with crazy estates, polo clubs (polo hall of fame as well), and the beautiful and large horse park. We arrived, and wandered around with our truck, most likely driving on places that we shouldn't have, oops. But we eventually found the large outdoor arena, which had stadium seating, about as big as a football field, jumbotron screen, bank complex, show jumps and xc jumps.
Check out a good recap on: http://eventingnation.com/home/2012/01/jess-montgomerys-pro-derby-x-report.html
We were able to hang "backstage" in the warmup area, which was crazy. Small and busy, with polo players crazily jumping their first cross country jumps, and elite riders refusing to call out their fences, I am so surprised no one got hurt!!!
Though the atmosphere seemed chill and fun, I was amazed and interested to see these top eventers and legends were nervous, competitive, and uptight. I was thinking, "these people have won rolex, gone to the olympics, and have more wins to their names than anything, and I have never seen so many nerves running high in all my life!". One might think it comforting to know that these pros get nerves like everyone else, but I found it disconcerting; that no matter how many olympics you go to, we are competitors and every show will always have these mental challenges.
Also many riders did "typical" mistakes that us students get killed for in our lessons: leaning forward at fences, going for long ones, allowing the horse to get behind the leg. Seeing Bruce have a run-out made me think of the mental game going on as well as the performance game. Everyone is human, we all make mistakes, and will always make mistakes as long as we ride!
It was great to see Phillip and Boyd. Boyd walked by on his horse: "Bloody Whitney! how ar' ya?"
Made my night ;)
Buck did great and ended up MVP for the evening.
We finally made it back home at 2am, ready for the weekend!