I was watching the CN International show jumping competition this past weekend from Spruce Meadows (as it was actually on live local TV) and I still haven't caught my breath thanks to Eric Lamaze and Hickstead's performance in the jump-off round. On a day when rails went flying and (some) horses crashed through the jumps, Eric and Hickstead posted two clear rounds to win.
If you didn't see it, here is a good "on the ground" video of both of their rounds:
What amazed me most was the way they negotiated the last combination jump - at 3:27 on the video. There was only one stride in between the two jumps, and Hickstead came flying over the first jump, landing just little too deep. What they did next was simply flabbergasting. They halfhalted on the landing, through the one stride on the ground, and then in the air OVER the jump. It was like they squeezed out seconds in between the REAL seconds on the timer, enough to do the job that needed doing. From the TV camera angle (you can't see it as clearly here), it looked like the horse just hung over the second jump for a moment (in my mind, it was more like: one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand, three-one-thousand...) - long enough to be able to gather his feet up and over (hold your breath...!) - and then the scene continued to proceed to the glorious ending.
There was a record-breaking crowd of over 79,000 people and they were all on their feet. I know I sound like a crazed fan, and the more I see of Eric and Hickstead, the more I appreciate what they are doing. I think they are carving out a permanent place in history for themselves, much like Ian Miller did with Big Ben. Glad I'm here to watch it happen!
What did you think of the ride?
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