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October 16, 2011

Dressage In The Rain In Mexico

From left: Franchesca "Frankie" Liauw, Verena Sonstenes-Mahin and Ursula Lange.

Day 2 in Guadalajara brought heavy rains due to a hurricane in Puerto Vallarta.

We arrived at the stables early to be able to train during open hours. Each country gets an allotted time where they have an arena to themselves. Ours was in the afternoon, but we wanted the early hours for the best footing.

The rain was coming down in buckets, and pretty soon we were all huddled in the tack room playing cards and killing time, as we waited in the hopes that the rain would clear. The schedule was cleared, and all the arenas were opened to all riders. A few brave riders tackled the raindrops and we watched them as they mounted and headed off into the downpour.

We walked the arenas, checked the footing and realized that we better hurry up and ride as the puddles changed to small lakes before our eyes.

Frankie and Marko were the first to go. Umbrella in hand, I grabbed the reins and led Marko as we started up the grassy embankment to the arena, which was like a muddy waterfall. Water was pouring down the embankment, and Marko stared at me with huge eyes in total disbelief that we would make him climb this slippery slide. But he followed my lead and bravely climbed through the unsecure footing.

Once in the arena he wanted to fly. He got hotter and hotter as he splashed through the puddles. He wanted to play rather then work, but man did he look good. Frankie rode incredibly well, despite the freezing cold air, the sideways rain, and the disappearing footing.

Ursula had a fantastic ride on Lobbi, who we found out loves to splash in the puddles. We ran through all the movements and called it a day, because we didn’t want to push too much under such conditions.

We headed for the hotel, all feeling like drowned rats. I’m sure we looked like a sight as we strolled through the hotel lobby.

The pressure and excitement is starting to mount and will continue to as we head for the first day of competition in the coming days.

VS Dressage