Last night was an incredible evening, the opening ceremony of the WEG, and all the riders and officials got to walk one lap around the ceremonies in the new stadium in front of a full house. The Americans wore a complete Ariat cowboy uniform including boots and a big hat. The opening ceremony was a typical American style: a huge show with a live orchestra, light show, and demonstrations of every equestrian walk of life.
It was a great time rubbing shoulders with all the international riders I’ve looked up to for many years as well as a chance to catch up for my old eventing mates from Sydney.
Group shot: All guys that I grew up with in Sydney, L-R: Stuart Tinney, Chris Burton, Jonathan Paget (NZ) Brett Parbery, (Australia dressage) myself and Paul Tapner. First time we were all together since our younger days eventing in Sydney together.
A picture of me with Mexican rider Emspion Mendiville: his horse Azteca and Neville did their first three-star together at Jersey Fresh in 2007, coming last and second to last after dressage, and somehow both ended up at the WEG!
The highlight of the evening for me was when Muhammed Ali did the final lap of honor in a big Cadillac convertible. He was born in KY and the crowd erupted when he made his surprise appearance.
It’s down to business now. Neville’s full of life and it will be fun to ride him twice a day on the flat: it’s dressage, dressage, dressage from here on out. We’ll be first to go of the Americans so it will probably be an early ride on Thursday.