I am a photographer, and not a horse-show judge nor a trainer. I can seldom pick a winner in most equestrian disciplines. However, at a jumper show, I do know the basic rules of faults, clear rounds and jump-offs. The winner is the rider with the fewest faults and the best time. Here, I rely on my experience and training in photography, and my own sense of style and timing to help me get the best photos I can. I also had John McCashin show me the finer points of what makes a good jumper photograph! I give 100 percent, I have a good time and I have fun. Yet in a sense I compete against myself.
But I digress . . .
On Saturday June 6, I saw a lot of “successful competition”, also “having a good time and having fun”, and “putting in 100 percent”. Then, towards the end of the day, there were four consecutive events where two young riders displayed all of the above, while they traded first and second places. Their riding styles were very different. One rode a tall horse with power and smooth control, while the other on a smaller mount had speed and agility, especially in the turns. Both showed unwavering focus, each giving 100 percent. They alternated wins, separated by fractions of a second until the final jump-off. Four jumping faults on the last fence gave the second rider the luxury of time knowing that a clear round would result in a win.
As a spectator I was inspired, as a photographer I was in awe.