Molly O’Brien, our current Absorbine staffer on deck at WEG writes: Yesterday, I had tickets to the second half of the team Grand Prix dressage finals. I got to see a number of absolutely wonderful horses and riders, including Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas (Netherlands), Laura Bechtolsheimer and Mistral Hojris (Great Britain), and Steffen Peters and Ravel (USA).
Those three competed again today in the individual competition. Although I didn’t have tickets, I watched a number of rides on the jumbotron outside the Bit of Britain booth. Edward Gal and Totilas won the gold with an amazing score of 85.667, Laura Bechtolsheimer and Mistral Hojris took home the silver (a hallmark for Great Britain) with a score of 81.708, and Steffen Peters and Ravel earned the bronze medal with a score of 78.5428.
The most touching moment, which was played on the jumbotron booth, occurred after Gal and Totilas left the ring. Gal teared up for a moment, patting his horse on the neck. If you compete with your horse, you know that amazing feeling when the two of you put it all together at just the right moment. All the hours, days, months and years of working and sweating and trying and worrying fade away, while that incredible feeling of accomplishment courses through your very being. For that moment, it’s just you and your horse, and you’re overwhelmed with emotion for all that your wonderful partner has given you.
About an hour after the competition, what looked like the entire Dutch team and supporters — many dressed in orange — arrived at the Veuve champagne booth across from Bit of Britain to celebrate. A huge cheer went up when Edward Gal arrived. He left, but then came back a little later and spoke a few words to his teammates and supporters, again to great cheers and fanfare. A few minutes ago, as I walked into the hotel, Edward Gal was in the lobby, where one of the event staffers asked him to pose for a picture — probably for the millionth time today! He graciously complied (a sign of a true champion), then carried what looked to be a tray with some dinner down the hall, probably off to his room for the night. A mere mortal after all, no doubt ready for some food and sleep. ~Molly