Dressage and More Dressage in London

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Second Grand Prix Dressage Day:? No politics or princesses (well, just? a Danish one).? Just dressage!? What a relief.? Wish I could have seen more of it in the flesh.? With bouts of downpours, I was mostly inside watching it on a monitor, but if I had been outside I would have been watching it on a monitor that had daylight glare on it, albeit with lots of clouds, in the mixed zone where we do interviews.? As it is, I saw most of the rides one way or the other.? Fabulous dressage, several people broke the former Olympic record for the GP set in Athens by Rusty.? Steffen Peters came close and still finished only 6th.

This is a new format from past years.? It used to be that the Grand Prix test decided team medals.? Now that score will be combined with the Grand Prix Special on Tuesday.? The top 18 will then go forward to the freestyle.? The freestyle, next Thursday, will be the sole decider for the individual medals.? From the team scores yesterday, this may finally be the first time in 60 years that Germany isn't on the top of the podium for team gold, although they have really great riders here.

I'll be interested in hearing interviews with the judges after this is all over, and how the new system here with seven judges and a review panel is working out.? I haven't seen any scores wildly out of line, at least with the top riders.?? it's rather weird seeing two extra judge boxes at the A end of the ring.

For those who complain when they get a ?quick bell? from the judge at a regular show, maybe after only one time around the outside of the ring, well this is the quickest bell I have ever seen.? Maybe the schedule was too tight.? The on-deck rider isn?t even getting a quarter of the way around before the bell is rung.? And their horses are facing an arena filled with thousands of spectators, plus several TV cameras right by the ring, so it's a lot to show them.? The riders have said they are prepared to start their test the instant they come out of the tunnel.

Charlotte Dujardin of Great Britain wore a safety helmet rather than a top hat and scored 83% to lead the GP, basically proving that the judges really don't care if riders wear a top hat or not, which judges have been saying all along but riders didn't seem to hear.? Ashley Holzer wore one as well as did Adrienne Lyle and a couple others.?

As many British mystery novels as I have read over the years, you?d think I would know how to operate a lift here (aka elevator) and how to order in a pub.? But I completely forgot the other day when a waiter asked me if I wanted chips (aka fries) instead of crisps (aka potato chips).? I have taken the scenic route several times on a lift because our second floor is the first floor here (push 1) and for the ground floor you push zero.? For some elevators, you push the floor you want before you get on, and there is no actual floor selection inside.? Many of us from the U.S. do sort of a dance in and out of the lifts when we forget yet again.