World Equestrian Games Opening Night: Declaring the Games Open in Grand Style

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Someone sprinkled stardust over Lexington, Kentucky last night. I believe the effects of this stardust will last for just about 16 more days, and then we will awaken, as if from a deep slumber.

Inside the massive new outdoor arena at the Kentucky Horse Park last night, three magical hours of music, dance, singing, speeches but most of all of horses were woven together to create an unforgettable pagaent that seemed one minute to be about the wide, wonderful world, and next to be as cozy and familiar as our old Kentucky home.

There were stars as bright as Wynona Judd and starlets as charming as more than 100 pre-teen schoolgirls dressed all in white with braided hair. They were the girlpower of a horse-themed ballet one minute and the tiny jockey signbearers in the nations? riders parade an hour later.

Your intrepid blogger was embedded ?backstage? with the performers and the stage mangers and the dozens and dozens of horses that performed or just galloped through. It was pitch black darkness, for the most part, but I tried to take photos anyway, as you can see.

The parade of equestrians will always stay in my memory, along with seeing Muhammed Ali getting ready to go out and wave to the crowd from the front seat of the convertible. I really think that hearing the roar of the crowd for the previous acts was getting The Great One's adrenaline going.

Seeing equestrian superstars like Karen O'Connor, Isabell Werth, Andrew Nicholson, and the dashiing young Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum all carrying their nations' flags and leading their delegations was very inspiring. I was touched to see an Australian rider clutching a stuffed koala toy, and the British delegation's flag was borne not by a famous rider (although they have more than their share) but by farrier Brendan Murray, who is retiring this year.

If you weren?t able to see the ceremonies on television, go to usefnetwork.com or feitv.org and see if you can view it there (you might have to pay on FEITV). It's worth it!

When we awaken on October 10, the stardust will wear off and the Games will fade away.

But for now we are starstruck believers, leaping headfirst into two weeks of WEG. Let the Games begin.