Live To Fight Another Day

Apr 28, 2012 - 3:31 PM
Sara Kozumplik and Manolo Blahnik had a great ride through the Rolex Head of the Lake. Photo by Sara Lieser.

So if I thought the tension back in the barn was at a high level yesterday, this morning was 10 times worse. I HAD to get out of there, so I agreed to walk the course again with Sara.

At 10:30 a.m. we reached the sunken road, and the first three combinations had bit the dust. Three established partnerships: Andrew Nicholson retired at fence 9, the coffin; Becky Holder parted ways with Courageous Comet at the Normandy Bank, and Karen O’Connor, aka Karilyn, decided to go swimming at fence 5.

What a start. Suddenly every other horse sport looked appealing to me—even dressage!

By the time we got back to the riders tent, only two combinations had made it round without jumping faults, Philip and Marilyn. Suddenly I was petrified. I could finally see all the scary ghosts and fire breathing dragons that everyone else had been seeing all week.

Then William Coleman, aka Justin Bieber, produced a breathtaking round. It was so nice to watch. He really made it look like a beginner novice track at Frying Pan Park. (Kudos to Will, although I hope his sponsor, Charles Owen, doesn’t have to supply him with a bigger helmet for tomorrow.)

Then again before lunch, William Fox-Pitt gave a free clinic on how to ride the course.

Thank you sir. That was worth 10 times the admission price. Surely that man will get a knighthood back in England some day.

After the lunch break the problems continued. When Sara entered the start box, I just wanted her and Manny to come home safe.

Normally on cross-country or stadium day I am super competitive. I always want Sara to move up the leader board and every one else to move down. So if it’s Sunday, and you are jumping against Sara, and I say, “Good luck,” I don’t always mean it. Don’t get me wrong; I want you to be safe but also to knock a few rails!

It’s just my nature.

The competitive side of me subsided after watching all the carnage. I just asked the man above to take care of them. (I don’t talk to him much, but today I did.)

So, “Now on course No. 54, Manolo Blahnik and Sara Kozumplik.”

I ran into the riders’ tent to watch on TV. Then…….nothing …… no coverage of Sara,  only an interview with another rider. Now I am mad, and Brian Murphy mad is not a pretty sight. I get the whole interview thing, but do I want to listen to some other rider tell how the course rode for her? HELL NO! I want to watch Manny.

So of the 45 jumping efforts the TV coverage for Manolo Blahnik was two jumps……two!

Think about that for a moment.

This sport is trying to attract sponsors and owners. Manny’s owners paid the same as every other owner, sat down to watch their horse on TV and got to see 4 percent of his round …… DISGRACE!

I do agree with interviews, but an event of this magnitude should have more TV coverage to show the live feed on separate screens. Badminton and Burghley do it. Why not here?

Thanks to some great commentary from Nigel and Hugh, I knew Manny had a great round despite, as Sara called it “a silly error at the easiest fence on the course.”

I didn’t mind. They came back together and will live to fight another day.

Brian Murphy is heading into his first Rolex Kentucky as the groom/show jumping coach/boyfriend of Sara Kozumplik. He’s generously agreed to blog about the experience, and Sara promised not to read a word he wrote until after the event is over.


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