Sue Blinks and Robin Hood have had a rough couple of weeks. First, Robin Hood, Blinks’ 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Jazz—Lionne), coliced. Then the gelding had a high fever. Then Blinks broke her wrist after taking a tumble off another horse. Finally, during his Grand Prix test on Friday, Robin Hood came undone in the covered arena at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and finished seventh in the class with on 62.89 percent. But the pair put those bad times behind them to win the Grand Prix Special today, May 2, with 69.70 percent.
“He redeemed himself,” Blinks, 52, said. “This is the way he normally is now. For 2 1/2 months he didn’t get off campus, and that’s not OK for him. Obviously I can’t trust him to be grown up without going to some horse shows in between. He’s a really sensitive horse, and just from being here for the weekend we’re back on track.”
Robin Hood, owned by Blinks and Doug and Louise Leatherdale, has been under Blinks’ tutelage since he was a 5-year-old. She said the horse never had problems with the movements themselves, but that it’s taken him a while to mature mentally.
“He’s a genius,” Blinks, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., said. “He’s so athletic and so capable. The thing for him from the beginning of time has just been the concentration and relaxation. That’s his thing, not the work. I felt like he was concentrated on me in there today. That’s what I was happy with today. He did his job.”
Blinks, who rode on the 2000 Olympic team with Flim Flam, was the only rider in the class who opted to wear a helmet with her tailcoat.
“When I came back from Sydney I started wearing a hard hat all the time, just to set an example—and I ride in one all the time at home but obviously not in the horse shows,” Blinks said. “I think it’s the smart thing to do, and if somebody like me doesn’t do it, who is going to? I know Guenter [Seidel] was just at the International Rider’s Club meeting, and it was discussed. Everyone agrees that sooner or later it’s going to be a rule. If you look at football and hockey, they’ve all evolved to people wearing helmets. It’s a dangerous sport. It’s a chance for me to set an example.“
Sandrina, a 12-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Ann Romney, and Jan Ebeling, 52, finished second in Friday’s Grand Prix class and were also second in today’s Special. Their mostly accurate test had a few mistakes in the tempi changes, which Ebeling attributed to pilot error, and scored a 66.08 percent.
“She’s never done a Special before,” Ebeling, Moorpark, Calif., said. “The scores she’s been getting, we didn’t even expect that. Every time I go out she’s getting a little better. The difficult movements keep getting better. The piaffe is getting better, so that’s encouraging. Today, having the first Special, all the difficult stuff was really good and the easy stuff had some rider errors. I took it a little too easy in the canter.”
Full results at www.FoxVillage.com