If Your Hunter Can Deal With Fighter Jets They Can Deal With Anything

Feb 14, 2018 - 2:02 PM

Wellington, Fla.—Feb. 14

Standing at the in-gate before trotting in for a hunter round there are lot of things you know could go wrong—you might miss your lead change, you could rub a rail down, your horse might spook at an oddly potted fern, or a shadow, or nothing at all. One thing you’re probably not thinking about? What to do if all of the sudden you hear a deafening roar and see two fighter jets start circling the sky above the show ring.

That’s exactly what happened in Wellington around 8:30 a.m. this morning. The first few over-fences rounds in the green conformation hunter class of the Winter Equestrian Festival 6 WCHR week of had just started in the main arena when two low-flying fighter jets suddenly appeared in the sky. The Palm Beach Post reported Tuesday that the jets would be flying a scheduled practice exercise in preparation for President Trump’s vacation at his Mar-a-Lago resort this weekend.

Two fighter jets flew over the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center Wednesday morning and produced a deafening roar. Photo by Ann Glavan.

The jets only stuck around long enough for about one horse’s round, and that one unlucky horse was the 7-year-old Gavroche ridden by young professional Tori Colvin.

“I didn’t hear that they would be flying today—I just trotted in the ring and was like, ‘What is that noise?’ It was so loud!” Colvin said with a laugh.

Tori Colvin and Gavroche had the bad luck to be on course as the jet planes flew by over head, but it didn’t faze them much! Photo by Ann Glavan.

Unfortunately, the official show video does not record sound, but it sounded very similar to this. The jets didn’t produce a sonic boom, which occasionally happens depending on the speed and altitude they’re flying at, but you could definitely feel the humming through the air.

Gavroche got a little quick around course (they ended up scoring a 70) but all in all handled himself quite well considering the crazy sound and garnered himself quite a bit of applause from the thirty or so people watching from the rail. Someone in the crowd suggested the round get extra points, all things considered.

Watch the video of their round (note: the video is mis-labeled—the horse and rider is Gavroche and Colvin!):

“Most of the other ones would have totally freaked, but he was fine,” Colvin said. “He was just a little like ‘What’s going on, what’s flying around behind me.’ ”

Tori Colvin and Gavroche. Photo by Ann Glavan.

Gavrocche came back for the handy round sans ground-shaking jet sounds and scored an 85 to place third. Colvin’s not thrown by her bad luck being in the ring at the wrong time—she’s just bummed she was busy showing when the jets flew by.

“I kept looking up to try and see them on course,” Colvin laughed. “They’re cool, I wanted to watch!”

Tori Colvin looks up midcourse to see if she can catch a glimpse of the fighter jets. Photo by Ann Glavan.

Colvin won the handy round in the green conformation on a different horse she catch rode for Huckleberry Farm, Grand Affair. Time will tell if Grand Affair or Gavroche qualify for Saturday night’s $100,000 WCHR Peter Weatherill Hunter Spectacular by winning champion or reserve in their division (Colvin won the class as a junior three years in a row).

IMPORTANT LINKS: All the COTH WCHR week coverage  |  the WEF show website  |  results  |  live streaming


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