It's a beautiful sunny day here in Lexington, Kentucky. I had a relatively light duty day today, so I decided to walk around and take some photos, and then to attend the individual reining medal finals.

Two Dutch fans spotted in the dining area 

Maybe this is old hat for Europeans, but I get a kick out of hearing the different accents and languages on the grounds of the Kentucky Horse Park. Spectators and competitors alike have a patriotic yet welcoming vibe. Flag-decorated golf carts, patriotic getup, and cheerfully outlandish and spirited accessories are the name of the game. They announce one's loyalties in a lighthearted way. And of course the best way to break the ice on the shuttle bus, in line for food, or elsewhere is to ask, "Where are you from?"Who says only Americans like reining? A boisterous crowd of German fans cheer on a competitor at the individual reining medal finals.

It's also fun to see the television cameras everywhere. I'm sure a number of them are for the BBC and other foreign media outlets -- you know, the ones that actually care about horse sports -- but still it was exciting to see an NBC Sports banner at a "horse show."

 

I'm switching to reining!

If you want to ride and compete and have a blast doing it, reining is the way to go. Some of you may know that I'm a dressage enthusiast at heart, but reining's got it all over dressage in terms of audience participation and a celebratory atmosphere. Uptempo music plays during each rider's go -- today I heard everything from the Ghostbusters theme and AC/DC to Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga -- which pumps up the horses. Audience members cheer loudly and let out wolf whistles during the rides to signal their approval. And amidst the din, the horses halt and stand quietly. Amazing!

Tom McCutcheon and Gunners Special Nite on their way to reining gold 

It didn't hurt crowd morale that American rider Tom McCutcheon and Gunners Special Nite won the individual reining gold medal, with a score of 228.00. His USA teammate Craig Schmersal on Mister Montana Nic took silver with 223.00, and Duane Latimer of Canada rode Dun Playin Tag to bronze with a score of 222.50.

 Even the riders are curious to see other disciplines. US WEG jumping-team members Lauren Hough and Laura Kraut took in today's reining individual finals.

Fun all around! Now I'd better bring this blog entry to a close: A cross-country course walk awaits.