Hello reining community!
I write from Brescia, Italy, about 20 miles from Manerbio where the World Reining Championship was held this afternoon. Well, this afternoon in Italy; this morning in the US. The time difference between here and the eastern US is 6 hours forward—when it’s 8 pm here, it’s 2 pm in New York.
Manerbio and Brescia both, indeed, all of Italy, is breathtaking. Last night after nearly 24 hours of travel, Carlee Mahajan and Anne Kvols, our escorts, and three of the NAYRC gold medal team (Lacey Vernon, Jason Kvols, and me, Lakshami Mahajan) dined at our hotel where we had the most incredible pasta dishes my tongue has ever tasted. We sorely missed the presence of our last member, Carlie Thompson, who was off showing her paint stallion Paid by Corona. We all enjoyed a delicious dessert of crème brulee to follow our dinner- and to lift our spirits from missing Carlie- and quickly hit the sack for some well deserved shut-eye.
This morning at 9 (our time, that is), we dressed in our blue, long sleeved, USA team shirts we wore for the NAYRC in Parker, CO, and headed off to the show. Greeted by a massive, domed arena, we were struck by both the beauty of Italy and the fact that we were at the first ever World Reining Championships. All of the competitors that showed today made history.
After many photo shoots and interviews, we had lunch in a small café right on the fairgrounds where we enjoyed a buffet of cold cut hams, croissants, vegetables, cheeses, and breads that left us all loosening our belts. Sitting and listening to the many languages surrounding us, it hit us again- we are in Italy, at a world class event- basically, the Reining Olympics!
Moving on to the team competition, the entire facility was a-buzz with anticipation for the opening ceremonies and the team competition to follow. Sixteen countries were represented today, with the top 20 riders from the team competition moving on to the individual competition. The countries included South Africa, the Czech Republic, Russia, Italy, Belgium, France, Great Britain, the USA, Austria, Australia, Germany, Canada, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and Sweden.
In the end, one of the riders from Germany scored the highest with an astounding 227, while Italy, the host team, took gold, the USA took silver, and Germany took bronze. These teams will go down in history… and the first USA gold medal NAYRC reining team was there to witness it.
On a side note, sorry for the late post today… we took about three hours to get home from the show in the dark in Italy, where there are roatries (or roundabouts) approximately every mile or so. Somehow, we got very, very lost. Then, my internet went out in the entire hotel. So I’m up at 6:30 am to write to you all!
Off to Venice for now!