Game Face: Grand Prix Horses to the First Fence of the Jump Off

Vice Versa D'Ossau ridden by Zazou Hoffman


Careful observation is a great way to learn about riding. After all, there are 500 reasons why I’m never going to ride in a Grand Prix class, but I certainly learn a lot by watching them.

Nothing can beat actually being at the horse show watching trips for hours in real time. However, not many of us can hop up whenever we want and jet off to a FEI class. Video is great, but I’ve always loved the still detail of a photo.

A few weeks ago, I watched the $30,000 SmartPak Grand Prix at HITS Coachella VI. Sitting right by the first fence of the jump off, I snapped a photo of each horse’s “game face” as they approached it. To me, there’s a lot to study in these photos.

What is the horse’s expression like? What tack choices did the rider make? What is the rider doing with their hands? The intricacies of their communication is frozen in a single photograph right before the first fence of a very important class.

I find it fascinating. What do you think?

Evidence ridden by Taylor Siebel
Whoop De Doo ridden by Will Simpson
Dahy Lalan ridden by Tayah Sobie
Pomerole ridden by Patricio Pasquel
Cicomein VDL ridden by Shawn Cassidy
Quirado RC ridden by Richard Spooner
Milano ridden by Mandy Porter
Azuro 108 ridden by Saree Gordon Solanki
Caillou 24 ridden by Karl Cook
Capilano ridden by Lindsey Garner

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