Several WEG Reining Horses Fail Veterinary Inspection

The day started out in a light hearted fashion.

Everyone was talking about "the hats." FEI provided clothing for their officials, including the Reining crew. Only problem, none of the reiners were wearing the official straw hat. It was not quite "western"--short brimmed with an elaborate black band. Reiners handling the everyday chores were either hatless or sporting their favorite straw, packed with care and brought from home.

Then there was the Judges' test - not exactly what you would think. The Judges' chairs were measured at only 14" wide. Each Judge took a turn sitting in a chair--just to see if they would fit!

But things turned serious rather quickly as noon approached. It was time for "The Jog," a soundness test that each horse must pass in order to compete. The teams were called in alphabetical order and each horse stood for inspection before jogging to the end of the test area, turning, then jogging back as four FEI officials watched every stride.

Several horses were sent to the holding area, and then asked to return for a second look. Denmark had very bad luck. Two of their horses were injured prior to the jog and did not test. Then one of their two remaining horses did not pass inspection. Great Britain was fortunate to have a horse in reserve. He was called into service. Germany lost two of their mounts; however, they had a total of five. In the Team competition, the lowest score is dropped, so Germany will still be eligible for that section.

As each horse was called to be tested, its name was announced. You could easily recognize the bloodlines in any language, and you would only need to hear part of the name: Whiz, Shiners, Enterprise, Custom, Gunner, Smart, Peppy, Chic, Nimble, Jac, Rooster, Freckles, Dun It - you get the idea.

As for the contestants themselves, everyone looked like they were raised in Texas, until they spoke. Then you realized they were born thousands of miles from the Lone Star State. However, it was obvious, that no matter where you called home, your passion for reining horses brought you to Aachen.

With the exception of Germany, all of the Teams that made the 2002 World Equestrian Games Finals in Jerez, Spain, passed their jog and will be competing with four horses. That includes Canada, Great Britain, Italy, Germany, and the United States.

After completion of the jog, everyone was invited to a "draw party" where the two riders from Norway randomly chose the first and second positions while everyone else breathed a sigh of relief.

Tomorrow (Sept. 1) the Team Competition will start at 10 a.m. The top 20 scoring horses will then advance to the Individual Competition on Sunday.

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