Longines FEI World Cup at Del Mar

Longines FEI World Cup at Del Mar

True story – I wanted to call this post “FEI Friday” but it’s not Friday and I don’t want to wait that long to post about the show, so here we are.

As a horse show spectator, I am spoiled. I’ve seen a lot of Grand Prixs and a lot of top hunter and jumper riders compete, but I don’t think I’ve actually seen a true Longines class. For some reason I had this built up in my head as a fancy and amazing class that would be more prestigious than the FEI 5* grand prix I’ve witnessed.

Uh, that was silly. This was an FEI Grand Prix the same as any other. Awesome horses. Big jumps. Fun times.

The pre-show entertainment was this cute mini horse and Jack Russel terrier combo from Washington state.

Can someone tell me how I can make a living doing a literal dog and pony show before a horse show? Because if I can, I can work on Simon & Pascale’s act in the next few years!

The course looked straight forward, but wasn’t simple (duh… FEI). Pairs either seemed super polished, and had an unfortunate rail at the last combination or the 1.60m vertical that gave some trouble, or there was tragedy.

No falls or anything bad, just rails. Rails everywhere, but I know what that’s like and I’m never going to jump that high or at that level — so more power to you, 28 faulters.

Photo wise, I was very happy to have some practice shooting a Grand Prix again. My timing was off on a lot of these, and next time I have the opportunity to shoot some I want to try different settings.

Still, I love taking photos at horse show. It’s a weird combination of stressful, relaxing and fulfilling to me.

The highlight for me was seeing Andy Kocher take the win. Heels Down Magazine did a really sweet video on him recently, and it was fresh on my mind when I saw him head into the ring. Also, my friends know him through the Texas horse scene and he seems like a down to earth, pull yourself up by your bootstraps kind of equine professional. In my opinion, those are rare these days.

When I look at photos and do posts like these, I not so secretly wish I could upgrade my camera equipment. What I use is really dated at this point, but I still love that I can go to horse shows and get some decent images.


21 thoughts on “Longines FEI World Cup at Del Mar

  1. I love your photography posts! I definitely agree with the weird stressful satisfaction of shooting shows and the want to upgrade equipment after looking at them. I shoot on my personal Canon T3i with a 70-300 f/4-5.6 for work (because our work camera is even older!), and I look at the photos afterward and wish I had a newer, full-frame body and a 70-200 f/2.8. Alas, my pony sucks up all my money instead.

    1. I know what you mean! I shoot with an old Canon 60D that I would love to upgrade to a full frame camera, and I do have the coveted 70-200 f/2.8 lens but it’s ANCIENT and beat to hell. In my dream I upgrade to a canon one with image stabilizing.

  2. Your pics are incredible (in my untrained opinion). It’s always amazing to me that these horses and riders do what they do. It’s insane how high those jumps are (says the strictly around and around ring rider) 😉

  3. So many unique pieces of tack and attire, and some braided or not braided! Lovely photos!! I still can’t get past those who show without a hairnet and don a ponytail!!

  4. I really like your photos and I’m not just saying that cause it’s you ;). They’re really vibrant and capture so much detail. I dunno – to my not very educated eye, they rival (and often exceed) the ones I see on other online publications.

  5. i love that you go to pictures and take great photos too – esp bc you share them with us!! lots of gorgeous shots there, sounds like a great day!

    i’ve never seen grand prix jumpers in person before (tho WIHS was just going on here and basically my whole barn went…) but for some reason it doesn’t draw me in as strongly as cross country at a major event. a world class, smooth and polished show jump round just…. almost defeats the spectator experience bc they make it look so easy, make it look so good, so flawless. and when you see like, 5 in a row who just cruise around, it’s all that much easier to forget what a major accomplishment it is, or to disparage those 28 fault rides or whatever. idk. or maybe i just like xc haha. and actually, grand prix dressage too, for that matter. i have *never* seen folks party harder at a horse show than they partied at Dressage at Devon. wowza lol…. /tangent

  6. Amazing photos, but, can someone explain to me why the belly band in photo 21? I know it’s for spurs, but…if they’re wearing a band, do you NEED spurs? And if you can’t keep your heels still enough to not bump them while wearing spurs, shouldn’t you take the spurs off?

    Sorry, I don’t know anything about jumping (I do endurance and I’ve never worn spurs, ever). So, I can understand needing spurs. But I don’t understand a belly band at a competition?

    HELP!! 🙂

    Also, I personally, with a zero trained eye, think you capture some beautiful photos of horses in action!

    1. my barnmate uses that same band on her aging cushings / pssm horse whose coat grows in very brittle and is particularly susceptible to giant ugly rub marks and subsequent skin irritations. she rides in spurs bc it allows for a more nuanced communication with her well trained dressage / event mare, and the belly band guards against the rubs. at this level of competition, with jumps that big, it’s often advisable to have every tool at your disposal while riding – including stick and spurs – even if you don’t end up needing or using either.

      i actually think it’s pretty awesome that the belly bands are allowed in show jumping at this level of competition, as they’re not allowed in the dressage show ring.

  7. Outdated equipment or not there are a lot of really beautiful shots there! I really like the first and last pics of Andy Noches. The grin shows how much he enjoyed it. I also like the pic of the bay not going over the jump, but going past one. Candid shots rock too.

  8. Andy spends some time in our area too, and we used to have a few of his in the barn. I don’t know him personally, but I do love to cheer for a more “hometown (ish)” guy!

    Beautiful pictures 🙂

  9. 1. Thanks for sharing that video! I hadn’t seen it and it’s WONDERFUL. You can hear how much he loves that horse in his voice.

    2. Let me share some of my photos from the New Albany Grand Prix with you, and then you’ll feel a LOT better about your equipment… and skill (because I have none) hahaha

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