81 reining trips later, I’ll admit it: I laughed, I cried, I fell completely in love all over again with the sport. (And it’s not even over yet.)
When Brazil’s Gilson Viera Diniz Filho couldn’t handle how well his horse performed.
When Finland’s Kari Vepsä–a non-pro musician who enjoys reining as a hobby–finished his pattern, hugged everyone he knew, and said “I DID IT!!”
When South African’s Colette Erasmus–in her nation’s first-ever appearance in reining–zeroed early in the pattern but continued on bravely, and the entire stadium clapped and cheered for her the entire time.
When France’s Frank Perret picked up some major penalties but his nation cheered themselves hoarse for their countryman anyway.
When Morocco’s Khalif El Khoumsi (the first WEG competitor ever for Morocco!) grinned for the last two maneuvers of his pattern because he was having the best time of his life.
When BA Shining Hickory, ridden by Finland’s Siri Haanpää, saw herself on the jumbo-tron for the first time…
…but they made it through the pattern and Siri couldn’t restrain her praise.
When Italy’s Giuseppe Prevosti’s girlfriend laughed/cried after Prevosti’s amazing performance.
When USA’s Mandy McCutcheon grinned ear-to-ear after tying the high score so far.
When Austria’s Martin Mühlstäter acknowledged his horse’s contribution to the team’s bronze medal.
When they made the podium too tall and Team USA had to help each other out.