We arrived in Pau in time to attend the final two days of the dressage phase at the show. The day was divided between watchIng riders, walking the cross country course for Saturday's competition, and visiting the trade fair before the weekend crowds. Above, Michael Jung rides one of his two horses in this competition. We spent much of Thursday and Friday walking the cross country course to see the obstacles which the horses and riders would be facing on Saturday. This was one of the most beautiful. For the cross country, the two levels of competitors arrived at their fifth jump in the same location. CCI** riders and horses jumped the park bench at the right with the red flag on their right and the white numbered sign beneath. CCI**** riders and horses jumped the picnic bench on the left with the red flag on their right and the yellow numbered sign beneath. From this position, the jumps look to be equally difficult. From the side, and with my daughter Helene beside the picnic table, the difference between the jumps is huge. It is all about the width! CCI** Jumping out of the first water obstacle, heading for the brush. The early morning light made for long shadows and must have blinded the competitors at times The horse looks confused. They came into the water at the jump behind, directly in line for the fish obstacle. That has a yellow marker and is for the higher level competitors. You can almost hear the horse saying "Are you sure we aren't to jump that??" CCI** After the second water obstacle, the horses and riders galloped out of the water to continue on their way. Time is critical as there is a maximum after which penalty points are accumulated. All the riders wear stop watches and consult them often. Though the land around Pau is quite flat, hills and berms have been built at Domain de Sers for the Etoile de Pau event. The heavy dew is still on the shaded grass as this horse and rider scramble up the steep hill to the jump at the top. CCI**** The increase in size and complexity of the obstacles is immediately evident. In the middle of one of three water obstacles. This one has three elements: a wide jump into the water followed by two "skinnies" at right angles to each other. These high, narrow jumps can tempt a horse to turn to the side rather than make the effort to go over. The picnic table as dicussed above. The horse really has to stretch out flat to cover the width. None of the horses we saw jump this obstacle showed any hesitation or had any problem. Getting near the end of the 6300+ metre course. The jumps are still demanding. There were several sections of the course which gave the opportunity for a gallop to make up time. They were already going fast: this was faster! This is the second last horse at the second last jump (as I recall...). The amazing German rider Michael Jung was riding his second horse around this demanding course. The shadows show the sun sinking in the west. This was one of the few places and times when we saw the nearby Pyrenees. CAIO**** Also here were were ten pairs of horses doing a three-phase competition. The elegance of the dressage and accuracy of the cones were a pleasure to watch. The Sunday morning marathon was really exciting. The obstacles involved going through a series of as many as six gates. The gates were entered in a specific direction and seemed to never be in a direct line. The person in the back of the vehicle acted as navigator and ballast as the horses whipped around tight corners. At the end of the first water obstacle, the horses dashed up the hill. Getting through was a matter of accuracy and speed. The timer, in this case, was at the top of the short hill. A Dutch team manoeuvre through a tight gate. There are yellow balls in shallow cups on top of some of the boards. If they fall, penalties are incurred. Something has caught the attention of this beautiful pair. The driver needs their attention to get through a very complex obstacle. Two different areas of the lake were used for obstacles. At the end of the second, a long gallop through the water led to the ramp where the timer waited. The driver and horses had done a lengthy road and track portion before coming to the obstacles. That was done at a trot, the obstacles were done as fast as was safe and accurate, and a number of minutes was spent trotting quietly on the roads between obstacles. The Spanish driver, Miguel Gutierrez Camarillo, with his navigator and his beautiful pair. It was a pleasure to watch him work with his horses. Here, they have just come out of the last gate and are being given the signal to Go! With the encouragement of the clapping, cheers and whistles of the audience, the team charges through the water. After Sunday morning's marathon, Sunday afternoon was the stadium jumping for the CCI**** top scoring riders. These jumps were not easy, even if they did fall down if hit. The scoring was very close, so the stadium rounds were very exciting. To the delight of the audience, the CCI**** was won by young French rider Maxime Livio (not shown). In the awards ceremony, Mr. Camarillo received the top Individual Driver Award for the best cumulative score.