by Chris Cashel
This was my fifth or sixth World Cup experience. The last time I attended it was also in Omaha and it was spectacular. There were a myriad of educational events, hundreds of vendors and ringside seats watching horses warm-up throughout the day. This year there were continuous educational events, few vendors and ringside seats watching horses warm up through out the day.
While the shopping was disappointing to a degree, the reason we were there was to watch some of the best horses and riders compete. They delivered. Eleven of us traveled to Omaha to watch the finale - the freestyles. As the arena started to fill it was noticeable that not all seats were taken. This was a bit perplexing but as was mentioned fewer people attend events like this because of social media and streaming. After thinking about that and recognizing that perhaps the angle of watching the participants might have been better, I think seeing a competition like this in person makes one appreciate the sport more. To see the competitors work so hard towards perfection and to see the horses respond to their music and the audience adds much to the event. I highly recommend in person attendance.
We had fun as a group. Omaha is a surprisingly nice city. They have revitalized downtown with apartments, stores and restaurants. Walking from the hotel to the event center provided some exercise and pleasant time to chat with friends. Next time there is a World Cup in the United States try to attend. Seeing some of the best riders is inspiring and motivating.