Well the first week in Kentucky in done! It has been a crazy yet very amazing experience and will continue on yet another week!
It all started with the eleven hour drive up to the Bluegrass State (which the grass really isn’t blue...). Hayley and I rode in the semi with Mary Ann’s husband. Let me tell you, that is the way to travel anywhere. Not only is there a cool air controlled seat thing that you can make get really tall then let it all out and whoosh you are short again, but... wait for it... there is a bed! Yes, I got a restful sleep while on the road. I am still shocked by this. The first words out of my mouth once I had woken up was “Wow, I actually feel well rested!” Believe it or not, the eleven hours flew by. I have claimed the semi for all the rest of the shows now.
Once we rolled into the horse park, the work started. We immediately started to unload everything because there was rain coming so we had to get all the horses unloaded and all the equipment under cover. This took several hours but luckily we only unloaded everything and put it into piles to be organized the next morning. We did something right because we were out of there in time to avoid the rain and were all settled in before the storm started.
All week, it was crazy. We spend the morning doing the normal barn work of feeding, cleaning, and grooming up the horses. Then it was time to hack the show horses, who were all fresh the first day but calmed down as the week went on. By 8:00 AM it was show time and we were getting the horses show ready. The jumpers are so much easier than the hunters, less perfection and more fun! The first show day all the jumpers showed in the Walnut ring which is the schooling jumpers who are jumping 1.15m. After they made it around that course, they moved up to the Rolex Stadium. Never in a million years did I think that I would be riding a horse up to the Rolex Stadium and then waiting ringside with Mary Ann while watching horses jump. My job consists of getting my three charges, two jumpers and one hunter to the correct ring on time. It’s pretty intense but it is also tons of fun. My charges are Pinata, Argo, and Casey. Pinata has been competing in the High Jr. Jumpers and she is my favorite of the three. When she jumps she has scope for miles and has a total go get ‘em attitude which makes her pretty awesome. She is also crazy calm, as in calm enough to take out bareback on the cross country course (as in THE Rolex cross country course!!!). Argo is also pretty cool. He is a big grey gelding who thinks he needs to be a grey and yellow paint... BUT he is quite the jumper. When he gets in front of the jump there is nothing that will stop him from getting to the other side in a freakishly well formed jump. Argo has been jumping the 1.25m classes. The last horse is Casey, he is my hunter charge. A bit of a sensitive boy, he makes a great presence in the ring. He is gorgeous, think a horse sized medium pony and you have Casey. His big, expressive eyes enhance how well his boy is put together and he can jump very well. He is still on the green side so he has been rocking the three foot classes. In fact, on Sunday he was the three foot champion and this week he will be moving up to the big boy ring and competing in the 3’3” classes with Emmalee.
This week we didn’t get a lot of down time. We had a hardcore crash course on how to set up everything and the running of all the different aspects of the show. Sometimes we crashed but by the end of the week we are all getting the hang of it and we even cut down our 14 hour days to a more ‘normal’ 12 hour day! Go us!
Keep tuned for the second week of Kentucky next week!