I’m about 12 blogs behind because I’m too tired to blog, but I might as well post a little bit about my favorite event of the year, Fair Hill.
I cut back my volunteering significantly this year because I’ve just been so burned out. In the end, I just worked the in gate for Young Event Horse jumping on Thursday and Friday and while I could have done more, I’m OK with this for this year.
I’ll be honest, Thursday was…less than great. I LOVE working the in gate. It’s one of my favorite volunteer jobs–you get to chat with the rider before they ride, see the horses up close, almost get taken out (thanks Mike), and overall, it’s just a good job, but Thursday? Thursday was… in less than ideal conditions. It was raining for a while. Then there was a deluge. And, let’s be real, after a while, it doesn’t matter how many rain coats you have, you can’t really stay dry. But, waterproof pants ARE the way to go. What Thursday did have going for it was 1. It wasn’t cold and 2. I spent a good amount of time standing in the horse ambulance (which was parked in the wrong place, but whatever) and 3. I had my truck parked near the in gate which let me sit down when needed.
And then the rain got worse… I was very impressed by the last few horses who were going around the course in pretty much a deluge. No video of them as I was trying (and failing) to stay as dry as possible, but… Condition were less than ideal. The ground stayed surprisingly good.
But for as bad as Thursday was, Friday was GORGEOUS. The footing was surprisingly good, mucky in spots, but decent.
There was some communication issues first thing in the morning with the announcer. I found out later that they didn’t have a radio for the first 6 riders so they were just guessing who was on course. This led to mistakenly calling the first rider as Boyd Martin vs whoever it actually was (I don’t have the order in front of me). But, it did lead to one of my favorite interactions of the day.
Boyd came down early to watch. Near the in gate in a holding area where the next rider can watch, warm up, or walk around. They have a true warmup area up the hill, but they can also warm up a touch near the gate. One the previous rider finishes, they can school the water/look at jumps/warm up in the ring. Anyway, Boyd was the second rider and more or less followed the first rider down to see what the course looked like. As the announcer was announcing all of Boyd’s accolades and accomplishments, information on his horse, and other such information, Boyd looks down at me and with a straight face says, “you know, I’m Boyd Martin.” The only thing I could think to say back was, “ya think?” But in hindsight, “No shit,” would have been a better response. Anyway, that was my entertainment of the morning.
After 2 exhausting days, I ended up just taking it easy during cross country day. Normally I try to walk as much of the course as possible, but I wasn’t feeling it. I never made it down to saw mill. I stayed closer to the main arena and just moved back and forth between a handful of jumps. While I missed seeing the saw mill area and larger parts of the course, it was a nice, relaxing change without feeling like death at the end of the day. Well, almost. I did spend too much time at the StableFeed booth and ended up buying a bag of Sainfoin pellets and getting a 40lbs bag to my truck during the break between the 3 and 5* was… not fun. But, the folks at StableFeed are great. So too the ladies at Botori and DappleBay (I only shopped Botori clearance and scored a nice pair of Adlers in petite at more than 50% off — way better than cuffing the leg– and a $20 shirt I already own because I love it).
Sunday I splurged for seats as my husband joined me for the day. After the running around the other 3 days, I’ve really grown to love stadium day. Our seats were great and it was just a fun, enjoyable day. 4 days later I’m still exhausted!