Friday May 22 2009
Geez - where to begin!
The 2009 3-day Owyhee Fandango is over - and I'm not sure about Steph, but I sure feel like I've been hit with two freight trains going in opposite directions. Steph's probably about the same, although for different reasons, because her voice and body posture was the same as mine on the Tuesday morning after: gravelly and dragging!
The first big rigs started pulling into basecamp on Wednesday, and from there things went non-stop. I'd talked my friend Tracy into coming from L.A. to do all the secretarial work for the ride. She'd worked on rides for Jackie Bumgardner in southern California, it was a break from her routine, and it was Owyhee county in Idaho with all our famous celebrity horses - who could refuse that! It sounded good to her, so Steph flew her in... only neither of us had happened to mention the incredible amount of work she would be swamped with: instead of a "3-day multi-day ride," she got buried under, technically, 18 different rides, when you count all the distances, AERC, FEI, AHA, and OMG (as Steph later put it).
I picked Tracy up at the Boise airport on Thursday (and we ran errands
for the ride) and she immediately went to work as soon as she got to
basecamp. As more rigs steadily pulled in, and as USA Chef d'Equipe
Becky Hart and USA Team veterinarian Jim Bryant Jr held a couple of
USEF clinics for international-aspiring riders, and Christoph Schork
gave a hoofcare clinic in the morning, and as the local radio club set
up their equipment, I was busy with our horses and helping set up for the ride.
It didn't slow down at all on Friday, and neither did the steady stream of horse trailers pulling in, most of them carrying more horses than people. Basecamp was almost full, and there would probably be a few more riders trickling in on Saturday. The regular local riders brought their usual one or two mounts, and those FEI riders hoping to start or continue qualifying their horses (since FEI changed the qualification rules beginning of this year, much to the disgruntlement of many riders) brought multiple mounts. Christoph Schork and Dian Woodward of Moab Utah hauled in 9 horses! You'd often see one rider taking three horses at a time on a walk.
FEI requires you have all these extra vets and officials, so there were extra runs to the airports and shuttles to the hotel in Grandview or to Regina's house where at least one person stayed every night.
Tracy was drowning in registration papers - a 3-day ride with two distances is busy enough, what with people riding different horses on different days, then deciding to switch at the last minute, but add in the (ridiculous - I'm sorry, any way you look at it, it's ridiculous) amount of paperwork for the FEI horses and riders that ride management has to sort through, and switching rides with those at the last minute, and one person coming in with 4 horses and/or riders to register or change for 3 days, well, some people were waiting for several hours to just check in. But what can you do when there's so much paperwork required? People kept setting food and drinks in front of Tracy because she did not leave her desk from 11 AM till 11 PM.
Vetting in for Day 1 went on during the afternoong. There was a Wine and Cheese party at 6 PM sponsored by VETTEC, with wine from the local winery, Sawtooth Vineyard. Our regular caterers, Deb and Al of Blue Canoe, provided a hamburger and hot dog dinner for everyone.
I couldn't imagine why I was so tired by 9 PM - I'd felt like I'd ridden 50 miles and I hadn't even been on a horse! Only later I figured I'd probably walked 50 miles all day, what with moving horses around, feeding horses, running to find things for people, fetching this, setting up that, running around taking pictures, meeting up with Gretchen who'd come up from Bridgeport, vetting in Jose (who I'd get to ride tomorrow : ), and, oh yea, fetching horses all day for the shoers in the middle of everything.
If I was this tired already, it was going to be a loooooooooong weekend.
Fun, but long...
But where else would I want to be!