Wednesday, August 29 2012
On Thursday evening we had the opening ceremonies. They were awesome as expected. All of the athletes were invited into a big party. There were appetizers and drinks and socializing and then we were all put behind the scenes and organized by countries.
The ceremonies were after dark. It was a small disappointment that not all of the people could be in the seats to watch as there was not enough room. Most of our crew were outside on the grass watching large screens instead of live performances.
All the countries were announced as we marched in with our flag. Then we all sat down and watched the show. It was a variety of dancers, light shows, mounted performances and fireworks, lots of fireworks! Very fun. We had an after party at the barn. It was pretty fun, then headed off to bed.
When we got back to the house my whole family had arrived! My Mom, Dad, Hannah, Jonathan and Dustin. Super awesome.
Friday, Jeremy and I went to the barn very early to get a ride in before the day got busy. At 10:30 our truck arrived to haul the horses over to the venue. It was decided that we would take 6 horses over, due to how the rules were written this time as far as alternates were concerned. Nicki, John, Val, Jeremy, Meg and I loaded up our ponies and made the 15 min drive to the venue. Uneventful.
We hand grazed the horses for a long while and then put them in and took care of things. 4:22 was our countries vet in time and we marched over in uniform and vetted. All but Nicki's horse, Not Tonight, vetted in. It was very disappointing for everyone.
After that we weighed in and things were officially started. Later that day Emmett told us that John, Val, Jeremy and I would make up the team.
When all was done at the barn we headed home and my sister and mom cooked pizza and we ate and went to sleep.
Sat we woke up and left the house at 5 am. Wendy had fed for us early that morning and we didn't start until 7 am. The horses were eating and relaxed when we got to the barn. The whole crew team met at the old barn, not at the race, at 6 am to set out to their points before the traffic started.
Marvel and Kutt were saddled at 6:15 and we started warming up. Both seemed relaxed. We headed over towards the start after a while and joined the masses in warm ups.
At 7 am the announcer announced the start and we were off!! The start was a long shoot with hundreds of cheering fans lining both sides. The horses shot down the stretch through the cheers. Marvel lost Kutt immediately as Kutt was going to be riding faster. Marvel was terrified. He had never had so many fast horses near him in a crowd combined with all the cheering. Whenever a horse near him did anything abruptly he would leap and bolt forward. After about a half a mile he settled into the idea of just galloping along.
The first loop had a number of riderless horses. I saw two fall down myself. There was a lot of grass and horses were slipping or tripping I guess. My new model Easyboot Glue ons were SUPER secure in the grass! I was very happy with this. In the entire 100/160 Marvel slipped 1 time. Very cool.
We passed through a couple of crew points and it was great seeing so many American faces handing bottles to me.
When we arrived at the first vet check I was surprised to see Kutt there. He was totally freaked out, he was shaking and calling out to all the horses. He is so quiet all the time that this was super weird. His normal 1.5 min recovery had taken over 15 mins and he wasn't coming down until he saw Marvel. I stayed by Kutt until he came down. We can only figure that it may have been the PA system. Kutt hasn't been around one since he was on the track. He was also super wired each time leaving the checks and wanted to bolt out each and every time. Normally he is so rational but again the PA was there announcing.
Loops two and three Jeremy and I rode together. After loop three I had a recheck for a hind end. From this point on I rode carefully and each loop he was looked at twice from then on.
The team was doing well. Val was having some physical pain from her first loop where her horse decided to spook and leave her but she was tough as nails and stuck it out for the team.
At the last vet check Heraldic vetted out for lameness. That left only the 3 of us to make it happen for a team placing. I was skeptical as Marvel had a questionable hind end.
On the last loop after I left the last crew point the sky opened up and it really poured. The rain was torrential and the thunder and lightening were simultaneous. It was getting hairy for sure, the wind had picked up and the branches were falling around me. The trail turned into a river and things got sloppy.
About a mile and a half from the finish line a quad came around to inform me that the race had been cancelled and that I could stop. I looked at the guy and asked where I would go if I "stopped?". Then I told him that I am almost done and that I would keep going. I didn't slow down for this conversation. The two Malaysian riders I was with pulled up and and stood there. I called back to them to keep coming and then stopped worrying about them and continued.
At the finish our USA team was there to greet me. It was cool. I did get to finish, they let everyone stop after whatever loop they were on and since I was on my last one I vetted and finished.
In the end Meg was 11th, Val was 20 with Jeremy who was 21 and I think I was 36 or so. Our team placed 4th.
It is kind of funny that the last two World Championships the alternate rider who was added the day before the race performed best in both cases...
On Saturday night we had a pizza party at the old barn with the whole USA group, it was a lot of fun.
Sunday we went to the awards. Sunday was a packing day and then there were buyers wanting to see some of the horses. It ended up being a busy day.
In the end Marvel belongs to a Sheik and will be in Dubai and Kutt, Pete and Reggie were sold to Sheik Mohammed and Juma will be training them. It was hard as always saying good bye to our close equine friends but I know both trainers will handle them well and take really top notch care of them.