Getting on the road - 5:30 (well, full disclosure actually 5:45) a.m.

Getting on the road – 5:30 (well, full disclosure actually 5:45) a.m.

Welcome to my Volunteer Day. It started earlier than this picture, when I had to get up, feed and fly spray my horses, turnout the ones who ate grain quickly in their stalls in the barn, check water tub levels outside with the light from my cell phone, (of course I don’t drop it in the water, ever…right), grab my previously-packed lunch, water, dry socks and shoes, and hit the road for a 7:30 a.m. jump judges’ meeting!

Perk No. 1 - getting to see a beautiful sunrise

Perk No. 1 – getting to see a beautiful sunrise

I made it in time to get my radio, find out quickly from the TD where he wanted me and waded out on the dew-soaked course. I finally found my spot after wandering around. Because of the new CIC format, where cross-country is the last phase, and run in reverse order of standing, the best in the division go last in the group. That means, of course, that the REST of the division sort of gets to run first and some of us were still wiping the sleep out of our eyes and sipping the last couple drops of coffee when the action began – with stops, runouts, falls, etc. before it was even 9:00 a.m.! After a few mishaps, the two-star division smoothed out. It was not too exciting on the CIC* course, thank goodness, so I was able to take some photographs and enjoy the beautiful day. The excitement would come later in the afternoon, as it turned out.

Plantation prides itself on attracting a full compliment of top riders. Here is Niklas Lindbäck from Sweden on Brewster in the CIC*.

Niklas Lindbäck and Brewster - photo by Holly

Niklas Lindbäck and Brewster – photo by Holly

I got the chance to photograph a few friends, and some interesting sights, too.

Downton Abbey themed four-in-hands waited on Route 92. Unionville is used to this sort of traffic jam!

Downton Abbey themed four-in-hands waited on Route 92. Unionville is used to this sort of traffic jam!

The day stretched on.  Due to holds and falls and loose horses, we got a little behind on the schedule, and my bladder was complaining big time. There was 15 minutes between the end of the one start before the three-star division started, and I raced up the hill to find a single porta-potty – with a LINE. Oh well. It was either that or break into the emergency horse trailer and find a bucket, so we got ‘er done, and jumped back in the car and zoomed down the hill to find my third spot.

This is where life got exciting for a while – on the hill above the CIC*** water jump, the now infamous 15A-B-C obstacle at the Dubarry Water. I called it the Three Star Water Follies but it wasn’t really very fun for those whose horses misjudged the drop and landing and fell. A crowd gathered. We were all very dismayed by the time of the third fall there. My friends Caitlin and Courtney fell there, and it’s hard to watch your friends and their horses go down. It’s a shock, because you are used to seeing them just nailing everything with their great horses. Finally the TD called a halt to the course, and held up the competition to decide what to do about it.

Win The War and Jessica Bortner-Harris pop cleanly through the CIC*** 15A B C combination before it was removed

Win The War and Jessica Bortner-Harris pop cleanly through the CIC*** 15A B C combination before it was removed

There were two horses on course at the time, the other stopping steward, Diane, had one horse and the second was down at the bottom of the course near Fence 13 – a field away from my position. I hit my stopwatch as soon as I heard Mr. Lochore stay “Hold”, even though at the time I could not see the rider at all! I knew where she was, though, and headed down there on foot. Got there and got information out to everyone, after they took the water jump out of the course, and sent the rider on her way.

Plantation is a beautiful place

Plantation is a beautiful place

By this time I was parched – I had learned my lesson and did not drink too much so fortunately someone brought me a water bottle. I ended up helping with crowd control on the hill and monitoring the last few rides on the course.

We returned our radios, chatted, found some things and returned some things and tried to take a quick walk through the trade fair, which, alas, was already closing up and shutting down, so got no chance to shop (darn).

I got home to my horses about 7:30 p.m. Crazy, eh? yes, but it was worth it!

Holly
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