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We Are Flying Solo

May 2, 2013

Live From South Cackalacky

Full colour 40-pg program:  nothing here is done halfway!
As we call it around here (although we are approximately 45 seconds from the state line shared with North Cackalacky).  Hmmm, it feels so familiar -- oh yes, because I just spent ten days here in March, driving back and forth to Becky Holder's Windhaven Farm, 10 minutes up the highway.

It is officially Day 1 of Southern Eighths' Classic Three Day Event, sponsored by Nikon.  Unique in that it is the only place in the US that offers a version of long format eventing at Beginner Novice, Novice, and Training levels, on a farm built specifically for the purpose, it's a chance to get lost for four days in an eventer's paradise

Of course, for me, it's Day 2 already.  Seeing as I am the Lady The Officials Must Be Nice To In Order To Get Fed, oh, I mean, the "Officals Coordinator" (yeah, that does sound better), I already spent three hours yesterday driving down here and then another chunk of my life I will never get back raiding the Wadesboro (oh, you jewel of the Carolinas...and by jewel I mean not) Walmart.  The latter is particularly painful seeing as I am an adamant Walmart boycotter for ethical reasons (and auditory ones, thanks screaming children in giant echoing warehouse space...and random woman who talks to bananas 0.0).  Let's just say it's a good thing I don't drive a Camry, because providing 200 breakfasts, lunches, drinks, and snacks takes up some space!

I'm officially official!!
Four jam-packed shopping carts (thank you, random Wadesboro citizens who helped me get it all to the truck!) later, I could finally put it all away in my "shed" (imagine a building roughly the size of a city firestation with garage bays big enough for cranes and its own kitchen) and pass out.

This morning, all competing horses must pass their basic arrival veterinary exam and their riders will learn how to present their horse for inspection in preparation from veterans Holly Hudspeth and Lauren O'Brien for the official jog late this afternoon.

Sometimes people ask, "Why should I bother paying an extra entry fee for a lower level long format event if it is just a Novice Horse Trial with a couple trail rides added?"  Yes, someone (not here) has called it trail rides, sigh.

Answer:  Because this is not a Horse Trial, my friends.

MY Rolex, the eventing I grew up watching, was, of course, a long format event (The Only Format) and at a *** level, was the type of event you would only do once or twice a year.  A horse trial was a much smaller, shorter affair you did simply as practice for The Real Thing.  A true three-day event was as much a test of horsemanship, partnership, and the depth of your training and knowledge as it was a competition.

So my response is, yes, the entry fee is higher.  Yet it is an incredible bargain for what you receive.  Does your horse trial include free clinics by professionals on jog-ups, managing time for the interconnected phases of endurance day (2 Roads & Tracks sections, Steeplechase, Cross Country), what your dressage judges are looking for (including demonstration rides), what to do in the ten-minute box, how to ride steeplechase, tips for grooms and crew, and course walks with international level riders and course designers?  Oh yeah, and parties and FOOD?

It appears I am expected to be hospitable.
I didn't think so.  ;-)

I can't put a price or even quantify what I have learned in my four or five years of helping run the Classic Three-Day at Waredaca.  A new schedule arrangement in a different location this weekend with different clinicians will, I am sure, provide even more tidbits to add to my horsemanship toolbox (and as a volunteer, all it costs me is my diesel).  With all that we pour into our horses, to be offered such an opportunity twice a year in two places in the region, when considered in context, is a gift that is a no-brainer in my book and I can participate even though my horses defy my efforts at competing.  Once I finally do get there, though, I bet I'll be the most prepared dang rider in the field, ha!

For now, I'd better turn the breakfast table into a lunch table.  I will be trying to take some pics with my proper-ish camera, but will not be able to upload them till I get home, so if you are lucky, my brain will remember a random, poor-quality cell phone shot or two to keep you entertained!

Till next time, this is eventer79, live from Southern Eighths.  Making sandwiches.  Officially.


  1. I've never seen a long format event in person (other than the Olympics), and I also grew up thinking that was the only REAL format. I so wanted to get to Prelim just so I could do it. I didn't realize there's a BN/N/T one out there! I'd love to participate... sounds super cool.

    And kudos to you for helping herd cats!

  2. It was such a sad day when they cut the Long Format. :-( I've never been to the Rolex, but I *did* grow up watching Sylvester (about 493,000 times), and yes to me the Long Format is the only Real Deal.

    I would LOVE to ride a LF one day (porbably BN, lol, but ya gotta start somewhere, right?). Maybe I could do it on a stick horse if Salem is perpetually lame. Although my stick horse refuses an awful lot, unfortunately.

    And I, too, am a Walmart boycotter--I detest their business practices, so I refuse to support them. I'm also now boycotting Hobby Lobby. And Domino's. But I guess out in the sticks you don't have a whole lot of choice, especially when you have to feed hordes of hungry athletes!

    Good on ya for stepping up and volunteering. :-)

  3. That is waaay cool that you are helping out there. Although, I know you'd much rather be riding... is Encore simply not ready for a long format yet? Did you ever bring Solo, or was a long-format too much for him stamina-wise?

    Also, since you are my Wise Knows-Everything Acquaintance of Eventing, I have to ask you a couple questions about Rolex. The first being, what DID happen to Becky and CFM? I was never able to find out from anybody and they were far away from me on the course when "whatever it was" happened. There were actually many, many withdrawls and retirements and eliminations that I never got any answers about - I wish somebody would publish a list with explanations!!! Or maybe there is one? EN, perhaps?

    Having seen 4**** eventing three times now (Atlanta Olympics, WEG and now Rolex), I have to tell you that I certainly see the allure. I would absolutely love to try bombing around a teeny-tiny XC course, if nothing else. :-)

  4. Oooo, that's quite official :) have fun!

  5. Jenj, it's a great learning experience. The other one I help run is at Waredaca in MD and it offers N & T.

    Frizz, a stick horse sounds awesome to me, it never has issues! You are welcome to take Solo BN -- you just need to keep his hocks injected, get him fit again, do his chiro and accupuncture and not mind a bit of crooked in your dressage test and you can ride away! :D

    RW, Encore is qualified but not ready right now -- I am taking plenty of time getting him un-sore and building his butt strength up a lot more before I take him out again. The past 8 months has been so crazy for both of us; I'd like to, I dunno, finish a HT this spring first, LOL.

    As for Rolex, Teddy (Can't Fire Me) stumbled onto his knees and Becky just fell off. Both were unhurt, which is great. Sadly, it was at fence 24, I believe, so close! The XC gods have not been nice to her at the Horse Park for several years!