Lila Gendal issues a salute to all the people behind the scenes without whom horse trials could not happen.
Top: Skybreaker galloping at Huntington–Open Novice, July 2013
From Lila Gendal:
Ninety degrees, humid and barely a breeze… what else would you want to do but compete this weekend in VT, a state that’s supposed to have a temperate climate? Seriously, event riders push boundaries just in order to compete. Of course, we would never be able to do what we love if it weren’t for those amazing folks who put on these events. We really owe it all to the ones that for some odd reason want to break their backs, pour out money, and get very little in return. These organizers, secretaries, judges, volunteers, medics, farm owners, oh, and did I mention the volunteers? These are the ones we need to repeatedly thank and act gracious towards.
I spent my Sunday at Huntington Farm in South Strafford, VT. Every summer Ann Kitchel puts on two recognized horse trials and all of us at Tamarack never miss her events. I mean, how could we…we live less than a mile up the road from her gorgeous farm! Unfortunately the amount of torrential rain that we have had so far this year has really caused a setback for all the haying that needed to be done, and still needs to be done. Huntington farm had a tremendous amount of haying to do before the event could even take place. Saturday evening a group of us went to walk our course only to find a lonely tractor out in the far jumping field with an enormous amount of hay on the ground.
All the fields on xc were completely ready the following morning. The amount of work and energy that went into this event was extraordinary considering how last-minute everything happened, which was completely based on the unfortunate weather patterns. People were worried about the footing, and people were worried about the heat, and some people were angry that they had to cancel show jumping. Show jumping was cancelled due to the amount of time that was needed to hay that extra field and the lack of time available for the field to dry out before horses could trample through it. The Huntington crew all did what they could in the amount of time they were allotted. Anyone that complained should have lent a hand before getting their nose out of joint. Anyone who complained should try putting on an event someday and see what THAT feels like!
Overall, the show was a huge success. Not only was the footing amazing, but the entire day ran smoothly and people really enjoyed themselves. I think that everyone that helped put with this event slept soundly Sunday night. I hope that riders and competitors on Sunday made sure to thank everyone who put on this event, because without them there would be no events. I hope Huntington Farm realizes how appreciative we all were for such a fun and smooth day!
I think at times this sport can become so one sided. We all can get wrapped up in the excitement, the competitive natures, and the “me” aspect which probably deters those who run the events. Of course, I’m sure these organizers and farm owners want to see people enjoying their events and their homes, but to forget about the people who put these events on is like walking past a person who just fell on the sidewalk…you just can’t become that self-absorbed. You have to lend a hand and thank those who work their butts off! Without these events, and without these gracious farm owners, there would be NO eventing. We have to stop worrying about ourselves and our horses, and start thanking those who make this dwindling sport even possible!