Friday, August 3, 2018

vet box & a whole lot more @ MDHT!

Hey, yo! It's Friday! AGAIN! Not having internet at home is seriously killin my vibe. And it's not looking like there's any sort of end imminently within sight. Bleh. Moving is the worst.

Except the move is technically over - keys handed over, most (sorta) of the boxes are unpacked! Things are good.

Boyd Martin & Ray Price in the Open Intermediate 
So let's take a nice little look back to a few weeks ago to when I volunteered at the MDHT CIC2*/1* cross country day!!

vet box stocked and ready for the FEI divisions
I signed up to be in the vet box - a first for me. Somehow I had it stuck in my mind that these were CCI classes, not CIC. The distinction there being CCI courses are longer and the vet box is mandatory. I was wrong tho - oops - these were FEI CIC courses and therefore riders could skip the vet box if they wanted.

central location meant we had a nice view! tho the FEI stadium had run the day prior
So mostly, per our meeting with the vet ahead of go time, our biggest job for the day was to be helpful. Be an extra set of hands for any riders who needed them, and be prepared to help with all aspects of horse recovery upon completion (or, er, non-completion as the case would be for some riders) of the cross country phase.

we were nice and close to the start box too!
The basic gist of what happens in the vet box, mandatory or otherwise, is as follows:

When horses first arrive on the grounds for the event, they all get checked out by the vet. This includes a preliminary documentation of the horse's baseline Temperature, Pulse, and Respiration (TPR) and I believe even the CICs do jogs, tho that might not be the case.

plus we had a clear view of the warm up from the vet box
Then, after running cross country (even if they don't complete), vets and assistants are on hand to log the horse's TPR again. First immediately upon the rider arriving in the vet box (which is located just after the finish line - all horses are funneled through the box, even at the CIC where some chose to not stop).

gotta be honest: this was prime fangirl real estate lol
If the riders opted to get their horse's numbers at this time (which, again, for CIC was voluntary but many chose to do so anyway to ensure the horse was recovering well and safely), they would stick around for some duration while we would recheck the TPR numbers on intervals until the horse appeared stabilized and ready to return to the barn.

after coming off cross country, riders had the option of getting TPR readings as their horses recovered
My particular job for the day was Temperature Girl. So, uh, yea. I had the pleasure (?) of getting up close and very personal with quite a few famous horses. Which, ya know, is one of the more dubious distinctions of my illustrious career as fan-girl-extraordinaire-bordering-on-actually-maybe-emma-is-kinda-stalkerish-#creepstar3000. Ahem. Cough cough.

many riders had a big team of grooms!
Anyway. In between TPR readings, riders and their team went about all the other steps of helping a horse along in recovery. Obviously this included stripping tack - usually step one. Then a never ending cycle of sponging, scraping, sponging, scraping, sponging, scraping and walking walking walking, plus some time spent in front of the big fans and misters under the vet box tent.

like Lainey Ashker, whose team all had little bits of green somewhere in support of Jonty Evans (who woke up!!!)
It was interesting to me to see the differences between how some riders prepared ahead of time for this. Obvi a lot of the pros had a well established system, kits and team of grooms to facilitate this process. Others were completely alone - just them and their horses.

other riders were flying entirely solo tho. we vet box assistants were happy to pitch in a hand to help whoever wanted it, like when i got to spend some quality time with this sweetie while his rider ran back to the trailer for supplies. i was surprised by how many rope halters i saw in the vet box tho!
No matter what tho, we vet box assistants (there were something like 8 of us plus the actual vet) were there to lend a hand wherever needed. And most riders took us up on that! It was funny tho, we usually had to offer to help more than once before riders were like, "Actually yes plz!" bc the first time they'd sorta be like, "Nah we're fine" but then we helpers were still just kinda there so, ya know, why not accept a hand, right?

at our busiest, the vet box operated like a well oiled production line, with horses circling through under the tents and fans while grooms attended to them with sponging and scraping
So in this manner, the couple hours of FEI classes passed by mostly pretty quickly. We usually had a reasonably steady stream of horses coming through, but it never really felt overwhelming. Honestly it was often kinda quiet - plenty of time to hang out and just absorb the environment, and watch the horses go by (we could see a couple cool features of the course, like the warm up, start, a water, and the coffin).

it was cool to see which riders and teams turned to which products to help the horses recover. i've always been fascinated by this blue material that stays freakishly cold when wet
For folks who like a volunteer job spent on your feet, but maybe without a ton of walking, this would be a good job. Especially if you're comfortable with tasks like taking a horse's temperature or helping untack and de-boot strange horses. The interaction with the competitors was fun too, and especially getting to listen in as they would all immediately start debriefing with their teams about how the ride went.

even riders who didn't complete the course still took advantage of the vet box amenities for their horses
Personally, this wasn't actually my favorite volunteer job and I'm probably not likely to sign up for it again. It's kinda hard for me to describe why - there's no real reason, honestly, except that it felt kinda crowded. And possibly prone to the "big fish, small pond," name-dropping type atmosphere as far as volunteers were concerned. Which is obviously a good thing for a volunteer job that needs more experienced horse people for tasks like measuring pulse and respiration.

like Lauren Kieffer who retired on course with Veronica, i think bc she thought the horse took a funny step. fortunately nothing seemed obviously amiss after a cursory vet check!
That might just be me tho - and my own preference. For instance I really like stewarding warm up rings, with all the chaos and nerves and riders all across the spectrum. But I was chatting with a volunteer later in the day who said she loved the vet box and hated doing warm up rings. So it probably just depends on personal preference.

i gotta say tho, it was very cool to be up close and personal (ahem, as temperature girl i was very personal with some of them!) with these elite horses. the above is Boyd Martin's Tsetserleg, after Boyd left the horse with his grooms to immediately scurry off for his next ride
I would definitely say if you're curious about seeing this side of the competition, definitely sign up. I have exactly zero regrets doing it - it was a cool experience and I got to see a whole new side to some of these world class horses and riders. There's a lot to learn, but you don't need any prior experience to sign up - the vet and organizers were fully prepared to explain and educate any willing volunteer.

this is Daniela Moguel's 4* horse Cecelia, who came off this CIC 2* course relaxed enough to be walked around by a small child
Anyway, there were only the two FEI classes for the day. No other classes required a vet box so we were disbanded fairly early. I had learned during the morning cross country meeting that one jump judge there with her young kids would have to leave before the last two classes of the day (prelim and training) so I had offered to fill in her spot at that time.

obvi this kid knows horses... but still, i think it says a lot (in a good way) about the life this horse must lead 
That left me with an hour of free time between when the FEI 2*/1* classes finished, while the Intermediate (approx ~2*, sliiiiightly easier track) ran, before needing to jump judge for Prelim and Training.

really tho, the cycle just repeated itself again and again. here we see Lauren Kieffer again with her third FEI ride of the day, anglo arab Vermiculus
And naturally, as your resident dedicated eager-to-please obsessive media junkie, I spent the hour hoofing it all across that Intermediate course, trying to get video of as many jumps and combinations and horses and riders as humanly possible.

i really enjoyed watching each team's process with the horses too - esp seeing the similarities between them all. lots and lots of ice everywhere haha
I started at one end of the course and systematically worked my way across, and honestly guys the course was AWESOME OMG.

then it was spectating time!!!
Not least of which because this Intermediate class was CHOCK FULL of WEG horses out for a relaxing canter across the country to stretch their legs lol.....

i'll spare you all my zillions of screen shots from every single fence - so enjoy these gifs instead
And imho the resulting video is prettttttty baller. #justsaying #youshouldtotallywatch #fridaysareforvideosright?

there's a lot of really great footage here tho - esp considering how many WEG horses were out and about to stretch their legs!!

And yea I mean, realistically, spectating is probably my favorite thing to do at an event. Bonus if it includes tailgating lol. And extra double super special bonus if you get to spectate with a radio, which I had handy. So I got to hear all the details as each rider went through the course. Mighty handy!

then what better way to round out the day than with some low key jump judging?
But pretty soon it was time to report for duty as jump judge for the last two divisions. Both of which were also full of all sorts of recognizable names.

i was at the finish line for prelim
Started at the last jump for prelim, then moved to the first jump for training. Both relatively easy jumps obviously haha - no issues at either throughout both classes. Tho, uh, yea you could kinda tell at the first jump which riders might be fixin for a rougher rider....

and jump 1 for training. not bad!
Anyway tho, it was a great way to spend a day - volunteering, spectating, and even a couple complimentary drinks with complimentary dinner after the show wrapped. Not bad!

Think you'd ever sign up for the vet box? Or maybe jump judging is more your preference? Or are you mostly just on board for the spectating / tailgating? As far as I'm concerned, there's really no wrong way to enjoy watching all the pretty ponies go haha. Especially when it involves some crazy impressive combinations lol.

So hopefully if nothing else you at least enjoyed the video as a nice Friday distraction ;)


31 comments:

  1. Ha! Sorry but I laughed at the thought of you getting so up close and personal with famous horses. Now you could recognize them from both ends ;)

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  2. hey just think of the cachet of saying well I took BIG NAME HORSE temp. LMAO :)

    Happy moving. It sucks. and the internet OMG nothing is worse without it but it is even worse where I live because I get no PHONE SERVICE EITHER :)

    Hope it all gets straight and you get settled. Thanks for sharing that volunteer/spectating day. The weather looked perfect!! YAY

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    1. Ugh I would be lost without my phone - not having even normal internet is bad enough! Soon tho, soon. It took a lot of phone calls (too many) to finally schedule a tech visit, but it’s finally happening (supposedly) next week. Maybe. Lol

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  3. OMG YOU TOUCHED THOMAS'S BUTTHOLE??? *FANGRIL SQUEE*

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    1. I mean, I could try to be all extra like “AND I HAVENT WASHED THE HAND SINCE!!” But... ew no haha.

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  4. I've taken so famous/semi famous temps of racehorses in the past. No regrets lmao

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    1. omg haha - i believe it!!! i mean, it's a pretty crucial element of making sure the horse is doing ok after such a big effort.... it definitely makes me giggle tho lol (while also trying like hell not to get kicked or stepped on by a stud....)

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  5. Fun! I signed up to volunteer for the vet box at an event once and was really looking forward to it, but the vets ended up bringing their own people, boo.

    I'm definitely jealous you got to touch Thomas, no matter where you got to touch them bahahaha

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    1. aw that is a boo, you should sign up again - it was a neat experience even if i don't think i'll do it again! and yea boyd had like eight thousand horses that day so he really didn't stay put anyway. i don't even know how he did his outfit changes bc he was constantly back and forth from the jumping to the dressage since he had horses in seemingly every single division.....

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  6. Such great video and pictures! I would really love to volunteer for all the parts since I'm not familiar with all the things needed for eventing. I'm hoping by next year I can volunteer at Coconino since there's not any events here lol. It's all so fascinating to me, but I think my fav aspect is scribing for a judge. I love listening to their remarks and picking their brains about what they do and don't like, and then if I couldn't see something that they marked down then I'm able to ask them what they didn't like about it.

    But despite what you were in charge of, definitely jealous you were that up close and personal to them. Especially Vermiculus. I love him. And Thomas. And really just all of them ahaha!

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    1. Vermiculus is the actual coolest lol. And you should definitely sign up for coco!! Make a week or weekend out of it! Treat it like your own version of adult camp - it sounds like such a cool opportunity!!!!

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  7. I'd take the vet box over jump judging (though not necessarily temperature girl...) but my all time favorite is golf cart driver!

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    1. The golf cart is a sweet job haha for sure. If you don’t like taking temps the vet box might be a tough spot, but other jobs include taking pulse and respiratory numbers, but also scribing all the numbers. Essentially there where three teams of three that did the numbers - one did pulse and respiration with the stethoscope and one did temp with the thermometer and one scribed. Then there was also a water girl for the competitors coming off course.

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  8. I've never seen vet box as an option for volunteering so it was cool to learn about it. I don't think I'd volunteer for it though. I really like jump judging.

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    1. It was a cool job but I’m also not super likely to do it again. Jump judging is great esp depending on who you do it with - but warm up rings I think are my favorite

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  9. heck yeah that video was kick-ass! Thanks for putting that together!

    and THANK YOU for volunteering! Even if you were the temperature girl ;)

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    1. Lol honestly after we had the flu outbreak and subsequent quarantine at our farm years ago I’ve gotten very comfortable with taking temperatures. So. Uh. I guess it was a good fit?? Lol seriously tho it was a great day and I’m SO GLAD you enjoyed the video!!!!

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  10. I loved the vet box when I volunteered at the 3 day!!! Though I didn’t get to touch any famous horses’ booties… just regular horses… but all really kick ass regular horses!! Glad you had a great time!!!

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    1. Dude the three day vet box is arguably more important from a volunteer perspective bc they need more help!! Carolyn who runs Loch Moy has repeatedly expressed to me that they really really need help for the three day riders (think T and below) bc for most of them it’s their first introduction to that set of protocols and the volunteers are even more vital to a smooth operation

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  11. That sounds like a great volunteering day! Your temperature girl job made me laugh out loud. I can see how sticking thermometers up horse butts can get a bit...interesting haha.

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    1. Lololol honestly I just didn’t want to get my teeth kicked in. Luckily the riders with horses who were.... uh, *fussier* were pretty honest about it. And since it wasn’t mandatory there were some horses that we just skipped per the rider’s recommendation. Obvi if any horse looked in distress we could have stepped in but luckily that was not the case.

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  12. I know what you mean, I'm more of the behind the scenes type of volunteer myself.

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    1. Idk if I would consider a warm up ring “behind the scenes” but it’s definitely a different environment from a bureaucratic perspective

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  13. Oh I love this post!!! So, I think I get what you mean about the vet box. There's a lot of atmosphere. And honestly,one of my favorite parts about eventing is that it is a small community, and we've all probably run into Boyd at some point, and we get to watch amazing riders gallop around frequently. I can't really stand being around people who have to talk about it? Or act like they are MORE on the inside. I'm not saying that's what happened to you, or was your experience, but I will say I think I'd prefer ring steward or jump judge. Just hanging out, doing my thing, and feeling all the excitement of the sport.

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    1. Yes. You hit the nail on the head. That was my experience. It’s not necessarily bad or wrong or over the top and everyone was wonderful and I very much enjoyed the conversations. But.......... but. Probably won’t do it again. Bc yea. Warm up steward is much much much MUCH more my jam lol

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  14. I really wish I lived within a day trip of an event - that sound like a perfect day! Love the media :)

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    1. Glad you liked it!!! We are definitely spoiled here, for sure. I’m grateful literally every day haha

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  15. That actually sounds so cool to experience!!

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    1. It was super cool! Definitely a little different lol, but very cool!

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