Tuesday, April 30, 2019

kentucky swag + loot + booty

Let's talk shopping, yes?? One of the best parts of going to the Land Rover Kentucky 3DE is the HUGE trade fair. Literally everything imaginable is there, with so many tantalizingly shiny leathery odds and ends all just begging for that impulse purchase haha.

the official merch always feels so $$$$, but then again it's nice to have something to remember!
Luckily (or unluckily, I guess, depending on your perspective), I've worked really hard to change my spending and purchasing habits over the last year and have moooostly trained out the impulsiveness. Mostly lol.

Y'all already know that my finances basically karate kicked my teeth in last summer, and it's taken months of careful discipline to return to a place of stasis. Still tho. This trip has been on my horizon for months and months as well, so I more or less prepared myself. And set aside a little slush fund with basically no strings attached (aside from my ingrained ruthless practicality lol....).

One major help in resisting temptation is.... Most of the items are essentially regular price. Deals can be found for sure -- but you have to look for them. And it's wise to do price checks as you go. Bc let's be real, is it really worth carrying around that giant saddle pad when it's regular price and your luggage is already stuffed to bursting?

clockwise from top left: white leather bridle tag from the Amerigo booth; signed photo of Andrea Baxter & Indy 500 (that sadly got ripped in transit, ugh); Equipe patent leather crank noseband with rolled leather cheeks (100% the best deal of the weekend); and gift-with-purchase coozie from Ride Heels Down
There ARE deals tho. Like in the form of discounts applied when multiple items are purchased (ie, "buy 2 get 1 free" or "buy 2 get 10% off" etc), or gifts with purchase -- like the coozie above, that came with a tee below.

Or goodies that get marked down on the final day of the event. Like the snazzy white leather bridle tag above that I allllmost bought at $20, but decided against. Since I already have the $8 plastic Dover version that works perfectly well (even tho it's a lot uglier than this). But on Sunday when the price was reduced to $15??? OK FINE, twist my arm why don't you haha. #forrealtho

OR, discounts can be found in the form of either used goods (esp leather stuff), discontinued items (Professionals Choice almost always has giant bins of discontinued boots), or "seconds" goods that were maybe not in their originally intended form. Like the Equipe noseband above that was missing its flash strap and marked for sale for $25.

I gotta be honest, I'm highly skeptical of that price tag. The full bridle was $350, and a booth next door had a nearly identical patent noseband for $80. The tag was handwritten so I wonder if the "2" was actually a "7." But when I asked the rep, she said nope, it's $25. So. Uh, obviously I snatched that right up haha! I've been lusting after patent leather for YEARS now, so it kinda felt like destiny lol.

left: Arista light weight jacket; right: official LRK3DE 5* t-shirt. should theoretically not become "vintage" too too quickly, unlike my 4* baseball hat from last year haha
I'm not usually much of an "attire" girl, to be honest. Most of the tech-y type shirts and stuff that I ride in are from Marshalls or TJ Maxx etc where you can find all manner of sporty tennis / golf / yoga / running tops at steep discounts. It's hard coughing up $50+ for a shirt when I know there's similar stuff to be found for ~$15. But, ya know, maybe that's just me haha.

Regardless, I *did* end up buying a bit of attire this year, but tried to limit it to the stuff that was either priced competitively, or was stuff I wouldn't find anywhere else. Like that Arista jacket above was on sale. Tho uh, my impressions of it since purchase are that you get what you pay for haha. The zipper in particular feels pretty delicate. But it's cute and it's not destined for the barn so perhaps it'll last well enough anyway.

The t-shirt was a no-brainer too, right? Like, you gotta get at least some official gear haha. I got a baseball cap last year that I love and wear constantly. Tho, turns out, it's already "vintage" bc it's for the 4* haha. Funny how that happens... And who knows, at some point in the future there will be a new title sponsor and this "Land Rover" tee will be outdated too!

biggest splurge of the weekend, this pretty blue-ish gray sporty RJ Classics Harmony mesh show coat. lighting in the photos doesn't do the color justice
I wasn't necessarily planning to buy a show coat over the weekend, but definitely had my eyes peeled. The sad fact is that none of my pretty Horseware show coats (either the French blue or the berry) fit me any more, and my local seamstress was a bit unsure that she could tailor it the way I envisioned.

So. Those coats are for sale (size L, asking $55 shipped if anybody is interested email me at fraidycat.eventing at gmail!) sold, and I've been casually hunting for my next coat.

This RJ Classics Harmony mesh show coat caught my eye immediately. And I really liked the fit of it, esp bc it is a little longer on me and seems well suited to my particular dimensions. Again tho, I was a little reluctant to buy the first thing I saw, so I tried on a few other jackets elsewhere (like the similar coat from Kerrits).

But this one had the best fit for me. So. I went back and got it haha. Can't wait to bust it out at a show! I like that the color is sorta different, but still conservative and subtle in a way.

And true story - I actually almost went overboard and envisioned this jacket with the gray One-K helmet, and even went so far as to try them on together (my immense regrets that there are no pics of this!). But it turns out that the two grays were different tones, one cool and one warm. Oh well!

i just really really like this graphic, tho kinda wish i had gotten a smaller size. oh well!
So that coat was definitely gonna be the "biggie" for the weekend price-wise haha, but I still had a bit of a hankerin for moar, ya know?? The "Ride Heels Down" booth had a TON of cute tees. So many cute graphics, I loved it! Actually, that was the same booth that had the "Good Studs Are Hard To Find" tee that we all obviously thought stud-finder Rachael ought to buy lol....

I ended up going with the tee above tho, same as the coozy pictured earlier. For whatever reason I just really like that design on the back. Possibly bc it's what I'm constantly saying to people anyway haha, might as well have it plastered on my shirt!

this set of boot bags was probably the second best deal of the weekend lol
This next one was actually a bit of a surprise purchase -- I didn't even see this booth until late on Sunday. They had all manner of useful travel and luggage type stuff, like saddle bags and covers, bridle bags, helmet bags, and these boot bags.

And... These are actually damn nice boot bags -- esp with that fuzzy lining. Considering my current system involves carrying boots wrapped in plastic bags stuffed inside my normal totes.... Seemed like maybe it was time for an upgrade haha. Gotta have a little luxury in life, right? Esp when that luxury is also #practical, my favorite ;)

clockwise from left: gift-with-purchase RJ Classics back pack (that is the absolute perfect size for trekking around on xc day haha); g-w-p thick chunky socks; Fuzzy's cat socks; and freebie Zocks for trying on a pair of Romfh breeches
Almost every vendor was giving out socks with purchases above a certain level. But like, actually pretty good socks too. Those maroon puppies look downright decadent for wintertime. And the Zocks I didn't even have to buy anything -- just had to try on those Romfh breeches I wrote about a couple days ago.

Which like, again -- those breeches were regular priced so even tho I loved them, it's a purchase that can wait a bit to see if a better deal arises etc. But I'll totally try them on to at least figure out my size haha, esp for a free pair of socks ;)

That backpack was a gift with purchase with the show coat (actually, so was a QHP garment bag, which will also be extremely helpful for show days) and is honestly one of my favorite things. It's the perfect size to fit a bunch of beverages and snacks, plus whatever other odds and ends you want to carry. But the small size and padded shoulder straps make it easy and comfortable to carry around. Sounds good to me, this pack will definitely get a lot of action!

possibly the highest priority purchase of the weekend - ice boots!!
Last purchase was something that's been at the top of my list for a long time now: ice boots. And actually I *almost* missed these, as they were hanging somewhat discretely amid a wall of other therapeutic type goodies.

I'm actually not super familiar with this company, but have a good impression of the design. The gel packs are so interesting bc even when they're not chilled, you can stick your arm inside and they feel cold. Which like, obviously feels promising that they'll hold onto the cold instead of heating up too fast.

these look pretty cool, the gel packs velcro on and can therefore be kept on ice separately from the outer wrap layer
My favorite part of the design is that the gel packs actually attach to the outer wrap via velcro -- so you can take the inner pack lining out separately to keep in a freezer or cooler. Definitely an advantage for those of us with limited space haha.

The boots aren't as long as other ice boots, but they look pretty fool proof. So we'll see how it goes. I just got a single pair, but if I really like them I may buy a second. Or, if they're not quite right, maybe I'll get a different style as the second pair to compare? We'll see haha, but I'm honestly pretty excited about these lol!

why yes indeed sir, i think i quite like it!
So maybe not the biggest haul in the history of Rolex Land Rover Kentucky, but I'm pretty pumped about each individual item. And didn't break the bank. So, #winning?

Obviously the very first thing I wanted to do after getting home was try that dapper patent noseband on Charlie <3 It's not adjusted or anything in that picture, and I didn't bother with moving the flash from my other noseband yet, but yea. I think it's a winner!

Maybe a horse with more chrome or a more flashy face or even a very refined face would not work as well with the bling of patent. But.... Charlie's head is not exactly what anybody on earth would call "refined" lol, and there's an awful lot of brown real estate to absorb some of the glitz.

let's be real tho, who wore it better?!? haha.... (maybe don't answer that LOL)
And now that we're home, there are a few more items on my list of "wants" --- most importantly, a new show shirt. I looked at a TON at the trade fair, and tried on a fair amount too, but didn't quite find anything that was quite right in my size or price point.

Ooh, and I need to get my leather halters repaired. It took every single ounce of restraint to not buy a new one at the trade fair (there were SO MANY OMG), but I have two perfectly good halters already that could both be repaired for less than the cost of one new. So.... That needs to happen haha.

Otherwise, tho, now that we've got all our fresh new gear, maybe it's time to get back out again to show it all off??? Lol.... In time, I suppose. In time.

What do you think -- is any of the above on your list too? Or have you tried any of that stuff before? Or is there anything else you were curious about at the Kentucky trade fair?

And for no other reason than "I want to," here are the links to show jumping rounds from Boyd Martin & Tsetserleg and Oliver Townend & Cooley Master Class, the second and first place finishers, respectively. Definitely check them out!!

Bc hey, maybe if shopping isn't your bag, at least there's fun media to watch, right???

Monday, April 29, 2019

Kentucky Sights Sounds + XC!

If it feels like I've been posting a crap ton about spectating at upper level events lately.... Well. It's because I have haha. And to be perfectly honest, there's more coming in that vein soon too, since I promised my young teenage cousin I'd take her to the upcoming Jersey Fresh.

So, uh, brace yo'selves?

for some reason we always end up taking pictures with this same trakehner haha, possibly bc it's close to our tailgate?
But for real, tho, I LOVE going to these major events. Love it. There's so much to see and do, even aside from spectating the actual riding itself. Just being around so many other fans in this environment that's specifically designed to cater to our every whim and desire lol.

really tho, the entire day is best experienced as tactically as possible - get up close and personal with everything!
Which, uh, is I guess a way of saying - stay tuned bc my own shopping haul post is coming soon, once I get some better pictures LOL. But it's not just about the shopping, it's honestly about the people too.

I ran into so many people I know there - and we were with such a giant group (that included a fair amount of KY natives). Plus I somehow managed to get into conversations with all manner of folks who have maybe closer ties to some of these riders and horses. Including actual owners, students, employees, etc. Really cool to get to hear their perspectives too haha!

eeee omgosh bloggers yo!
And obviously, what even is a major international event without some blogger meetups!! I was sorry to not get to spend more time with all of these lovely ladies, tho running over to Jen's tailgate quickly to say hi after the horses finished running was totally worth it!

Jen unfortunately was not at the tailgate at that particular moment, tho I got to say hi again to her husband who I met with her at a NYE get together a couple years ago. Plus obvi all the other wonderful bloggers who were there: Megan K and Stephanie who I've had the pleasure of meeting before, plus both their SOs.

And then a whole host of ladies I feel like I've known forever through this community, tho we've never actually met previously: Aimee, Leah, Theresa, Renate, and Karen. Y'all ladies are awesome -- so glad you had so much fun and that our paths crossed at least briefly!

creative people where everywhere tho - like this photog who was inspired by rachael's reflective glasses
I know there were quite a few other bloggers out and about, and was sorry not to run into everyone. Next time, ladies!!!

spot the reflection!?!?
Anyway tho, I'm not sure how compelling exactly it is to see pictures of some sort of meeting or get together that you didn't go to lol, so lets move right on along to the GOOD STUFF ---- the epic badassery that is cross country, yes?

here's a closer look haha. pretty cool, huh?
I mean, I have *some* media from dressage.... but it was clear from day 1, it was always going to be clear, that this was no dressage show. Not even close.

I remember saying that exact thing as Ariel Grald cantered into the Rolex Stadium dressage ring to lay down a test that didn't necessarily score well or anything like that, but was perfectly sufficient to grant them entry to the next phase. And, go figure, after her polished jumping phases, she moved up 18 places to finish just outside the top 10.

also tho this jump was spectacular 
Anyway tho, the member of our party with the recent foot injury ended up being pretty darn mobile in her boot - so we actually got to hoof it all over the park at a pretty good clip lol.

so many major drops on landing!
It was a little tough in some respects, tho. The weather was unbeatable -- absolutely glorious crystal clear blue skies with good sun and temps hovering around the high 60s. Which naturally meant that especially all the local crowds were thronging for the day.

these horses are unstoppable
Hand in hand with this, tho, was what felt like actually a very small field of competitors. I think something like 42 horses were entered, tho only 41 entered in to dressage. Then maybe just 40 actually started XC? The dressage days were pretty weird too, the schedule I felt was not particularly spectator friendly.

nbd just a giant friggin table!
Realistically maybe it was not a lot of horses to spread over two days. I assume the organizers have contracts with all the vendors stipulating the number of active hours each day for competition to be happening. So what ended up happening was a lot of breaks. Lots and lots of breaks between dressage riders. Esp on Thursday. But some of the breaks were like 30min, and others were closer to 2hrs.

So we ended up basically only seeing like, ONE full test on Thursday and spent the rest of the time shopping. For cross country day, tho, this weird "too few horses // too much time" situation meant that they were trying to spread out horses by only sending them out every 5min instead of every 2-3min.

bounce bank out of water claimed a few victims 
Most of the combinations (with the exception of the farthest out hollow, where we started our day) were all pretty close to each other. So with so many spectators, packed into a fairly small area of the park, with horses only coming through every 5min (assuming nothing happened to stop them along the way...), it meant that space was pretty darn cramped haha.

gotta love those ducks (even tho i'm partial to Fair Hill's ducks personally...)
Esp at the major combinations like the Head of the Lake. Which like, obviously this area is #1 on most peoples' lists haha so I get it. I found a pretty effective hack for still getting right up to the rope no matter how crowded the scene: by kneeling everywhere lol.

Sure, some people were a little surprised / creeped out when I basically just dove in there like "Hey is it ok if I kneel right next to you? I promise I won't block your view!" but nobody said no, so whatevskis, right?

these mound jumps always produce epic shots!
Plus, kneeling everywhere gave many of my video clips a bit more of an epic feel, with a lot more sky in the frame and the horses looking like they were SOARING through the air!

obvi gotta represent the brits at least a little bit haha, even if i'm a little sour that they always come over and spank us lol
So obviously I hope you enjoy that video lol, bc I freakin loved making it. Overall tho we actually didn't see too much in the way of spills or trouble, tho there was plenty to be had throughout the day. Especially through the waters we saw a fair amount of iffy distances and hard fought jumps.

Oooh, and the Normandy Banks claimed quite a few victims through the direct route (including taking out the first two starters - Caroline Martin & Buck Davidson, both of whom ended up scratching their next rides) until riders wised up and went long there.

Boyd & Thomas were definitely fan favorites tho
More than anything else tho, we just got to see example after example of horses and riders really fighting for it. Really riding to a careful plan, but then improvising and just going for it when necessary. Honestly pretty exhilarating to watch haha!

We had a young rider in our group (actually, Isabel's former leaser!) who was watching for the first time, and the thing she loved most about it all was seeing that even at this level, riders and horses still make mistakes. Still have those iffy moments. But that, when push comes to shove, these partnerships really pushed through and made it happen. Inspiring, yo lol.

In any case, more to come on the weekend later (like some show jumping media!! Tho you can find Boyd and Oliver's rounds already uploaded in my side bar or on my youtube channel). Especially the shopping part haha, bc I'm REALLY EXCITED about some of my new stuff lol.

For now tho, it's time to recover from that epic weekend hangover lol. Did any of you watch the live stream? See anything that blew your minds? That you loved? Or *didn't* love?

Friday, April 26, 2019

kentucky day 1: SHOPPING

Happy Friday everyone!! Obvi my weekend started yesterday haha with day 1 of dressage at the Land Rover Kentucky 3 Day Event. Except... Well... To be perfectly honest, we didn't plan on arriving early to watch all those extra tests haha. Thursday for us was for SHOPPING !!

check out this gorgeous ASB?
Also, unlike in past years, my host's home has upgraded the wifi so I can actually post this haha. PLUS I'm actually getting pretty reliable cell phone service in the Horse Park too. At least, on this first day when there weren't too many people on the grounds yet.

ooooh and this one too!! so much action tho
Actually, Thursday seemed pretty sparsely attended overall. But that worked out for us. No long lines, plenty of stock. And my friend with the injured foot is basically fully weight bearing and walking pretty darn well, albeit in a boot. So all in all, pretty good conditions haha.

inside the trade fair!
And we did a LOT of shopping haha. Right off the bat I had my eye on show coats, considering none of my coats fit me any more womp womp. I already picked up a couple pairs of breeches to update my sad saggy baggy, so that's not a big priority at the moment.

trying on so much attire! also. that shirt says "good studs are hard to find." OMFG
Tho. Haha. Just bc you're not buying doesn't mean you can't try on ALL THE THINGS!! Obvi for science, right? Like idk what size breech I am right now, to be perfectly honest. So clearly I had to try on all various different brands etc.

Like these Romfh breeches that I LOVED. It didn't hurt that VTO Saddlery was offering a free pair of socks just for trying on Romfh breeches haha.

LOVED this county, think it was an epiphany?
Clearly I've done a fair amount of saddle shopping in recent years so I'm not reeeeally in the market haha. But like that's ever stopped us before, right? We sat in a TON of saddles (probably will continue throughout the weekend tbh), and this County (Epiphany maybe?) was hands down the most favorite dressage saddle I've ever sat in.

majyk equipe is getting into the stirrup iron game!
Back in the world of more realistic price points lol, Majyk Equipe has these neat new irons (they had pink too! such cute colors!) with pretty good deals when purchased with full sets of boots. I've had pretty bad luck personally with MEs, mostly with the boots turning and rubbing. Apparently that's pretty common, tho they say it's user error. But like, how hard should boots be to put on?!?

wondered if there would be more demo stirrups to be found haha, but nope
Anyway. The Stubben tent is one of my favorites ever since finding those demo stirrups for $100 off list price haha. So naturally I had my eye on the ground just in case we could manage any sort of repeat haha. But rats, no such luck - all the demo irons chillin under the racks were standard old school fillis irons haha. Maybe they wised up ;)

i've heard good things about this faceh metal curry
Grooming stuff doesn't normally end up in my shopping cart bc I have a lot of it already and tend to just use my old faithfuls. This metal curry was interesting tho. One of my barn mates has it and likes it, but I'm kinda skeptical haha.

actually really liked those brushes too...
These brushes tho....I liked them WAY more than I expected. Bristles that long aren't generally my type. But something about their relative stiffness just had that certain je ne sais quoi that we all like in our body brushes haha. Didn't end up buying one, tho no promises I won't grab one before the weekend is over haha. I think they were only $14 or something so maybe haha!

loved this combination! 
There were so many pretty tech-y jackets allllll over the place too. I really like what's happening with colors right now too. Not so much bright and bold, but more sorta conservative while still kinda different and interesting. This particular hue I really liked, especially that underlying show shirt (tho the shirt wasn't as cute on its own). But I imagine it's a bear to keep clean!

came pretty close to getting these ice boots
Y'all already know that ice boots are on my list in general. This is the style that I was pretttttttty sure I was going to buy. But.... maybe I'm just kinda an idiot, but I didn't realize that the price was per boot. Which like, obviously changes the numbers quite a bit. So even tho the above was pretty much what I thought I wanted, I ended up not buying. Spoiler tho -- I found an alternative that seems even better haha.

the equitack booth was hardcore. champagne and insta-friendly cactuses and some aggressive sales people haha
Anyway moving right on along. Possibly my favorite booth was the EquiTack tent haha, since they had absolute mountains of really nice used saddles for pretty competitive prices. And quite a few members of my party spent a good long while trying different things and getting fitted etc. Didn't hurt that the sales reps kept plying us with champagne tho lol.

voltaire booth was super stylized 
For real tho -- actually one theme from the day was just how intense some of the sales people were. Like everyone is super nice, and obviously everyone is there to do a job. And there's naturally a symbiotic relationship between customers and sales people. But DAMN. Some of these folks were sharks haha. Definitely aggressive tactics. So like, consider yourself warned if you plan on visiting all the booths.

these titanium bits were fascinating! 
Like the lady in this booth who walked up to us discussing bits in general, not this specific metal (titanium), and jumped into the conversation to tell us that the titanium was what would make all the difference in the world. That horses who don't accept the bridle will accept the titanium. And that my horse who leans magically won't lean if I just use a $300 titanium bit lol. Which like, eh. We've heard that story before haha.

checked out the equipe booth too
Anyway tho, overall there were a LOT of really great booths. Lots and lots of excellent product. The Equipe was probably one of my favorites, and in some ways reminded me of Eponia (which I have NOT seen yet, tho that doesn't necessarily mean they aren't at the show).

they had a lot of nice stuff!
Actually they had some great deals here too. I LOVED all their bridles, but especially loved that they sold everything in pieces too. Y'all know I'm a huge fan of frankenbridles lol so individual parts are always very enticing to me.

i esp liked all the individual parts...
Especially, ahem, when I discovered a certain black patent chunk of leather that.... was quiiiiite possibly either tagged incorrectly, or tagged in such a way that the hand written price wasn't very clear. But I double checked the price with the rep and bought that thing before she could second guess her answer lol.

and, naturally, some stuff came home with me too ;)
So Charlie's got some new gear to try out when I got home. And, uh, yea there are some other fun new things too ;) Probably I'll do a more complete recap of the full haul eventually (bc let's be real, I'm probably still gonna buy more stuff throughout the weekend...). But here's a sneak preview!

Anyway. TGIF yo. Here's hoping for an awesome weekend here in Kentucky. It feels like kinda a small field of riders, but hopefully the weather will cooperate, the ground will be good, and the horses will all run well!

Hope you all have a great weekend too ;)

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

#fangirling at Fair Hill

Cross country as a sport is generally fascinating to me. Riveting. I LOVE watching it. Especially the upper levels, but honestly any level will do!

this massive house table thingy is officially retro.... needs to be updated to 4 stars!
And basically any spectating format works for me haha. Whether it's live streaming events, trawling the archives for older broadcasts, or obvi watching the vids published by other fellow bloggers.

Nobody was sadder than I was when BurghleyTV pulled down all the full length broadcasts and replaced them with hour-long highlights. I can't even tell you how many times I watched them all, dating back to the 80s. Tho now when I just checked for them, it looks like even the highlight vids have all been either pulled down or moved again. Sadness...

requisite Boyd media haha, considering per usual he had a big string entered in this event. Contestor above was the first i saw to go clear through the coffin on the 4* course....
Anyway, tho, while watching footage online, live or otherwise, has its advantages, being there in person is a whole 'nother experience.

Ray Price was not so lucky tho, that coffin broke a lot of hearts
And we are so so so spoiled in this area to be surrounded by major events and venues. Plantation, Morven, Great Meadows, Jersey Fresh, Loch Moy, Shawan Downs, and, of course, the historic Fair Hill.

conditions were such that despite the 20 penalty points, they still managed to finish in the ribbons. in a 4*. crazy haha
It's interesting to me, personally, too -- bc spectating at these events provides the perfect melting pot for so many different interests and hobbies in my life. Obviously first on that list is just soaking up the horsey atmosphere -- watching these incredible athletes do incredible things haha.

And. Ahem, cough cough, awesome outdoorsy tailgating haha. Cough cough. Moving on...

for today's post tho, we're actually focusing more on the 3* and intermediate tracks!!
And in a way it's sorta an opportunity to further study this sport. Like, sure, I don't really ever see a time in my life when I ride around an Intermediate track. Being totally real here, it still feels like it'll take a miracle to get me out of the start box to run T haha. Hahaha (but seriously tho...)

But there's still sometimes something to be learned by how courses are built and designed for upper levels, or how those riders approach and tackle different questions. Maybe haha.

incredible tho, right??
More than that, tho, one of my favorite things about spectating in person is actually the opportunity it gives me to create my own content from the event.

Like, y'all have probably already figured out that I occasionally spend a fair amount of time in other various creative endeavors. Which is a nice byproduct of maintaining this blog, right?

this pair had just aced it through the BANANAS sunken road complex (pictured below), but then just missed at the trakehner. things happen fast, amirite?
The blog gives me a steady source of motivation to keep writing. To continue brainstorming new topics to discuss, and to think more deeply about the whats and the whys of my horse habit.

And naturally, hand in hand with all those words, comes all the visual content too. Whether that's just the constant stream of random photos from around the barn, silly illustrated / 'shopped pics of bronto Charlie, the video stills and gifs captured and edited from video, or even the videos themselves. All of that is part and parcel of feeding my creative impulses, ya know?

luckily both seemed fine. scary stuff tho!
So at these big spectator events, a big part of my experience is hustling around the full course, trying to see it all. Get video of everything. See as many horses through as many interesting combinations as possible. And then, naturally, condense all that raw footage into some sort of exciting compilation video that captures the essence of what it was like to be there in person.

but this sunken road... cheesus. it was tough to photograph too!
Bc personally that's the kind of content I LOVE, right?? And there's always more to see in watching something a second or third time anyway haha.

so obviously i had to try from multiple angles haha
I know cross country -- esp at the upper levels -- isn't everyone's cup of tea. And I also know that a lot of blog readers aren't necessarily interested in watching videos. But. Ya know. Haha, maybe you're missing out lol!

just to try to get all the elements recorded in such a way as made sense...
In any case, Eventing Nation already shared the compilation video I made from the Blue numbered CCI4*-S (formerly the CIC3*) and Advanced tracks, so I'm not repeating that again here. Tho if you're curious, you can find it on my side bar or on my channel page here.

It was kinda a crazy day for those divisions anyway, tho. Actually, kind of a fucking shit show. Driving in to the venue, I was running a bit late and expected to miss the start by about 45min. Except.... It was pretty clear the farther north I drove that the area had just experienced what could only be described as flash floods. Water was EVERYWHERE -- pooling in the country roads and roaring down the shoulders and drainage ditches.

really tho, these horses are all so incredible
Clearly it had just POURED haha, and when I finally pulled into the venue, I discovered that they actually still hadn't event sent the first horse on course. Bc entire sections of the course had flooded and the course designer and builders and TD and all those folks were madly rushing about trying to determine what could still be safely jumped, etc.

They ended up pulling the two big farthest waters completely off course for the 4* and Advanced (tho by the time the 3* and Intermediate ran, the ponds had drained enough to stay on course), so the course distance and times etc had to be updated.

Even so, tho, it was still kinda a disaster. Half of the Advanced either retired on course or withdrew entirely. And the 4* was so littered with issues that despite picking up a 20 at the coffin (like so many did, it was a real heartbreaker -- check out the video to see what I mean), Boyd Martin and Ray Price still finished in the ribbons.

and even when you see *one* jump that looks seemingly reasonable, you zoom out and realize, oh snaps that's part of an absolutely nutso combination....
Conditions were vastly improved by the time the Red numbered 3* and Intermediate divisions ran. In fact, the sun came out along with a nice drying breeze, and everything dried up substantially!

This worked out for my purposes haha bc it meant more riders to watch, plus the far waters were back on course so there were more combinations to see too.

The course was kinda crazy tho -- esp the sunken road complex. Like. Each individual element of that looks well beyond my current pay grade. Let alone trying to string all four of them together.... Tho I didn't see any issues with it. While meanwhile apparently quite a few refusals and eliminations were picked up at a bending down hill line from a big brush to a corner -- something I only got one uneventful clip of on video...

Watching it on the video is kinda exhilarating tho haha. I  can't even imagine what it must feel like to some of those riders! It's not likely to ever be something I personally do on horseback haha, but man it's fun to watch!

And obviously I'm hoping to grab ever more media from our trip down to Kentucky this week. Tho... with my friend's limited mobility, we may not get around the full course quickly enough to get as much as I would normally like to. Oh well, I guess the #tailgating will have to suffice this time around haha ;)

What about you - do you like spectating at big events? Have you had much opportunity to do so, whether it's at big races or dressage shows or rodeos or some other type of major to-do?