Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Arriving at the Championships

The 2010 USDF Region 8 Championships are now history.   The final weeks and days leading up to this huge event is all a bit of a blur now.   Suffice to say, training continued and several practice runs of the tests and our kur took place.   And a small tack change was made...   which I will get back to later.

After a four and half hour long drive, arriving at the HITS showgrounds in Saugerties New York is always a relief.   Piper traveled very well, arriving in excellent condition.   During the trip he munched on some of the wet hay provided in his haynet and he enjoyed apples at our two fuel and rest stops.   As always, the first priority was to get Piper out of the trailer, and this was done within a few minutes, as soon as we got the first bag of shavings into his stall and a water bucket in place.   The next hour involved unloading everything and carefully arranging the tack stall out of which we would "live" for the next four days.

While some training & boarding farms decorate their show barn areas with very handsome custom embroidered curtains, chairs, and wall hangings, with farm names and logos proudly displayed, we are still doing things on the Home Depot scale.   A 12 x 12 foot plastic blue tarp works well as our floor rug and allows us to keep our hay off the dirt floor of the barn aisle.   Two $6 shower curtains hung on the inside of the tack stall offer some privacy.   We also string a heavy rope diagonally across the tack stall, providing a place to hang clothes, blankets, gloves, coats and more.   Full length folding lawn chairs and pillows, positioned towards the back of the tack stall, provide comfortable places to rest, read, and nap.   A cooler of drinks and snacks between chairs acts as a coffee table.   It's certainly not luxury living, but it works for us.

By the time we has settled in, moved the trailer to the trailer parking lot, and fed Piper dinner, it was dark.   The trip to our hotel, one at which we had stayed two years prior, was short and easy.   Settling in there was simply a matter of signing in and dumping off our suitcases.   Then, we were off to the nearby Mexican Restaurant for dinner, back to the barn for night checks, and finally back to the hotel for the night.

The next day, Piper was going to be competing in his first ever USDF Region 8 Championship class.   It was a long journey that was about to reach the final milestones.