We went to a yummy little BB-que place for dinner then went and got settled in at our accomadations for the weekend. And boy were they lovely. There were five of us and we were staying at my friends, friends place. She put my daughter and I up in one of her quest rooms. I had a queen bed while my daughter had a twin bed. Our own attatched full bathroom. The other 3 shared a room with a king and queen bed in it that also had its own full bath with a double shower. Her place is about 8 miles from the horse park set in the Kentucky countryside. A lovely home and gorgeous gardens. We were quite lucky. She was also so kind and generous and loved having guests. We would wake up to breakfast and come home exhausted with dinner prepared. Ahhh mazing!
Friday it was up and at'em bright and early to head to Keenland for morning breezing, a tour and breakfast with the jockeys! We were taken through the behind the scences of the track. Went into barns, the exercise track then the track cafateria. We where taken around by a track exercise rider and she also does some eventing. She did a great tour and was very eye opening to the every day life at a track like Keenland. Now Keenland is not the 'norm' it is the best of the best. Not all tracks are as meticulous about their horses and barns. I LOVE the track. I grew up going to the track very often. I was picking horses and my parents placing my bets before I could read the racing form. I love everything about it. I am sure that is where my love for Thoroughbreds was started. Being at and around the track brings back childhood memories and the awe and passion like I had as a child. Oh Kentucky why you so amazing?
After Keenland we were off to the horse park. Back for day two of shopping and watching a bit more dressage. We watched warm ups for a while which we enjoyed and then saw a few rides go. You don't get a great vantage point without a seat. It didn't make sense to purchase tickets to watch though when you were only interested in a few rides. Then it was on to the trade show. I mean I still had money in my pocket so I needed to fix that. The only thing I didn't do that I would have liked to was sit in some more saddles. But the price tags were beyond my means and I didn't want to tourcher myself. I did take a bit of time at Stackhouse sitting in some and that was eye opening. In a bad way. So I sat in a few saddles. I sat in a 17.5 and she said I needed at least another inch. Blah. We measured from my hip to my knee and I never realized that, that part of my body is freakishly long. Like really freakish. I sat in a couple more and she said, "you will probably need a custom saddle". Bleh, I don't like those words and I plan to be like Cinderella's evil step sisters and try my darnedest to squeeze myself into a non-custom dressage saddle and go around pretending that it fits. That's my plan. Or just always do dressage in my jump saddle. No way am I dropping $6000 on a custom saddle, ever! Well unless I become a bazillionaire. Mid Stackhouse pretending-to-actually-be-interested-in-purchasing-a-very-high-priced-piece-of-leather and wood I overheard the word, "Boyd". My friend told me he was chatting over at Devoucoux....hmmmm. Elaina and I quickly made our way over and wouldn't you know it he politely stopped his converation put his arm around Elaina, eeeeee, and smiled for the camera. Oh ma gersh he is so drool worthy. My daughter will appreciate this photo much more a few years. Lucky girl she is!
Friday afternoon we did a coursewalk(run?) with Sinead Halpin. First off she is gorgeous and secondly she walks so freakin fast! It was very cool and a big highlight of the walk/run was when my friend Dorie and I happened upon a very tall skinny guy that some of you may know.
Here is my picture with him which turned out totally creepy.
I was kind of freaked out that as I was trying to smile for the camera he would stop and I would trample him. Thankfully that did NOT happen and he survived being stalked by us. It was straight from there to the New Vocations Thorougbreds for all event. It was a very informative night and I really considered taking one of the OTTB's home from there. Shiney Pemmy was so sweet, cooperative and brave. Even still I feel like I need her. I will not recap the event since this is already going to be a painfully long post. Maybe another day. But it was great, great riders and great horses. Then back to the house to CRASH! Everything hurt Friday night.
And everything still hurt Saturday morning. We got to the park right about 10. It was madness getting in and I could have gone earlier but I was just too tired. For all of these things remember I am dragging along my amazingly awesome 9 year old daughter. She never complained and is so enjoyable to be around. Well we were made to park in the very farthest parking spot from the entrance. So we walked some more. The park on Satruday is a madhouse but almost everyone is pleasant. Everyone is excited and you can hear over the loud speakers jump by jump how the riders are doing. We treked out to the start box, finish line/vetting area. I wanted to see and wanted my daughter to see where it all starts and where it all ends (well for those who complete it ends there. Others it ended somewhere in between.) We would watch a couple at each spot then move on to the next jump. It of course is awesome and all the excitement that cross country offers. The morning went quite smoothly. With all but a couple completing clear and many close to time. I was standing at the HSBC water complex when word came over the loud speaker that Becky Holder fell. That was disappointing and it was near the same place she came off last year. Ugh. Peter Atkins one of my personal FAVS went by..
You could hear him saying, "Good boy Hen!" As he was going by. Their partnership is inspiring. They made it through clear with only 1.6 time penalties added to their score.
The Landrover Hollow seemed it was a tough combination and to be a big deciding factor of the day. There were horses that soared through it making it look Beginner Novice like and others that just barely scraped by. The afternoon played out quite differently than the morning and the course took out quite a few riders and horses. I have heard some theories as to why that was but either way it was like a different course was put out after lunch. There were MANY exhausted horses half way through. Alot of big names did not cross the finish line. When Phillip Dutton retired on course as the last rider of the day we ended at the Head of the Lake and waded our way into the water for some classic Rolex shots...
and some not so classy Rolex photos...
|Ride that duck!|
It was a great day! My pockets were now officialy drained of all cash and my Rolex experience was over. We went back to the house and had a delicious potato soup, grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and a cold beer waiting for us. Had I died and gone to heaven??? We stayed up rehashing the days rides and going over details we had not seen being at the park. We were not returning on Sunday for Stadium. Some day I would like to purchase tickets for the stands for Stadium but after 3 days it was just a bit too much.
My friend Rita and I were able to go tour Three Chimneys Farm since we attended the New Vocations event. So she, I and Elaina got to see the beautiful and amazing facility.
|Horse accomadations aren't too shabby.|
They brought out Big Brown for us to see and then walked through the pasture area to see the other studs that are standing there currently.
|He was quite the show off.|
|The small barn behind you is one of 4 placed around the "village circle". They are recreated 17th century cabins that had two stall each in them.|
It is an impressive place. The house that Seatle Slew built. Literally he did fund that facility and he
is honored highly there still. Like many Lexington facilities there is excentric luxury in barns nicer than any home I ever been in. They explained the business side of the place and that was quite interesting. It was not the most extravagant farm I have been in in Kentucky. Gainsborough takes the cake on that one, owned by the Sheihk and Primeminister of Dubai.
|Internet photo at Gainsborough Farm. Just a little place.|
My Dad is and was an avid racing fan and for about a decade breeder. He has taken me through many facilities and this trip brought back many of those wonderful memories. After Three Chimneys we were excited to get back home and we hit the road again.
It was an amazing time and one that must be repeated on a recurring basis. I am very grateful for my friends letting us come along for the trip! Truely unforgettable!