Saturday

And now the fun begins.  So far, the unofficial count is 108 endurance riders will start tomorrow at 7:30 am.  The Endurance  Vetting and crewing center is a small village at the end of the Horse Park….quite impressive with the three large hospitality tents in place by Bharain, Qatar and the largest, for Dubai.  The Royal riders bring media attention to the discipline.  There are viewing stands in good places and a nice open area to see the horses enter and leave the Vet-In area.

Today is Vet-In…  I saw the US Team yesterday after the downpour…and they were happy to have some rain to dampen the hard ground.  The US is feeling good and the energy was high and Becky Hart was telling the press,”We have some very talented horses and riders”.  Earlier, I had a small tour of some of the trail…mostly over private lands.  Access for photography will be limited.  Crews have strict orders also for designated areas.  That said, the trail, if riders have a chance to enjoy it, has some lovely places.  The  bluegrass of Kentucky is more browngrass at present – but the horse pastures and fields are still impressive in size, fronted by brown painted board fencing, and backed by pine, pistachio and oak trees with a pond or two in the middle. The horses in the large pastures framing the sunset seemed so content standing in groups or eating the endless grass of their turn-outs.  The trail will circle some of the growing grounds of corn, tobacco and soybeans….the soybeans still in the field.  We did get to see some of the backdrop views that the riders will see…Followed the entrance road through the iron gates into the private farm heading towards what looked like Marie Antoinette’s Villa at Versailles in France.  (The reconstruction of French architecture is no accident and there is a Versailles and a Paris in the area).  The path then leads under a long arbor covered with dormant Wisteria vine the length…the riders head to the picturesque barn at the far end. At another  horse farm, through the gates, down the hill, we walked to the 3 story high limestone cave that riders will pass on their way through the creek. It was about this time that it really started to rain and the group headed back, getting quite wet when we got back to the quads used all over the park for shuttle.

Reining competition  starts today- and themnews that dressage star, Anky Van Grunsven, will compete in this event has the media buzzing. Well, that and the Italian cowboys in their tight jeans with flashy Quarter horses.   It’s much cooler this morning on the grounds and volunteers have arrived in droves to help sort expected crowds of tourists, the 1,200 media from all over the world, and officials.  Now going down to the Vet-In.  Later, Pamela