Getting ready for Metamora CDE XXX (30th year)

Monday Richard and I drove back to Michigan after Elk Creek.  I dropped him off at Larry and Norma Wheeler’s in Oxford (spent the night) and Tuesday drove up north to check the mail, repack some cloths, water the garden, and drive back down on Wednesday.  I picked Lisa Singer up at the Flint airport on the way.

Upon arrival I found out that the golf carts hadn’t arrived because their delivery truck broke down, so they wouldn’t be arriving until this morning. Very nicely, they were here very early with the first load.

We had a nice dinner last night at the High Street Eatery in Metamora.  Boots Wright arrived, as did TD Ian Moller.  The White Horse Inn, which many who have been to Metamora will remember, is undergoing massive restoration and will reopen later in the summer.

Because of the change in date, I feel like I’m not as well-organized as I would like to be. I got up very early so that I could get the office organized and start to work on packets.  At 6:15 I arrived at Windrush Farm only to find that I couldn’t get to the barn because gates were closed across the driveway because horses were turned out there.  Fortunately, Richard came along a couple of minutes later, and led me out back on the track of the course and we came in behind the barn!  And fortunately Barb has a Keurig so I could get my second cup of coffee. I am handing out packets with as much information as we have.  The judges and TD looked things over this morning, and some changes to the course are in the works.  Mostly shortening Section A.

The secretary’s office and scoring is set up in Barb Chapman’s big barn this year.  It is nice to be out of the elements and have plenty of room, but it is also removed from the rest of the competition.  However, I’ve seen so many events, I don’t feel I’m missing too much.  I will get out a little bit throughout the weekend.

The 30th Anniversary Program is a real keeper.  It is loaded with color photos of Metamora’s past, histories of the event and of the Metamora Carriage and Driving Association.

A briefing is going to be held at 4:30 this afternoon, to be followed by the traditional welcome reception on the Windrush Farm terrace with that outstanding view of the Metamora countryside.  Hopefully the rain and clouds will be gone tomorrow. The forecast says we will have a lovely weekend.

 

Metamora CDE – 30 years ago

Right on the heels of Elk Creek, Metamora CDE starts in a couple of days.  This is a the 30th ADS approved CDE.  It is actually the 32 event that the Metamora Carriage and Driving Association has organized.  I’ve been involved with all 32.  I was the first secretary back then when combined driving was in its infancy.  The rulebook was much smaller and held together with brass brads.  The ‘organizers kit’ was just a few pages in a duo-tang folder.  The roster of officials was very short.  Back then, copy machines were hard to find.  I had to go downtown to a local insurance company and pay for each copy the first year.  The next few  years, when I was working at a real estate office, I could use their copy machine – also paying for every sheet.  Needless to say, the paperwork was much less.

I remember the painful process of trying to figure out schedules by hand. It was always done in pencil with a BIG erasure, because several attempts were required before the final product was correct.  Especially the marathon schedule.  What we now call the “passing times” that is only used by officials, we gave to everyone.  Once that was finished and typed up on a typewriter, no changes were allowed!

We made all the signage from wood – painted and stenciled.  The obstacles consisted of groves of trees and other natural effects. I remember having a donkey in a pen.  The rule preventing using real animals came into effect shortly after. Construction was very simple and crude.  But then carriages were often antiques.  This was long before specially  made competition carriages even existed.  Driving through the Flint River was considered an obstacle.

The hazard area had to be marked – called a hazard zone. Competitors were allowed to enter and exit from anywhere. It really kept the hazard judges on their toes – especially if any part of the turnout crossed the line before they had finished going through all the gates.

The parties back then were much fancier affairs.  Coats and ties were required by the men, and dresses for the ladies.  They were usually held at a hotel or restaurant.  I also remember being much younger then and having three people staying in our home, having a party on Friday night (doing all the cooking and cleaning too) as well as being the secretary!

When I look back at 30 years of Metamora, I remember hundreds – of competitors, and the many officials who came over the years. One – Kirsten Brunner – is the only one who has been to all 30 events!  The event has been held at 3 different farms, each providing its own flavor and challenges.

Happy 30th Anniversayr Metamora!

 

 

Marathon at Elk Creek 2014

Paul Grippa at the water obstacle

Paul Grippa at the water obstacle

Driving and walking along the Elk Creek course, I really enjoyed seeing all the wildflowers in bloom – clover, wild roses, honeysuckle.  Not only do they look lovely, they smell beautiful as well.

Another lovely day today.  A little warmer than yesterday, but still with a little breeze.  I was able to get out and take a few pictures.  Simon Rosenman the TD was nice enough to let me ride with him in his gator as he made his rounds.  I stayed for a while in the area between Obstacle 1 and Obstacle 5 (I think) the water.

Beverly Patrick storms through the water obstacle

Beverly Patrick storms through the water obstacle

I have to mention that the score runners here were outstanding.  There were 3 of them and that means that they kept the score sheets coming in at a very regular pace – not in big piles as is often the case.  Much appreciated, especially at the end.

Chet Halka in Obstacle 1

Chet Halka in Obstacle 1

A couple of drivers withdrew, there were a couple of eliminations, and corrected courses.  Jeff McCarthy is here and flying his drone around to the interest of all.

Dan Rosenthal and his Dartmoor Pair at the water obstacle

Dan Rosenthal and his Dartmoor Pair at the water obstacle

Cynthia Doll

Cynthia Doll

The competitors’ party was fun.  Everyone crowded around the TV that Mary Mott Kocsis had set up to watch the Belmont.  All were disappointed that California Chrome was unable to win the Triple Crown, but it was great to have the opportunity to watch the race while at the competition.

Mary Mott also made sure everyone was well fed again today, even my dog Pumpkin, who was the recipient of a lot of turkey from a sandwich that had to be converted to a veggie.

Bev Lesher passed the hat and asked for donations to go toward building a new obstacle for Elk Creek next year.  Many of these obstacles were built many years ago for Fair Hill International, when Lana Wright was running things.

For those who have been in this game a while, Chandler Irwin was on site to watch his granddaughter Brooke Tadlock drive the marathon today.  Her mother Susie Tadlock, was her navigator.

Dressage and cones at Elk Creek

Two dressage warm up arenas are set up on the stone dust arena. Scoreboards are located at the stabling area and over at the competition area.

Richard is scoring in Bev Lesher’s carriage trailer, which is equipped with a fridge, microwave, coffee maker, not to mention those non-essentials for scoring – harness, carriage poles, and cleaning supplies. Although, who knows, we might find a need for the cleaning supplies. The trailer has good ventilation and shade. And we can see the cones course from here.   All the drivers come by us and stop on their way to dressage to have their wheels measured under the shade of a sycamore tree. A couple even set up a table and had a picnic lunch next to the wheel measuring area.

 

Paul and Maureen Grippa and their pair of Arabo-Friesians

Paul and Maureen Grippa and their pair of Arabo-Friesians

Some really nice dressage tests were driven today, just from looking at the scores. And some really beautiful turnouts were presented.

Brooke Tadlock and her new New Heritage Farm carriage.

Brooke Tadlock and her new New Heritage Farm carriage.

Yesterday I posted photos of 6 obstacles, and then found out that there were 7. Somehow we must have driven by without seeing it. It is in the trees and quite dark, so I’m not going to take a picture.

Tracey Morgan and Gaylen Snowbunny get their carriage wheels measured.

Tracey Morgan and Gaylen Snowbunny get their carriage wheels measured.

Mary Mott Kocsis, who is usually driving her pony Stanley at the Advanced level, is in charge of volunteers here. She is racing around in her Kawasaki making sure everyone is well fed and watered.

Dewayne Pash, an attractive gentleman's turnout.

Dewayne Pash, an attractive gentleman’s turnout.

After the competition today, a TV is supposed to be set up in the tent so we can all watch the Belmont race, followed by the competitors’ party.  More tomorrow!

Elk Creek CDE 2014

Elk Creek, held at the Fair Hill Natural Resource Center in Elkton, Maryland is getting underway.  I went out on the marathon course today with Muffy Seaton, one of the judges.  I hadn’t been around on the area that is Section A for many years.  It is a beautiful, woodsy, course.  Not entirely smooth – need to take care in certain areas, but those areas were well marked.  Elk Creek has competitors from VSE to Intermediate II.

The barns here are permanent, spacious with good doors, permanent bathroom facilities, and the organizers are very experienced. The weather forecast is excellent for the weekend.

Here are the obstacles:

Obstacle 1

Obstacle 1

Obstacle 2

Obstacle 2

Obstacle 3

Obstacle 3

Obstacle 4

Obstacle 4

Obstacle 5

Obstacle 5

Obstacle 6

Obstacle 6

Dressage and Cones will be held on Saturday, marathon on Sunday.  The judges are Marsoe LaRose, Muffy Seaton and Hardy Zantke.  Simon Rosenman is the TD.

Gayla Bluegrass Marathon 2014

Avery Wilson

Avery Wilson

Lovely weather today – cool, but not as cold as yesterday and sunny.  I rode around with the Learner TD Dan Rosenthal so I could see a few drivers go through the hazards.  After seeing so many marathons over the last 30 years, I really don’t mind being in the office to help Richard file the scoring sheets and getting caught up on a little Driving Digest work.  Avery Wilson was one of the first Preliminary drivers to go through the water obstacle. He has quite a fan club and not all from the Hermitage group.

One of the more colorful obstacles at Gayla

One of the more colorful obstacles at Gayla

There are many nice features about this event.  In some ways it is a ‘no frills’ competition, but the organizers really see to everyone’s comfort.  For example, they do have the usual porto-johns but they also have one of those trailers in the stabling area with real ‘flush’ toilets and sinks. And people can come into the office and use the facilities there.

As a show secretary, I’m envious of the fact that the show office is Debbie Banfield’s permanent office.  This means that she doesn’t have to pack everything up and take it to another location.

Her office has a kitchen that can double as a room for the officials to meet privately.  It also has an apartment upstairs where the course designer or TD can stay.

The indoor arena doubles as a place to hold the competitors’ party, briefing, food vendor and other vendors. No need for a tent and it is great if the weather turns really nasty.

On the way to the Safety Check

On the way to the Safety Check

Mary Thomas, driving a Dartmoor pony at Training level.

Mary Thomas, driving a Dartmoor pony at Training level.

The day will end with the traditional pizza party.  You’ve never seen so many boxes of pizza delivered at one time!

Dressage at Gayla Bluegrass

Blankets, coats, hand warmers were needed by the judges and volunteers this morning.  Even though the sky was blue, the breeze added a slight windchill factor to this mid-May morning.

The cones course is quite challenging. The only double clear round of the morning was driven by Emma Jane Fennel.

Enjoy some Gayla scenes:

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