Every year the size of the horse trailers get larger, and longer, many with self contained, comfortable living quarters, awnings – all the bells and whistles. Gone are the days of two-horse trailers with the carriage riding in the bed of a normal pick-up truck.
The Gayla doesn’t have an announcer, and it doesn’t seem to affect the competition, although I’m sure that it would be nice for the spectators to know who was in the ring. However, the setting is very peaceful, and everything seems to flow along without a voice in the background.
I drove around to see the hazards on Mari and Dennis Yancho’s golf cart. I’m used to seeing couples argue about the best routes, but the Yanchos listened and considered each other’s ideas. The new “Whiskey Ridge” obstacle is very attractive and looks challenging. Sponsored by Alltech, it is set on a hillside and the gates are set so that Training and Preliminary drivers can stay on the flat side, while the Intermediate will have to decide how to handle the slope. In spite of all the rain, the track is quite solid. The track is mown through the hayfields, so it is hard to get lost, although there are a few places where it criss-crosses, and it also looks as if some competitors – even when asked not to – may have taken short-cuts through the field, flattening down the hay which is due to be cut very soon after the event.
A new dressage ring was supposed to be ready to use this year, but due to weather related problems over the last year, it wasn’t deemed ready to be driven on. Hopefully by next year, the new grass will have a strong enough hold in the ground and the old ring will be turned into the warm-up ring.
Now that dressage and cones are over, competitors are out on the course for a last look at the obstacles before the competitors’ party begins.