I thought I had it all figured out. Two judges from Europe – Sarah Mullins and Reiner Wannenwetsch – were due to arrive within 90 minutes of each other in Raleigh. Kail Palmer Miller was due within 30 minutes after Sarah. So I had arranged for Reiner and Sarah to meet at an airport hotel and wait for Kail who would pick up a rental car and swing by, pick them up and bring them to Southern Pines.
First, Kail called to say her flight was delayed an hour, then two, then three…… Of course it wasn’t easy to reach Reiner with an international phone number. Long story short – Kelly Valdes had to drive to Raleigh to fetch Reiner and Sarah and Kail didn’t land in Raleigh until after midnight.
We are lucky in Southern Pines to have some wonderful people who invite judges to stay at their lovely homes. But there are limits to when they should have to wait up for them to arrive. Kail ended up staying at a hotel in Raleigh overnight and driving down this morning.
Once the judges had seen the course in the morning – or at least the obstacles – we could hand out the packets. Fortunately, while the competitors waited, they could enjoy a chair or full sports massage by the students of Sandhills Community College Massage Therapy program who come every year and ‘practice’ on our competitors.
Kelly Valdes spent much of the day putting finishing touches on things with flowering plants and shrubs for the Horse Inspection pad, the Sponsors’ Tent, around the dressage arenas, etc.
Claire Reid set up the Sponsors’ Tent where the briefing and welcome dinner would be held. The briefing was at 3 p.m. After the usual information had been announced, the competitors for the USEF National Combined Driving Pony Championships ‘drew’ for their dressage starting times. Each driver came forth and chose a bottle of champagne with a number on the bottom which would translate into their start times! Fun!
And then, with no formal course walk, everyone was free to inspect the track on their own. Then they could come back to the tent and have a delicious, casual dinner of ham, vegetable lasagna, baked beans, cole slaw, corn bread muffins, brownies. Volunteers also were invited, and so people came and went and came back again and it was a lovely end to a good start of the competition.
Rain is predicted for tonight, and we hope that it will end by the morning. Fingers crossed……