Richard and I left Southern Pines and 90 degree weather on Thursday morning, bound for Black River, Michigan, driving a car and a truck, with a stop over planned in Georgetown, Ky. for the Gayla Bluegrass CDE. We drove through torrential rain, with the wash from the trucks making the going very slow with total concentration needed.
Thursday at the Gayla, the temperatures started out in the high 40s. Hardy Zantke had arrived Thursday afternoon and looked over the course. Ellen Ettenger is the TD – her first time at Gayla. Her husband Bruce is the course designer. I found out that Larry Poulin was also here to run a judges’ clinic for the ADS. I sat in on it and enjoyed listening to the discussion by Hardy about the role of the President of the Jury, and to some of the new rules. It was also great to sit down and visit with Andy Marcoux – a favorite of Driving Digest readers – who is participating in the clinic, along with Shelly Temple, Keith Angstadt, Susan Hrzuck and Melissa Boyd.
By the late afternoon, the sun came out to warm things up a little bit, but I think it is going to stay cool for the competition. Nice for the horses, especially those from the north that haven’t had as much time to condition thanks to the miserable winter.
Gayla has 50 competitors, missing some of the regulars from Michigan and Wisconsin because of the long winter.
Friday is dressage and cones. One of my favorite things about the Gayla Bluegrass is the beautiful grounds – the iris-lined warm-up dressage ring, the beautifully kept grounds, not to mention the warm and friendly atmosphere provided by Debbie, Dana and Dawn Banfield and Gail Austin.