I have a cell phone full of numbers that would make a dressage geek hyperventilate. I mean, what if I actually butt-dial Steffen? In the two-and-a-half years I have been in the high-performance dressage reporting and public relations industry, I have made a lot of friends, traveled to high-profile events and spent two seasons in Florida covering the wacky world of Wellington. So, when I started a new direction in my career as a freelancer, Mary Phelps of Dressage Daily contacted me and asked if I would be interested in helping her cover the U.S. Dressage Finals in Kentucky. Um, yeah! Mary knows everyone. At Thursday night’s Competitor’s Party, she stopped every three or four feet to hug someone. They all love her smile. I’ve got to admit - it’s kind of fun to be the tag-along with someone who is so well-liked in Dressage Land but difficult to walk anywhere.
She took me out for a lovely dinner at The Club at Spindletop, a historic mansion on the National Register of Historic Places now owned by the University of Kentucky. On the impromptu mini-tour Mary conducted of the 1930s era home-turned-private-club, we happened upon the judges and officials for the show and more hugs ensued on our way to see the coolest bathroom ever built in the 30s. My first house had that same dentist green tile but it sure didn’t look like that.
Mary invited me to stay with her in her tricked-out RV at the gorgeous campgrounds at the Kentucky Horse Park. As someone who has stayed in some questionable hotels as part of her job, I was ready for the worst. Not only was it cozily comfortable, our neighbors on either side of us in the campground became delightful new friends and I look forward to seeing them again in the future. But, when Mary told me I would sleep on a pull-out sleeper sofa, I knew my chiropractor would be seeing me the next week.
It was cold in Kentucky but with the RV’s fireplace (!) roaring we made up my bed. Mary handed me a Back On Track Therapeutic Dog Travel Bed to put under me. Really, Mary? A dog bed? I couldn’t believe it when I woke up without a backache. OMG. I must have one of these. The Back on Track website says the travel bed’s “unique therapeutic Welltex® ceramic fabric with protective coating provides soothing thermal infrared warmth that may help relax your dog's muscles and relieve joint pain.” It may help a dog’s muscles and pain but it certainly helped mine. (I realize I left myself wide open on that one but DON’T go there.) Upon further inspection of the Back on Track website, I learned they have a full line of human products: offer mattress overlays, fleece blankets and mini blankets for humans as well as a variety of gloves, scarves, t-shirts, and knee, elbow and wrist braces.
Score. Just in time for my Christmas wish list!
So, while I was covering the US Dressage Finals, I reunited with old friends, made new ones, found lots of cool stories to talk about and was knee deep in writing about some of the top professional and amateur riders in the country, but my back didn’t hurt because Mary gave me a dog bed to sleep on. Oh—and she also brought me coffee, pakcakes with bacon while I was still in bed. What a way to be pampered on the job!