The grand, immaculate and lush grounds of the Kentucky Horse Park were the scenes of “The” Big, Big Show! Trainer and coach of fellow Students, (who trailered in from as far as Colorado,) Roz Kintzler, said it best when she said, “Margee Koffler” is a wonderful organizer so try to take advantage of as many events as you can.” Since I always listen to my coach, I did and was grateful for the entertainment “heads up.”
Show secretary Susan Peacock really sweetened the lucky entrants of the competition by offering up a fabulous dangling carrot in the form of a “horse-show Harley” as a drawing for just completing a perfect entry. This shiny little scooter had my name all over it. after all, what are the chances when I normally have a little “incident” or two on my entries, and honestly could not win a set of broken, Ronco steak knives. It was not to be, for me; however, lucky fellow “perfect entry contestant,” Jennifer Hunt did take home the bacon.
The rest of us were given a nicely dressage themed water bottle for our efforts and an opportunity to ride in the awesome arenas of the horse park which were provided by Premier.
The weather was perfect so it mattered not that some finicky thief had made off with my Mountain Horse Jacket prior to my arrival. No jackets required at all, in fact, even at the wonderful wine tasting soiree sponsored by Equss Run Vineyards, which coincided with the pizza party for the juniors. My tablemates for the event read like a who’s who at www.horsesdaily.com: Carol Grant, Natalie Lamping, Fatima Kranz, Milo Mott and Tonya Grant. Talk about talent at one table! Just getting a glimpse of Tonya aboard her horse, Jumbo D, was worth the trip. Tonya’s fabulous dressage upbringing is evident, (even amidst a packed park,) with her elegant stature and easy command of her mount. Auditors were treated to other tastes of family talent and tradition if they caught the always-popular freestyles where Kasandra Barteau and her mare, that she told my traveling partner and newcomer to dressage, Beth Straebel, “I just love her, she is my best friend!”
This enthusiasm was evident throughout the entire weekend as feathers stayed unruffled and horses displayed their calm and agreeable personalities, (possibly emulating their counterparts of the show: the mounted police,) over the miles and miles and at least as far as the eye could see. It was fun to hear the impressions of a first time helper/auditor. Fresh eyes catch a kaleidoscope of details and can remain somewhat anoymous, apparently unlike me who must have screamed: Dressage competitor to Kassie Barteau upon my arrival at the host hotel, Holiday Inn. “What do you ride:::”””open/AA, where are you from???? This junior’s effervescent personality was impressive indeed off a horse. Imagine the seamless transitions she performs with her “all legs and wide smile” on “her best friend.”
Her father, Kim Barteau, also came away with the “Big Ribbon” in the freestyle. At one point I was thinking of renaming it “The Barteau Show” due to their appreciable winnings. It may be a family thing but this family knows how to have fun which they proudly displayed in their imaginative take on the tack stall contest where they turned a 12X 12 box into a full service Saloon complete with Saloon girls, bartenders, bar stools, peanuts on the floor and all of the other accruements one would associate with an old fashioned saloon. The judging crew, Carrie Schwartz, Steven Heingtleman, and Margee Koffler had their hands full as other entrants did similar things in terms of Margaretville and beach scenes. The diligence of all of the volunteers made for a “Smoothie Of A Show!”
The rings ran on time or early in some cases so rides went very smoothly. This was the first “Gi-normous” show for my youngster, Paxem, who has been under saddle for a year but pretended to have been a veteran “Rolex-er” as he longingly eyed the rolling hills for a little jaunt. He made me very proud in the show ring, (not to mention the warm-up where he had to cope with an Awards ceremony in full-booming-swing,) and was thus treated to a little shopping spree down “Designer Alley!” He could have cared less that I wanted to turn my attentions to the SHO CLOTHES booth to get a matching vest for my custom shirt. Nope, he didn’t care at all. He had his sites set on a saddle just for him because he was tired of playing kindergarten and sharing with his “brother” who is built more like a 6’8” forward than this Dutch guy.
Jochen Schlesse happened to be on hand to fit Paxem in the new Wave saddle, which we took for a spin or two around the arena and then over the hills and through the woods so far that we almost ended up on a bicycle tour. I forgot I was even sitting on a saddle it was so comfortable and got the definite vibe that Paxem was at peace, too.
We headed back for the action, which was non-stop, and to plan our next outing. Meanwhile, traveling companion Beth had snuck off on a self guided tour with some new little friends in tow. We all had a marvelous time with so many choices of what to-do, see, learn, buy, peruse that I am sure it was a few days before our regular body clocks clicked back into action. Dressage At Devon and Wellington would have been very proud of their pals in Region two. Very proud indeed. Although, they may have noticed a definite deficit in the Food Row Department.
More than a few of us were longing for the infamous: stands sporting: smoothies, lemonade, pizza, fries with globs of sauces and other fares the food police would frown upon but alas, we made our own little fun and new friends from near and far. And, as newcomer, Beth Straebel so aptly put it: “When did dressage people become so much fun? Barteau’s Saloon got people tossing off their hairnets and tossing back a little Kentucky bourbon!"
By Debby DeJong
DressageDaily welcomes Debby DeJong of dressagesavvy.com, and thanks her for her coverage of the Region 2 Finals.
Images by Terri Miller