Watch the Slide Show! U.S. Dressage Team Meets and Mingles
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Diana DeRosa a fellow member of the International Alliance of Equestrian Journalists has joined us covering World Equestrian Games and the Olympics from her own inside perspective. We are excited to have her back bringing her DeRosa Daily contributions for . We are glad she made our special party for the US Dressage Team after just arriving from her long drive from New York.
Wow, it’s finally here and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. I took the long drive from New York to Lexington, KY. I started out at 2:00 a.m. With just two hours sleep along the way I arrived at 4:00 p.m. and felt good about the timing.
Anne Gribbons, USET Technical Advisor and Team Coach, and Eva Salomon, USEF Managing Director and Chef d'Equipe for Dressage, were there as well as Anne’s husband David. I’ve known Anne and David since they both originally came from Long Island, which is where I live. I’ve seen Anne around but this was the first time I’d seen David in a long time. It’s great seeing old friends.
Dr. Lyons is a ball of fire and always so jovial. Just seeing his enthusiasm was enough for me to be inspired about the Alltech Experience and the Games in general. No other World Equestrian Games was ever based on so much spacious and beautiful property all in one location. Nor has any World Equestrian Games had the support from the onset which Alltech provided with a $10 Million sponsorship. Although Aachen (2006) was organized in one location it is a much smaller venue. I have no doubt that the sport for these Kentucky Games will truly be special.
After Dr. Lyons welcomed everyone John Nicholson, Executive Director of the Kentucky Horse Park said that he was so moved he wanted to say a few words. John told of how five years earlier before the Kentucky Horse Park had been awarded the Games he recalled breaking the grounds for the United States Dressage Federation which was moving to the Park. “We painted a picture that was wistful and far away,” he commented. That picture was envisioning the U.S. Dressage team winning the Gold Medal.
“What an odyssey this has been and shows that dreams do come true. A special thank you to Alltech and Dr. Lyons who have made our dream come true,” he concluded as we continued with a wonderful dinner and great conversation.
As the evening moved along the riders started to lighten up a bit and their humor started to show. It’s clear they enjoy spending time together and this is a cohesive team. I learned a few tid bits along the way such as the fact that it was Todd’s dad’s neighbor that helped pave his way for riding dressage.
I’ve been traveling back and forth to Kentucky for the past two years interviewing all the key people, including Dr. Lyons and John Nicholson. All those features are in-depth profiles of the people that have made these Games happen. In the days ahead we’ll be featuring one profile a day and these profiles are ones you won’t want to miss. They are long – most over 3000 words – but they talk about the heart of soul of the people that have put a heart and soul into the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
As the evening concluded, Mary and JJ passed out goodies to the riders. Mary’s sister Nancy Phelps of Esto Arts made a special travel candle from Kentucky soy wax. Every rider got a bag of Gumbits, the popular product sold on Mary’s website http://www.shophorsesdaily.com and their latest product produced by KAM Animal Services. They are called Cookies with a Clue and the best thing is that they are all natural and easy to feed. Booster Bites and Chubbies are what someone feeds to their horse(s) on a daily basis to ensure the horse gets all the nutrition he needs and Stress Busters, Belly Bites and Owchees are for those occasions when horses need some extra help to feel comfortable. All the right ingredients are combined into an oversized pellet (or cookie) which makes them much easier to feed then measuring out powdery supplements.
As the evening ended and we all said our goodbyes it was clear that Mary’s decision to bring these people together was a brilliant move for everyone. Most had not even met Dr. Lyons and John Nicholson and these were two people they needed to meet. And they also had not had the opportunity to meet these riders who will be representing the U.S. Although I’ve briefly met the riders in the past this was a great opportunity for me to get to know them a bit more because I’ll be writing about them in the days ahead.
Kudos to Mary and JJ. and Markel, the sponsors of this event. It was a great evening for all of us!
So, with that I end my first report but travel with me in the days ahead. The Games don’t start until Saturday, September 25th but for the next two days with the help of the local Kentucky tourist boards I’ll have a chance to visit different parts of Kentucky. So, I’ll bring you a bit of the countryside before kicking off with Reining and the Opening Day Ceremonies on Saturday. In the meantime, feel free to write me with your questions or comments. It’s always great to hear from you. (email@example.com)
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It’s time to say – Let the Games Begin!