Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Richland Horse Trials

Saturday morning, 5:15AM, my alarm went off. Normally, Adalynn would be waking me up for a little snack, then I'd be hitting the hay again for a few more hours. Instead, I rolled out of bed and got in the shower, then headed down to Richland for a day spent with horses. The only reason I'll get out of bed at five in the morning. 

The Richland Park Horse Trials takes place once a year. It's from Thursday through Sunday and is a triathlon for horse & rider teams, who complete in dressage, show jumping and, my favorite, cross-country. 

When I arrived, I found my post and my 'people', where they explained what I'd be doing for the day. I was on the stadium jumping crew, which meant that I, along with some other lovely people, sat at the edge of the course and waited until a horse & rider team knocked a pole down - then I ran myself out and put the pole back up. 

We did this for ten hours. You would think it felt like forever, but it actually went pretty fast. Besides that it poured for about five hours...yea. 

And this jump made me giggle because I knew Kelly would love it when he saw it, which he did. 

The whole event takes place in the middle of a giant corn field. The owners set up this property for the sole purpose of the horse trials once a year. It's pretty amazing. All the proceeds this year benefited the Cheff Center, a therapeutic riding center that's just a short while down the road (and the first center I ever volunteered at!).

The friend who got me to volunteer, her name is Mary. We decided that next year, we'd each pick something we both wanted to do so that we'd be able to switch back & forth a couple times throughout the day, that way we'd get to see more of what was going on.  

When we arrived on Sunday, we decided to walk the cross country course first. They have two different divisions, the advanced division in which the Olympians were riding, then the novice/training divisions. 

This cross country course is amazing. I tell you, even if you aren't a horse person, if you get the chance to watch a cross-country even, take it. It's unreal. It goes over fields, through wooded areas and across water holes. 

These riders are seriously the bravest. They take their horses rip-roaring around the countryside, jumping bushes and trees, down hills and over jumps in water - and it's all a race to see who gets the fastest time. The trust between these horse & rider teams is amazing. This is definitely one thing that's on my bucket list!

We took a little lunch break in which us adults partook in some delicious hot dogs and miss Adalynn had some sweet potatoes. From there we went over to the show jumping area where, as soon as we arrived, an announcement came over the loudspeaker to say that the show jumping had been completed for the day. Boo. Boo-hoo. We were super bummed because it was the advanced division jumping that we missed.

Apparently, the show usually runs all day on that Sunday. The rumor is that the Olympics being hosted this year caused the participation to be down compared to other years. Reason being, the Olympian riders use the Richland course as practice in the years between the Olympics, hence the reason the Advanced Division was done so early. 

So instead, we watched as people spoiled their horses a little, letting them roll, graze and get lots of back scratches for all of the hard work this weekend. 

It was a great weekend. When you're surrounded by 400 + horses, how could it not be, right? Also, there was a horse named Sirius Black - obviously he was my favorite :)  

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