When I pulled in, the sky was just getting light and the security guy told me to pull around and park in the gigantic, and unused, covered arena. I go ta small thrill as I drove right past the "Do Not Park in Arena" sign and parked.
|Massive covered arena used as a storage space|
I meandered over to the volunteer check in and gave them my name and job for the day: dressage score runner. I was given a boxed breakfast, a t-shirt which was amazing, and directions on where to report for duty. As I was leaving the building, I noticed several large boxes filled with random junk: pens, a plastic water bottle, various chips and granola bars. We were told to help ourselves which in my mind means grab a bag or two of chips, maybe a couple of pens and a water bottle and be on your merry way.
|A little blurry, but there are road signs everywhere to help find your way around the facility|
The lady in front of me took this to mean dumping the entire box of 1,000 pens into her bag and smiling to herself. When she looked my way I asked her if she had enough to which she glared and shoved past. People drive me crazy!
I had about 30 minutes before reporting in, so I stopped beside the arenas and grabbed a chair to eat my breakfast. Then it was off to the scoring tower and encounter #2 that made me want to punch someone in the face.
If I had been the judge, I would have kicked her out. The judge one upped me though and asked her why she was just a scribe then and not a competitor or a judge herself!!! Ha!!!
|Inside the scoring tower. The guy on the left was working dressage with a view of all 4 rings. To the right were the stadium judges and timers with a view of the stadium arena.|
|View of ring 2 from the scoring tower|
Dressage score running is pretty boring. I stood guard next to the arena entrance (down a small flight of stairs) until two people completed their tests and then I ran/walked over to the judges booth trying my best to be invisible and not ruin anyone's warm up, collected the two sheets and then headed to the scoring tower to deliver them.
It took me about 4 riders to memorize the test. At which point I then began to try to guess what the judge's comments would be: fussy in the contact, above vertical, bad geometry etc.. I never tried to guess the score because she never went below 6.0 and never went higher than a smattering of 8s with the vast majority being 6.5 and 7.0. I never really understood why she gave a 6.5 versus 7 in general because the comments on two tests would be the same but one would be higher.
It was really fun to try to guess and then read the score sheet and see if I was right.
I also got to hang out inside the judge booth for a while and listen in/learn to scribe. The judge was amazingly nice, had a great sense of humor and really liked to teach.
|Stadium jumping arena|
Some take away points:
- Every rider rode past the judge's booth at least once in warm up. Those who looked at the judge, smiled and said hello/thanks for being here routinely scored higher than those who just went past ignoring the judge.
- The just basically mirrored itself going each direction. If there was any amount of improvement at all on the second go round (so say you already did a 20 m canter circle to the left and were now going right), she automatically gave the rider 0.5 points higher than the first time.
- In this arena, on this day, the size, breed or color of horse made no difference. I saw big, fancy shiny horses and tiny little quarter ponies (adorable!!) and all received the same scores.
- Not a single jump saddle or AP saddle was to be seen. Every single rider was in a dressage saddle.
I left when the ring finished for the morning and was disappointed I wouldn't get to see any of the riders jump. I felt a little attached to those young riders on their small horses and ponies compared to the ring running behind me which was going Training and was filled with massive steeds.
Saturday afternoon, I convinced the hubby to head up to cross some cross country and stadium rounds. It is free parking/free entry and the weather was glorious. We arrived around 4 pm and caught a few cross country rounds and then staked out a spot on the turf in the shade to watch the Advanced stadium.
|Cross country course. Dusty asked me if this was just stadium in a large field. I chuckled.|
|Einstein hanging out|
After Marilyn Little cinched the win, we wandered over to get Wyatt's face painted, have a go on the carousel and in the jump house. It felt more like being at a carnival rather than a Championship horse event, but it was also really nice to have something for the kiddo to do.
|Einstein was all wiped out after the afternoon spent watching the event|