I just knew that staying in the hillbilly shack would produce a cultural experience. Last Thursday was a bit of a quiet WEG day so Jan and I had a sleep-in. Around 10:30 am I woke to hear what sounded like a vehicle pulling in. Thinking it was the cabin’s owners come to change the towels, I prodded Jan to go and answer the knock. But when he opened the door, the voice I heard didn’t sound anything like David or LaVonna, the cabin’s owners. It actually didn’t sound like anything I’d ever heard before, outside the movies. I truly had no idea that people who spoke that way existed in the real world. As the fellow drawled at Jan, I caught ‘five-six miles away’, ‘forest ranger John’ and also thought I heard something about him having lost something – maybe a dog since we have been serenaded by a lot of barking and howling at night. My first thought was that if I couldn’t make out what the guy was saying, no way in hell would Jan understand. My second thought was I needed to get up and see this for myself.
Jan told the fellow that he needed to speak very slowly (though speed wasn’t the problem – extra vowels were the problem); he clearly didn’t understand Jan’s Czech accent any better than Jan did the man’s local dialect. “M’I speakin’ too slow?” he asked before trying his initial message again with some extra descriptions. It turned out he and his companion were loggers (pronounced l-au-w-g-er-s) from down the road and the ranger had thought the owner of the shack might want a bit of thinning done on his timber. I gave them the owners’ number; they politely thanked us and were on their way. I could swear the one man had been in Deliverance. But enough chatter. I’ve already been accused of irrelevance once since the WEG began. Back to the horses.
The show jumping team final – which is in Nations’ Cup format – used to take place all on one day, but there are now so many competitors that it has to be split over two days. Today’s course seemed at first to be too easy; three of the first six horses on course were clear. But there’s a lot of crashing and burning going on out there too. I think this must have been a tough course for Conrad H. to design. On the one hand it needed to be hard enough to keep the competition interesting for the top teams, but on the other hand he had to try and not kill the weaker competitors. I really don’t like what he put in at 12a and b: a two stride combination of verticals that is so short that by the time 40 horses had gone we saw two horses leave out a stride and crash through b, and a couple more stop at b when they decided it was too late to add the second stride. It may be weeding out the chaff but it’s also doing a bit of damage to some horses’ confidence. I don’t like anything or anyone that punishes a horse for trying. Since the Nations’ Cup is spread over two days, they will not jump the same course twice, but will have a new course tomorrow. My bet is that tomorrow night’s track will be huge and technical.
I don’t quite know how to describe the scene here. Show jumping people are larger-than-life characters. Everyone dresses casual-chic – lots of scarves on men and blingy sunglasses on women. And the male to female ratio has just made a big shift to the testosterone side. Let me put it this way. I feel like a dowdy old bag with not enough couture going on for this crowd. Hm. I think I might have just discovered another reason I prefer hanging with the eventers.
Eric (aka Captain L’Amazing) keeps thumping up and down the stairs by where I’m sitting in the stands. He’s wearing a soft cast when not in the saddle, and will have a second surgery on his foot when the WEG is behind him. Canada’s Numero Uno Benedict Arnold just had a bit of a rough go, with a foot on the tape at the water and the last fence down. Any time I feel resentful about Mario’s defection, I remind myself about DOC being the Canadian eventing coach. No one really minded the USEF Prez being the coach as long as Canada was near the bottom of the pack – but now that he’s produced a silver medal, the Americans are starting to grumble. It can’t have helped that they fell into fourth place from silver medal position after Karen O’C’s unfortunate round in the show jumping. I did feel very badly for the US team, but not badly enough that I would want to see DOC go away after his contract is up with Canada following London.
Further on the topic of eventing – I heard that the Canadian newspapers hadn’t run anything on the silver eventing medal. I am outraged at the possibility that this astounding feat has been ignored, and I emailed a couple of friends back home to ask if there was anything in the Vancouver papers – two of the riders are from BC, for Jebus’ sake. The reply I got from my pal and fellow wiener-mom Irene was that the Canadian media is completely focused on the Commonwealth Games right now. To that I say – whoa! There isn’t any human feces lying around the venue, but the grooms ARE in FEMA trailers with no running water, and my friends Ann and Stacey were treated to the rip-off of a lifetime with their RV rental misadventure. Move over Delhi, we have plenty of clusterf*$@s here in Lexington too. Irene says she will Tweet Rick Mercer to let him know about the medal. He featured the Canadian eventing team on the Rick Mercer Report before the 2008 Olympics. I’m sure he will be delighted to learn the news of their success; maybe he’ll even mention it on his show next week.
have been strangely quiet this past week. There has been much speculation – none of it conclusive – among those of us in the media seats about who they are. I was flattered to be suspected by two colleagues, who greeted me one day with ‘good morning Carrot’ after conferring at their hotel and deciding to try me on for size. In case anyone out there is suspicious, let me disabuse you once and for all. I am a big ass Carrot fan, particularly of the wicked humour. But my modus operandi
– both in my blog and in my never-ending crusade against the anonymous whinging on forums like CoTH – is to take ownership for everything I say, even when I’m out of line. Or stupid. Which I am sometimes – yesterday being a case in point. I knew I was taking a big chance by bragging about getting into the restricted media parking yesterday. No dice today, and I did get the impression the guy who stopped me had been ‘prepared’ in the way that some jumping horses are ‘prepared’ in the warm up.