As I sat Tuesday morning, all squished into my cattle class seat on a plane bound for Houston, which would allow me to board another plane bound for West Palm Beach, and looked out the window at a snow-covered Vancouver receding in the cold dark of pre-dawn, the real reason so many Canadian riders go south to Florida or California for the winter occurred to me. Sure, it’s all about the competitions, the quest for qualifying scores and mileage playing with the big kids in the playground. But who among us doesn’t love to put on just one layer of clothing instead of five? Even leave a little skin showing without worrying about frost bite in 30 seconds from wind chill? Let’s just all admit it. If the big winter show circuits required travel in a northerly direction instead of southerly, no one would go.
Welly World never stands still. Kon Tiki, formerly a haven of ‘who’s who’ spotting, has fallen out of favour. The new place to eat and be seen eating is called The Grille. The ground has been broken (and by more than a six time Olympian’s shovel), churned up, piled and shoved around by big yellow machines at the future home of the ambitiously named Global Dressage Festival. Other things are being churned up and shoved around too in regard to this controversial new development, but I have to talk to people on both sides of that fight before I will dare to write about it or imagine taking a side. There is never a dull moment in Welly World. The only constant down here is the Sunday night table-dancing drunk fest at Players.
The World Dressage Masters starts in one week, and I know I am not alone in my hand-rubbing anticipation of laying eyes on Charlotte and Valegro in the flesh, who to be honest I would rather see than Totilas anyway. Watch this space for much, much more on the WDM over the coming days.
Something else you can watch for very soon will be my first official reporting on The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing CEO. In the meantime, let me surprise you with a rare moment of hope on the topic of DQ Canada. Yes, believe it or not I am cautiously optimistic about the posse Sport Council rounded up to impose order on the most disorderly discipline committee north of the 49th parallel. Those of you who read this blog on a regular basis have heard this plea several times over, but I’m making it again with an even greater sense of urgency than ever before. DEAR CANADIAN DRESSAGE QUEENS AND KINGS: PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO GIVE A SHIT ABOUT WHAT IS HAPPENING IN YOUR NATIONAL DRESSAGE ORGANIZATION. You are cordially being begged to contact the DC Working Group with your beefs, your whines and your ideas for a solution, no matter how crazy or half baked they might be. As our recently departed Fearless Leader Akaash once said to me during one of DC’s many, many crises, “crisis is opportunity”. If you don’t take the time to contact the Working Group, then don’t ever complain about the situation in DC land again. Look. I’ll make it really easy for you. Just click on this email, and let ‘er rip: email@example.com. If you want to say something to a specific Working Group member rather than all of them, click on this email instead: firstname.lastname@example.org and Craig will pass along your comments to only the person you specify. Peggy Hambly, the chair of this DC cleanup crew, said a few things to me that made me take a small step down the yellow brick road of believing reform just might be around the corner. Nothing earth shattering, just good old head-screwed-on-straight common sense stuff like communication is key to the solution and all relationships are built on trust. Peggy is anxious to reassure everyone on behalf of the Working Group that confidentiality will be strictly adhered to. And that’s a welcome change for DC land, the home of some of the most indiscreet people who have ever emailed me. So don’t be scared and for goodness’ sake, don’t be silent. Not now. This is DC’s big chance to get back on the rails. Let’s not blow it. There’s already been too much bad news for equestrianism in Canada this year.