Sitting here waiting for the closing ceremonies and wishing I had ear plugs to block out the act hired to play as people find their seats (who sound like this was their first time singing together), I’m looking forward to going home and hugging all my beloved animals: Theo (horse), Chorizo (wiener dog), Preto (cat) and Jan (husband) in whichever order I see them. I’m tired, as is pretty much everyone who worked or volunteered here over the past two plus weeks. The weather has blown hot and cold, the competition has thrilled and disappointed – depending on your nationality – and the fried food has clogged our arteries. But if there is one thing I’ve had enough of above all, it’s the name Alltech. I understand that without Alltech this biggest-ever gathering of the world’s best horses could never have happened. But Alltech has been rammed so relentlessly down our gullets that I feel like a goose about to be slaughtered for Alltech foie gras. And you know what? It’s not outside the realm of possibility that Alltech foie gras actually exists. They make everything else. I just learned today that even the ice cream sold at the venue is made by Alltech. 

We’ve seen a lot of Pearse Lyons, the owner of Alltech, over the past two weeks – so much so that if someone were looking in and didn’t know who was who, they would think that he was running the whole show. Maybe that’s not so far from the truth. Back last winter when I wrote my first of a series of WEG previews for Gaitpost, I failed to identify WEG at the start of my article as the ‘Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games’. An email was sent within a couple of weeks from someone here – maybe a WEG person, maybe an Alltech person, I don’t remember. The email brought this oversight to the attention of the editor, and requested (it was a request in the same way a parent requests that a child brush his teeth) that the name with Alltech at the front be used in any future articles. Personally, I was dumbfounded that anyone cared about this to such a degree. Now that I’ve had the Alltech Experience I understand better. Dr. Lyons was not capable of finishing a single utterance (and believe me, he made many to the media in press conferences, speeches and countless informal conversations) without finishing it as if this event existed primarily for the aggrandizement of Alltech and not as an eight-fold world equestrian championship. 



Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I can move onto a description of the closing ceremonies. It won’t take long. I’ve seen some anticlimactic closing ceremonies before, but this one absolutely takes the cake. The only decoration on the stadium floor besides rows of chairs for staff (or volunteers – I never did figure out the difference in their uniforms) to sit on for the Lyle Lovett concert is a bunch of convertible cars whose presence makes no sense to me. The speechifying has already begun with not even a minute of entertainment, so I guess they blew the entire budget on Lyle. I hope everyone enjoys his music. I won’t be sticking around for that. I need to pack my stuff and prepare to vacate the hillbilly love shack well before dawn tomorrow. 


It’s election season in hillbilly land, where they exercise extreme democracy: lawns are decorated with signs to vote for so-and-so for everything from magistrate to sherrif – to jailer. 

In a few days I’m going to post a collection of lasting impressions that survive the flights home – right now my head is still spinning from trying to keep track of eight disciplines, in all eight of which Canada had a team – one of only four nations to do so. But first I have to do some work. Deadlines are piling up like taxis at a Mexico City traffic light, and I need to stay on task.
In parting, here is my WEG cluster of the day: the detailed movement by movement scores for the dressage remain cloistered (or clustered) away in the computers of Sports Computer Graphics, who have not deigned to release this information to the media, never mind the public – all of whom are not only entitled to see this information, but we’re used to it. If Hong Kong could do it, why can’t they? And if they can, why don’t they? 
And now, with the sound of Pearse Lyons giving yet another cult leader-style speech to a captive and sweating audience ringing in my ears, I will sign off from Kentucky and head home.