Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Some old stuff I wrote a long time ago.

This is part of the blog I wrote during my last adventure as Young Rider Coordinator.  We took a bunch of kids from California, added in some from the East Coast and made teams to compete at the North American Young Rider/Junior Championships.  They were held at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Virginia that year.  I begin with my own tremendous acheivments.

August or July 2007 - probably in the middle of the night.

Then there is the stuff I have done.  I began the hotel room quest in December, 2006.  I really wanted a hotel with an in-house restaurant.  Well anyway, I was successful in getting 10 rooms at the hotel I wanted, and did my due diligence in contacting the hotel throughout the spring and became acquainted on a regular basis with all three new sales managers, that is to say that over the seven months I’ve been calling and checking my reservations, each time a “new” sales manager had been hired.  Why wasn’t I afraid then?  Well as the saying goes you can’t teach old people anything.  I certainly qualify in all those regards.  But I digress.  Each time I talked to a new sales manager i.e.:   #1 – Carol and #2 Carmen – not the head of housekeeping Carmen, the other one and was assured my reservation was intact and all was fine and did I send in my contract, well no, because I didn’t have a contract, fine, they would send me one.  End of thought - until finally…#3 Sue whom I had my first contact with after I had promptly, nay early in fact, faxed in the room list one day  earlier than the requested two weeks prior to arrival due date.  Whew.  So Sue calls me, “we’ve cancelled all 10 of your rooms because we don’t have a signed contract.”  Sweet.  So I begin a rant that was tactful yet insistent, nasty yet polite, bratty yet saccharine – you get the idea.  I used phrases like, “I’m sorry, but I don’t have a contract, I do have three names of three different people, not counting Carmen the head housekeeper whom I’ve also spoken to, and the dates and synopsis of the conversations we had”  and (this is a good one)  “Ya’ll (you want to get chummy) have in all ways been so courteous  perhaps I missed your phone call asking me about my intention with regard to my 10 room reservation?  It seems to me that I would have remembered such a call.  No? then I am truly puzzled” And finally, the coup d’gras “what will I tell the children?”  Clincher city.  Problem solved – 10 points for the good guy with a notebook.  By the by, the “contract” they kept referring to was in fact a letter which outlined the specifics of my reservation i.e.: the number of rooms, the date the reservation was taken, who I spoke to, on that day,  the date the room list would be required etal.  I must have sent that to them a hundred times without ever realizing the line that said signature was in fact asking for my signature…not the hotel sales manager du jour.  Whatever

It is my fervent hope that the hotel travesty will be the high drama of this year’s journey.  However, we do still have one more jog outfit to purchase.  After last year’s debacle at the mall, I’m opting for online shopping.  We still have a week before any of us actually sets foot on Blue Ridge soil, so perhaps we can gitter dun electronically and I can airily wave my hands around and utter such profundities such as “no darlin’ it does not make you look fat”, “yes, your butt does look big in the stretch mini” (AS IF),  “glitter is not an option”, and “you can not jog in a tube top unless your horse happens to be missing a limb.”  Enuff sed.  I’m warming up my southern-ness.

The adventure begins in earnest on Friday morning July 27 at the break of my dawn with a 6:15 a.m. departure from San Francisco to Roanoke via Atlanta.  Traveling with me will be Max Mc Manamy, Tara Polkabla, Meredith Ragno, JH Leahle and Jordan Kendrick, Tara’s b-friend. 

By the by, is it interesting that two years ago as we were getting ready to leave for Young Riders,  Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince came out, and now two years almost to the day, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is JUST out?  Maybe not interesting at all, but I know what I’ll be reading.

The trip is really about the adventure, but the adventure belongs to the riders and grooms.   Our grooms are pretty varied, Fiona Graham hails from Portola Valley in CA and was a contender for this year’s ** team, but her horse opted for a different path, and Fiona decided to come with the team in a different capacity.  Rachel Dwyer too, was candidate for the ** team, but found her counting skills to be questionable when she missed a fence at her qualifier and found herself eliminated, but  she too stepped up to the plate to help out her team.  Our third groom, Janelle Riddle  was a member of the ** star team two years ago and says she wants to “give back” to the program.  As you can see, these guys are what being a team member is all about.   Anyway, we have two teams of riders this year, both with three members.  The CCI* Junior team consists of Maxance Lavance McManamy (Max) and her horse 10 year old TB Beacon Hill (Taylor), Tara McKenna Polkabla (Tara) and Current Leader  (Katana) also a 10 year old TB and Meredith McIntyre Ragno and her  7 year old Dutch Wmbld. Sentenial K (Henley).  The CCI** Young Rider team includes Jennifer Ann Brannigan (Jennie) with 10 Year old Kozmo another TB, Olivia Katherine Loiacono (Liv) and her 11 year old chestnut TB Subway and our third member is Brett Elise Handy (Brett) with her 11 year old Irish horse Promising Sportsfield (Jack).  Brett is from Area X, New Mexico to be exact.  We are delighted that she has opted to throw her lot in with us’ns from the far west, and we promise to behave.  (snort)

July 28, 2007
As is typical it is after 9 p.m. and we are just now getting our act together enough to go eat dinner.  How many actually make it to this food fest is unknown.  But I will l describe the meal in excruciating detail.  As usual our little friend Jordan  (see above – Tara’s b-friend), was s.t.a.r.v.i.n.g.  this guy is a bottomless pit.  Clich√© I know, but words defy me.  Starving at the airport yesterday morning, starving on the plane at the first snack thing, starving at p-nut time, starving in Atlanta, starving at dinner 3 hours later, starving this morning, at mid-morning, at lunch, at late afternoon and at dinner.  Wow, yes, he weighs 140 soaking wet and he’s 6’ tall.  This will be annoying.  I hope he has enough money to last the week.  I know I don’t have enough money to feed him for even one day…

Anyway, the rest of the girls, I have Tara, Max and Meredith , eat normally.  I don’t have any weirdos with me this year.  Max doesn’t eat fish, pineapple or OJ, Meredith hates hates hates broccoli and raw onions and Tara doesn’t like fish or tomatoes.  Jordan likes everything.  We also have a 6th person with us.  May I introduce JH Leahle?  He was a business partner of Max’s dad.   He evidently has nothing better to do than hang out in VA with us and drive us around and be the best bud guy these girls have ever had.  I’m a fan.  Pictures to follow.  The meals in any case have been very staid and no drama, but it is only day 2.

What we did this summer…Today in addition to fetching feed and some supplies we also went shopping – cute boutiques here, then we went on our history lesson tour and visited the homes of General “Stonewall” Jackson and the Sloan house right here in Lexington, then we toured the chapel at Washington and Lee University.  Meredith is our little history buff and won a book at the Sloan House by knowing all the answers to all the questions.  I think she was offered a job, but I’m not sure.  Very entertaining.  But you will have to Google them yourself, cause there was a ton of information and you don’t have enough time for me to tell you all of it.

Tomorrow (Sunday) Katana, Taylor and Henley will fly in.  They are horses.  Two of the intrepid mothers are flying with the horses on a flight from Ontario in So. Cal to Roanoke, then the horses are being vanned to Lexington, well Natural Bridge, VA where they will stay overnight till we can get to our stalls at the VA Horse Center on Monday.  Olivia will be driving down from New Jersey tomorrow so we will have a CCI** rider in our midst as well.  Jennie and Brett get here on Monday and our rider contingent will be complete.

I have decreed a sleep in, sleep late tomorrow, not sure what that will mean to different people, but whatever.  JH was moaning that he had to go running and he makes Max go too, a little about the heat and humidity later…The rest of us will more than likely lounge around and get our heart rates up by osmosis or caffeine.  To each his/her own.

OMG I forgot to tell you about the team penning.  There is an AQHA show going on at the Horse Center right this minute.  So we ambled and mosied on over thar (western cowboy lingo for ya’ll) late this afternoon to enjoy that spectacle.  I gotta tell you, this is a pretty cheap lesson in the ways of the world that I get to experience with my little darlings.  So a little about team penning.  Imagine a regular  sized ring with pipe panels in the middle making a smaller, but not very small inner ring.  Then there is a little pen down at one end with 3 and ¾’s sides and an open gate like affair and another pen with gates that hold the herd at the other end.  So what happens is they bring in a bunch of veal, I mean calves to the pen with the gate, and they all have paper numbers attached in some fashion – I’m not sure how, not sure I really want to know.  So three calves each have the same number, so there are 3 number 1’s, 3 number 2’s and so on and so forth and they all try to hide or whatever in the open.  Then five riders come in on their wonderful little horses, 2 on each side and three in the middle, now the three in the middle would be your “team”  and evidently the other two are just there for fun, cause the announcer announces what number calf the team will be “penning” then the 2 guys jam it out of the ring like they’ve been scalded and the 3 that are left muddle around with the calves and try to sort the calves with their allotted number out of the mix and down to the end with the 3 & ¾ pen with the open gate deal without letting any of the other numbered calves out as well.  Then some timing thing is announced and if you don’t have your three calves out you are basically a loser, cause the really good guys got all their calves picked out and then you have to make them go into the little pen, but that seemed like easy, cause pretty much nobody had trouble if they were able to train their calves to go down and sit stay at that end of the arena without calling all their brothers down to join them.  Having the brothers join them means you get a big fat “NO TIME”  which means you l.o.s.e.  Calves are very naughty and have their own idea how this game is played which pretty much involves stymy the horse and rider duo.  Very entertaining.  I could do this.

I loved being the young rider coordinator.  I loved the dedication of the riders to their team, their horse and their sport.  I liked organizing trips like this, finding lodging, arranging transportation for 20 people from 20 different airports, and finding transportation for the horses and 16 tons of equipment to travel across the country.   I liked the part of eating new foods with teenagers.  It was always  an adventure driving around without benefit of competent map readers or GPS.  I still see the little darlings who made the teams, or groomed for Area VI.  At last count, at least two of those riders have competed over the pond in Europe or England on grants earned from being good riders on good horses. 

So this is  a cheap way to post a blog entry.  I did that in college too.  I wrote a paper for a Sociology class and used the same one for an English Comp class as well.  Evidently you aren't supposed to do that.  Oh well, they were my ideas put from pen to paper, and if you want my degree back you can have it.  It is just something I have to refile every now and again anyway.


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