Last week (June 12th through the 17th) was set up, the actual Rare Breeds Show and take down. It was, in short, a very busy week.
It started on Saturday morning, as I was drinking my coffee and getting ready to do my final packing for the trip. There was an email that read “How was your flight?”. What? That was Saturday night….right? Nope. Even though I was the one that set it up, someone I had scheduled my flight for FRIDAY night and slept through it. An hour and a very helpful customer service person later, I had a new flight on SATURDAY night. I did check and I’d set up a hotel for Sunday night, so I’m not quite sure how I did that. But, I figured I was pre-disastered.
I whisked through security (my nice customer service person also put me as TSA precheck, thank you!) and got my red eye to Virginia. I picked up my car and headed to Shenandoah Farms to get the boxes and boxes of stuff we had mailed to Sabine, also known as Teke Central. They were pretty busy, getting ready for the show, so I didn’t stay too long, but headed for the Virginia Horse Center, where the show was to be.
I got checked in, wandered around the show grounds a bit and then met up with Victoria Tollman and Nancy Phillips for dinner and discussion. All was good.
Monday morning was move in, so me and my boxes went to the Show Office. I set up the awards table and the ATAA Booth.
The ATAA Show Office before all the awards were set out. The Show Office with the awards set out. We had some very, very nice awards, with lovely halters for 1st place, embroidered coolers, embroidered garment bags for the Costume Class, Leather Leads with ‘Most Versatile’ engraved on them and fancy stick pins for the Hi Scoring Dressage Awards. Caroline Dudkowski did a great job of getting them all taken care of (THANK YOU Caroline!!)
Caroline showed up to set up the jump course. Once we realized that the facility staff would help, it went a lot smoother. Those jumps are not small OR light. I found a few photos, but was mainly helping with set up. A few of the other volunteers helped out too. Thank heavens our course designer made it so we just needed to put heights up and down, not change where the jumps were.
Caroline measuring jump distances
Some of the standards
The Show Office from outside
The breed booths getting set up, along with the SANA show office.
Setting up in the barn.
Another view of the barn, going into the Reel Arena, where all the Teke classes, the Jumpers and Hunters and Dressage took place.The ATAA did up really nice T-shirts for the volunteers. Jessica Drake of The Painting Pony designed them and found the printer. I still have a few left, only Mediums and Smalls I believe. If we do this again, there will be way more XLs and 2 XL. I will have them for sale on the ATAA website soon at: www.akhal-teke.org
After our set up on Monday, we went over to Allegra’s place for a judge’s get together. Allegra’s mom, Dixie presided and Betsy and I got to talk to Robin and Chris, the very wonderful English gentlemen that came to judge ponies. Brent Seufert was there too, along with a gentleman that must be his business partner. Victoria Tollman and her assistant Nancy came too. Lovely snacks and some nice drinks (that I couldn’t have as I was driving back to the hotel). Betsy went with me and was able to check out the alcohol selection.
People were coming in all Monday, including Betsy Wandler, Ruth Heilgeist and exhibitors were showing up with their horses. Betsy was our Announcer for all three days and did a fantastic job. She usually had 2 radios, the overhead microphone and her phone going, all at once.Tuesday morning, we were all there and ready! We started with Jumper classes and helped Caroline change the heights of the jumps between classes. We also had help from Melanie Lucroy and even the exhibitors sometime. Cindy Economou was our in-gate person and Jennifer Newman manned (womaned?) the out gate. I ran around, making sure stuff was getting done. Sometime, either Tuesday or Wednesday, Donna Haselow got there and took over the in-gate duties and Cindy moved to the out-gate, as Jennifer wasn’t feeling well and went home. Carol Sease was scribing for Dr. Molly Nicodemus, our fantastic judge.
Jumper and Hunter classes went pretty smoothly.
Tuesday night was our ATAA Annual General Meeting and Banquet. We had 30 people come, including Phil Case and his staff and volunteers. Betsy and I had bought sandwiches for the exhibitors and volunteers for lunch from Monday through Thursday and also picked up wine for the Banquet. It was appreciated, we had a very good meeting and spent lots of time socializing, lubricated by alcohol. It was lots of fun! I didn’t take any photos there, as I was at the podium, but I hope someone did.
Wednesday was our AT Breed Day, with costume classes and the In-Hand and Ridden Teke classes.
I was in the Costume Class, leading Jacque Munn’s lovely filly Galadrielle. We got to know each other a bit, so when I put on my costume, it was no big deal. I had a very fancy costume planned, but ended up throwing one together out of stuff in my Expo boxes.
Yes, I am wearing a beard. Gala thought it was sort of strange, but accepted it after some sniffing. I’m glad Betsy took some photos, I had no idea what the costume looked like. I will say that I was the comic relief, as everyone that saw me laughed.
After the Costume classes, we moved on to the In-Hand classes. We didn’t have many youngsters and actually cancelled one class (foals and weanlings of 2016) and combined the Yearlings and 2 year old classes. I suppose it makes sense to bring older horses that can show in more than one class, but I was very glad to see our youngsters. There were some very nice fillies! The two below are Aldura (cremello) and Gyzyl Godiva (buckskin AT Sporthorse) both from Greystone Equestrian Center in Indiana.
There were long pauses between classes, as many exhibitors were showing different horses in every class. We did have a spectator suggest that next time, we stagger breeds in the arena, so one set of exhibitors can have a few minutes to get their next horses ready. But, as this was our first big show, we had lots of learning experiences!
Our biggest class of the day was the one that my farm, Cascade Gold Akhal-Tekes, sponsored. It was #148, Best NA Bred 3 years and over. We had 19 purebred Akhal-Tekes in the arena at once. 19 of the most gorgeous, glorious horses I’ve seen, all together. 12 stallions, 5 mares and 2 geldings. Happily, it was a large arena and the exhibitors spread themselves out. Our judge, Molly, did comment later on that she didn’t realize how many stallions were in the arena until halfway through the class and that she thought no other breed would try to combine that many stallions with mares. Truthfully, we didn’t even think of THAT. But, the handlers did an excellent job of maintaining order. Betsy and I were in the announcer stand, wiping a few tears from our eyes at the amazing display of fabulous horses. I’m so glad I didn’t have to judge this class, as it would have been very hard to choose placings! Molly did a great job though.
This is Anikit, the winner of the class with his handler and our ribbon runner, Jonathan Jones. Anikit was bred and is owned by Shenandoah Farms of Staunton, VA
There were classes that went on until after 6 pm that evening, including Ridden and AT Sporthorse classes. I was a bit disappointed at the (lack) of spectators, but I suppose the middle of the week is difficult. We did have some people that came specifically to see the show and got to meet a few new (to me) AT people. After we wrapped up the classes, it was on to the Equus Survival Trust banquet.
The Silent Auction was at the banquet area, but as it was a ways from the barn and arenas, I was rather disappointed in the bidding. I did not do online bidding this year, which I’m sure would have brought in much more money. I just didn’t have the time and willpower to ship stuff home, then box it up and ship it out to winners. On the other hand, I did buy a gorgeous original painting and a lovely Turkmen necklace!
There were some talks at the Banquet and Betsy and I had brought the wine (I think we were known as ‘the fun people’) so our table was lots of fun. There is a photo somewhere of Betsy and I with two large bottles of wine, but I will say that there was only a very little in either one.
Thursday was the Dressage and Obstacles classes.
Once again, we had some very nice horses doing some very nice tests. The high Dressage score of the day (and winner of one of the stickpins) was Kurizma, getting a 73.46% in Training Level Test #2. Kurizma also went on to win the Most Versatile Akhal-Teke AND the Overall Show Most Versatile Horse award.
The afternoon was the Obstacles class, with both In-Hand and Ridden Divisions. Victoria reports that this was one of the most popular classes of the show (and it was sort of an afterthought to have them!). There was everything from youngsters showing Caspians (Allegra’s son Jonathan was wonderful!) to a Canadienne horse, several different pony breeds and of course, Tekes. At this point, Betsy and I were happy to just watch from the stands. It looked like everyone had a good time in this class and after it was over, the show was officially done. Betsy and I actually were able to enjoy the hotel pool and hot tub for the first time all week.
Friday we cleaned out the Show Office and took boxes to the nearest UPS office to ship back home. That is one problem with a venue that is far away, you need to do lots of shipping!
After that was done, several of us drove to Shenandoah Farms in Staunton to look at Phil Case’s horses. He also provided lunch for us. His farm sits in a big bowl and is absolutely lovely. The photo above is his mare band, and then Phil of course! I had a photo taken with me scratching Sengar, who is either 31 or 32, can’t remember which.
After a nice visit, Betsy and I whipped over to Allegra’s farm, where her working student Lauren, showed us the horses. By now, we were running on a tight schedule, as my plane was to leave at 5:45 and it was pushing 3 pm. I didn’t get many photos there, but we did get to visit Gindarkh 13, who still looks pretty good at 31 or 32. I know one of the two old boys was 31 and one was 32, but I don’t remember which was which now. I did come home and tell Khano that he was just a sprout at 26.
After our visit to Allegra’s, we made good time to the airport and I even had a few minutes to sit before my flight, as it was delayed. Unfortunately, that meant that I got to my next flight as it was boarding and had no time to get anything to eat. That was sort of sad, as they didn’t have much to eat at all on the flight home, which made me wish I’d eaten more at Phil’s! But, I got home ok and fell into bed.
Now, I’m doing results, updating websites and Facebook and getting ready to do donor and sponsor thank yous.
I’m hoping that we will be doing another Rare Breeds Show in 2 years, but on the West Coast. We shall see!