Yes, things have been mighty quiet here lately. That’s because I’ve been out gathering some awesome things for you.
I spent in KY during the final days of the World Equestrian Games, then I returned home for a couple of days to switch out suitcases and computer thumb drives before a weekend writer’s group retreat to work on the book.
Even though I was in KY during WEG, I didn’t just go to WEG. I only attended WEG for two days.
Now, I realize that some of you just fell out of your chair with shock. Only two days? Out of a week in Kentucky during the World Equestrian Games???
C’mon — y’all know I didn’t spend that week lounging at the hotel pool, despite the 90-degree afternoon temperatures.
I also spent some time at the International Equine Festival in downtown Lexington, Keeneland, Joseph-Beth’s, two trips to Old Friends (one visit was a sweet surprise) and some time working with a long-time friend on a personal genealogy project.
If you read this blog regularly, you know I don’t necessarily report news. Good thing, because I had problems with my laptop accessing WiFi, plus I’m still learning that squirrelly little keyboard on my new cell phone.
As I made the best of some technical bad luck, I realized I could still contribute to the online coverage by going off the beaten path. I rite about little impressions. Quirky stuff. And take advantage of the necessity that I would be reporting after the event.
So, here are some quick impressions of the 2010 World Equestrian Games.
WEG as a word
Silly me, always calling it “the Games.” I only used “WEG” or “2010 WEG” as part of fancy Google tricks strategy. But, in conversation, I always called it “the Games.” I thought that term acknowledged the gravitas of world titles on-the-line, as well as the historical significance of the event being held on American soil for the first time.
New Englanders may be legendary for their practicality, but Kentuckians share that practical rural spirit.
I soon felt too fancy-pants when I referred to the event as “The Games” after Kentuckians would ask me, “Are you here for WEG?” “Are you enjoying WEG?” “Where did you park for WEG?”
Once WEG opened, word got around that the event wasn’t just athletic competitions. It was “like Disney World for horses.”
After all, there was Equine World, aka the Equine Village (what most folks think of when they hear “Kentucky Horse Park,” Shoppers World (the trade show), Kentucky World (pavilions for the sponsors, along with University of Kentucky) and Bourbon World (talk of a $600-a-day bourbon tent flew like Phillipe E. Le Jeune‘s horse. )
But then I promised you “quick” even though I’m getting all blabby. Back to the “quick.”
Should be playing Vegas – The Knights of Iceland and the Slovakia Vaulting team. Super crowd pleasers.
Tasty treat – Kentucky Bourbon Ale was stored in used bourbon barrels. Served very cold. KBA will likely do incredible things to beef and pork in a slow cooker if I can get my hands on some in Connecticut. The soup with Guinness at the Parting Glass Pub in Saratoga Springs, NY, inspired me.
Coolest kid ride EVER – a mechanical cutting horse complete with mechanical calf to guide. Both run on rails. It runs on rails. I wish I took a photo. I saw it when I was tired at the end of the day and swore I’d shoot it later on. I know better than to do that. 🙁 But I did it anyway. So no picture. 🙁
Coolest hangout EVER – Okay, not WEG, but … at Keeneland during morning works, down by the gates where the riders come in and out. Yes, you can slip through and stand by the trainers. Eavesdropping heaven.
Pleasant surprise – Equine vet and author Marcia A. Thibeault signing copies of her I MAKE HORSE CALLS books inside the Indoor Arena before and during breaks in the Freestyle Vaulting.
What-are-the-odds surprise – The day after WEG ended, I pulled off I-75 in Georgetown for a “refreshment” break. I had been on my way to the “golden arches” when I spotted a Starbucks. A craving for an iced light green tea latte hit me, so I swerved into the parking lot. Inside was equestrian journalist Fran Jurga working away at her computer.
That Starbucks seems to have been the “Crossroads of the Games” (oops – WEG. See? It doesn’t have the same ring.) While I was there, we encountered USEF photograher Shannon Brinkman and her adorable daughter, plus Aussie eventer Sonja Johnson and the Australian Chef de Mission.
A new oasis – The Al-Marah Arabian Horse Galleries attached to the International Museum of the Horse is gorgeous. There’s a little corner simulating a Bedouin tent in which you sit on pillows around a table with a samovar next to models of a reclining mare and foal, all while a recording plays Arabian horse legends.
I just wished someone had been serving real coffee. Talk about a demo of Bedouin hospitality!
Think about it. What a great idea! The bedouin coffee tent experience would be like No Reservations Lite.
So, forget the $600-a-day bourbon tent. I would have happily forked over a C-note to have been served coffee in that Bedouin lounge. And I’d have eaten yogurt and fruit for lunch every day for a month to make up for it.
FWIW, there’ll be more posts from the Kentucky trip. But some questions for you … did you go to the Games? If you did, what impressed you the most? If you didn’t go, what do you wish you could have seen?