Sunday, October 3, 2010

It's 5am on Eventing Sunday...

It's always tough to sleep when I'm working a competition.  Exhaustion to the point of not being able to sleep keeps me from sleeping so why bother to try?  It's always been this way. If I take something to help me sleep then I'm too groggy to work the next morning. So again, why try? Just work tired -- that's my motto

Yesterday's cross-country was filled with both spectacular and valiant  rides, and lots and lots of spectators -- more spectators than I've ever seen at KHP (and I've been to a fair number of major competitions in the park over the past 20 years. Maybe it was just because I was near tall the some major parking  areas and all the spectators sort of  funnel into the park. Honestly , the area by the lake was an absolute beehive of folks moving and milling, and pushing in to get a look at The Land Between the Lakes before heading up onto the course. There were more folks than I've ever seen at any Rolex Kentucky 3-Day Event of the last 20 years. At least it seemed so.

We photographers are always stuck in a pen somewhere, perched near a major complex of efforts. Yesterday I was in the pen on the banks of beautiful KHP Lake, better known to eventers out there as The Head of the Lake. If it hadn't been for the hard plastic fencing I think we photogs would have been dog paddling (or at least up to our knees in water. Truth be told, there have been one or two of my ranks I'd  like to push in the water myself.

But the spectators were very considerate and very very tolerant as 25 or 30 of us would lull those poor unsuspecting souls that filled in the slots behind the wobbly white fence that separates us, into a false sense of security.  We tend to sit down until something comes along that requires us to jump up and try to earn a living.  Whenever the whistle blows, we hop up in unison, sort of like Pavlov's Dogs. Just when the newbie batch of spectators behind us gets excited about the horse coming, we thoroughly dash their hopes.

I always feel bad when I block someone's view and make a considerable effort to stay out of folks way. But sometimes it just can't be helped. And, sometimes when these photographer barriers are created, the spectators really let you know their displeasure at your inconsideration. I can safely say that the majority, not all, but the majority of photographers try hard to not get in your way if they can help it -- at least I think they try not to?  Bottom line - we're just trying to do a job in a very competitive industry.

But the WEG group of spectators has been absolutely the best (knock on wood) so far.  Not a complaint, not a gripe in the very large bunch!  Just gracious and happy people.  I think the US spectators have really put their best foot forward this week.  We are a nice, friendly bunch of folks when it comes right down to it -- at least we horse folks. So my thanks to you all who had to stare at my Hawaiian-Shirt, penny covered (I'm number 52 in case you're interested) back just when things were getting exciting.

Thanks for all your tolerance, patience, and good humor when dealing with we journalistic boils on your backside. Please accept this big old shout out thanks to all of you nice spectators who were fun and helped us all pass the time together between hold's on course. I love giving you photography tips and letting you look through my camera or, if you're nice and my friend Tim is around, let you borrow a lens for your own camera! Honestly, you're the best!

Now on to the Stadium...

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