Today was a transition day at the show facility, with the juniors and young riders leaving for home (or preparing to leave) and the I-1 and Brentina Cup riders arriving. The usual travel woes ensued, one Junior left for her 13 hour drive home to Kentucky, only to have truck problems 20 minutes from the facility and turn around and come back. They took the truck in to the shop and are hopeful it will be fixed tomorrow afternoon. Another Junior has her horse leaving on a truck for California, which was supposed to leave at 6am, but has been significantly delayed (they were still at the barn when we left around 5pm).
I attended a USEF High Performance meeting this morning. Most of the GP riders attended and a few I-1 riders. It was pretty interesting, as it was basically exactly the same discussion that our Jr/YRs (and their parents) have on a regional level, only now on a much higher (national/international) level! The discussion boiled down to: fundraising and selection competitions and the size of this country. The meeting started with Debbie McDonald talking about wanting to clarify and/or specify the criteria for the Developing Rider program, as she feels the current criteria aren't picking out the caliber of riders/horses that have international potential. The discussion moved to how to find talented younger riders/horses and how to get the help they need. Then the discussion moved to financial issues. The Developing Rider program has been largely funded by Akiko (Steffen's sponsor), as many USEF programs have been cut due to budget cuts. Anne Gribbons talked about wanting to send some promising GP combinations to Europe next year, to get the US team European exposure, but several riders felt that those funds would be better spent developing combinations in our own country (which I tend to agree with).
The discussion then turned to next year's CDI schedule, and the sad lack of CDIs in California next year. It looks like we have about 5 or 6 in California next year (3 or 4 in So Cal). The California riders bemoaned the fact that there are so few, but the response from the High Performance committee was that the show managers have a hard time to fill them. According to the East coast riders, many riders on the East coast will enter them, just for the experience and to be part of the show. Therefore the classes are pretty large and the CDI can actually pay for itself. In fact, one GP rider complained about having too many CDIs in Florida! However, on the West coast, many riders are intimidated or unwilling to enter CDIs, so only the elite riders end up in the classes. As a result, the classes are small and the CDIs have a hard time making any money. Therefore fewer CDIs.
I rode Monk for the first time in the Main Arena today. He was a bit more tense and stiff today, I think both of us were intimidated by the atmosphere. I didn't think I would be intimidated, but riding in that arena for the first time was a little difficult! We'll ride in there the next couple days, so we can become comfortable with the atmosphere. Additionally that arena stays very warm and stuffy, because it is surrounded by (quite tall) trees on all sides it doesn't get any breeze at all. The outdoor arenas up by our tent stalls are on a hillside, and are much more open with better airflow.