Katie Walker: Plenty to See and Do at Boekelo

Katie Walker is back with another installment in her guest blog for Boekelo. Katie is one of the owners in the Trading Aces Syndicate, and she’s traveled to the Netherlands this weekend to support Boyd Martin and the rest of Team USA. She’s also sits on the board for Plantation Field Equestrian Events and secures the sponsorships that keep the CIC event growing bigger and better every year. Many thanks to Katie for writing!

Katie, Boyd and Mike Laver

From Katie:

Hello again from Boekelo! I need to catch you up on the past two days, which started with shopping yesterday while the show grounds were still quiet — and before the rains came today! There were many things I would never find at home, so I bought them up, including red wellies and a Keepers tweed coat.

I took a look around the infrastructure of this event to see how the vendor fair is set up, and the attention to detail on everything is amazing — from the hospitality tents to the music during dressage tests to the floral decorations and landscape to the stabling bar and cappuccino shop. Even the porta potties are nice! I also had a visit with Ed Holloway up in the announcer’s booth, which is situated high in a tower with great view of the whole place. It was educational to see how it all fits together and works for all involved.

All was quiet at stabling, and Boyd did a course walk with David and the other Team USA riders late in the afternoon. He then got on Oscar for a few minutes to brush up on a few dressage moves with Silva coaching him. They both looked great. Mike Laver, the only other member of the Trading Aces Syndicate attending this event, arrived yesterday, so we hung out together and caught up.

The parties each night are completely insane, and they all take place at the venue in different areas every night. Thursday night was for sponsors, and each table had a Nations Cup team assigned to a corporate sponsor. Boekelo also announced awards for Best Groom and Best Turned Out Horse. The idea is to allow sponsors to meet up with best riders in the world. There are 21 nations represented at this event, so it’s a wonderful, diverse group, and sponsors seem to appreciate the one-on-one attention from riders.

The party was in a space that, once inside, you would never guess was a tent. The atmosphere was like being in Studio 54 — loud music from a live band; all kinds of colored disco lights all over the ceiling and room; free beer and wine being handed out on silver platters all night; and then, of course, brushing shoulders with the likes of Mark Todd and William-Fox Pitt — icing on the cake.

And then there was today; very raw would be the perfect description of today’s weather. Lauren Kieffer did her test this morning, and Boyd Martin and Trading Aces went today as well. I was happy to see that Nicklas Lindback from Sweden score an amazing 33 on his test to lead going into cross country tomorrow. I got to know him last month when he stayed with us in Unionville, Pa., and rode our horse Brewster in the CIC* at Plantation Field. Nicklas says he definitely plans to come back next year to the States and stay longer.

Boyd went third to last in the entire order of go, and by then the rain had taken its toll in the grass arena. He scored a 46 though, which is great considering the conditions. As we all dry out back at the hotel, we are looking forward to cross country tomorrow. They say this ground can really handle the rain, but I find that difficult to believe, and we are expecting much more overnight!

Editor’s Note: Katie is an avid — even notorious — fan of Corona, and I’m pleased to report that she’s branched out and embraced Grolsch, the local beer of choice and the main sponsor of the Nations Cup event here at Boekelo. Well done, Katie!

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