Team Challenge and the Case of the Missing Cell Phone

I’m still in denial that our show season is about to end. I’m not quite ready to admit defeat to Carhartts and thick socks. Indiana produces some wicked cold temps, and while I’m stubborn enough to get in that 10-minute bareback ride before hypothermia sets in, I’m not happy that it’s about to come to that.

I would like to tell a story about a recent happening at Hagyard Midsouth Three-Day Event & Team Challenge H.T, held at the Kentucky Horse Park annually in October. Team Challenge is a great show. It’s like a Pony Club Rally, except there aren’t any people walking around in khakis and straw hats judging your every move. That and you’re allowed to have beer. Disclaimer: National Examiner here, I heart Pony Club ….

Due to unfortunate circumstances, Lyric and I ended the show with a big fat E. He had a few confidence rattling jumps in the beginning of the cross country course, and God love him, he just petered out. We will get it next time.

For confidentiality purposes, I will protect the names of the innocent. My Team Challenge Team was a fun group. We had a nice variety of horses and riders and we were determined to have a good time. My story begins as we were about to set off on a course walk. One of my teammates, we will call her “L” discovered she had lost her cell phone. Now “L” is a pretty cool person. She comes from a jumper background, but ventured to the dark side and has stuck around. She’s a fantastic rider and has nice horses. She is however, at least at horse shows, like herding a group of attention deficit kittens through a maze of catnip. Glorious catnip.

“L” announces she has lost her phone. OK, let’s call it. So I do. Twelve times. Nothing. We look through the tack room. Nothing. Tack trunks. Nothing. Pockets. Nothing. Stall. Nothing. Then it happens. “L” states that she went to the bathroom before changing into breeches for dressage. She thinks maybe it fell out of her back pocket into the abyss of the Port-O-Let. “L” decides to course walk and let it go.

But then she changes her mind, and she asks me to follow her, which I do, because I’m a good person. The next chain of events is something I will never forget.

“Come with me.”

“Ok, what are you doing?”

“I’m going to see if my phone fell in the toilet.”

“Um … ok.”

“Stand here and hold the door, or just come in.”

“I’m not going in there with you.”

“Don’t get your phone out and record any of this.”

So I stood there, looking back and forth, and the front of the barn aisle, hoping no one would see me holding the door of the Port-O-Let. But then it got worse. “L” leaves me to go back to her stall and comes at me with an applepicker.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m going to try and find my phone.”

“Please don’t.”

“Just hold the door.”

But there was no going back. “L” went in. She tried head first. Discouraged, she realized that wasn’t going to work — square applepicker, round toilet seat. She’s pretty smart, so she only tried for a few minutes. Then she flipped it around, and despite my pleading, she did it. Stuck the handle of her applepicker in the blue water and went spelunking. I stood there in amazement. I’ll admit, as a paramedic, I see lots of things, and this made me cringe.

Convinced she was not finding anything worth retrieving, “L” went back to her stall and PUT HER APPLEPICKER RIGHT BACK IN THE MUCK BUCKET LIKE NOTHING HAPPENED.

“Please throw that away.”

“I just touched the dry paper.”

“Not ok.”

I then proceeded to tell everyone on my team not to borrow “L”s applepicker, or give her a high five any time soon. After another 30 seconds, “L” remembered she had stacked some of her 57 saddle pads on a chair, that may have contained her cell phone at one time. Shockingly enough, there it sat, dry and lacking excrement juice, its sound having been muffled by the copious amounts of equine accessories stacked upon it.

“L” then, trying to make the situation better, tells us that she has disinfected the handle with alcohol. Alcohol. Team member “S” suggests bleach. I suggest if she uses alcohol, she also needs to use fire. Or even just fire would be fine.

“L” proceeded to continue about her weekend like nothing happened. Luckily, she told the story to her family, who called their physician friend, who told “L” that the applepicker needed to go. I did not get a confirmation picture of the applepicker in a dumpster, so I’m skeptical.

The rest of my team had a fantastic weekend. I stayed and cheered them on the next day for stadium. If you ever get the chance to meet “L”, ask her about the cell phone incident, also don’t use her applepicker.