Yes, I went to The Event at Rebecca Farms in Kalispell, MT., last week (July 25-29, 2019), and I survived to tell about it. Of course, four plane flights, two shuttle rides, and 10 days out of my life were given up to this particular event, but there were so many great takeaways that it was well worth the trip.
I did not compete, but went in a support capacity for the Area II Young Riders squad, which included CCI2*-L riders, a CCIOY3* rider, and two Training Three-Day Event riders.
- First of all, to have an event reach “Destination Event” status, it must have no less than 1,645 portable toilets, and they must be sited in the background of every spectacular photograph you take.
- Horses who ship 30 to 40 hours are going to arrive tired, sore, and stiff, and are going to need care, experienced help to get un-stiff and in competition shape, and there’s a right way and a wrong way to get all of that accomplished in just a few days before a major championship competition.
- Golf cart arguments are always solved by losing the key.
- Walking helps you make friends and learn about different parts of the world of eventing. It helps you lose weight, too.
- Chapstick without sunscreen is useless.
- People are dumber than bears.
- Horses who really love what they do are incredible and deserve respect and the best care possible.
- Teenagers have a capacity for operating without sleep that is amazing.
- Finding your favorite pair of scissors on the last day of the event after losing them on the first day is like success/not success. You only needed them about 7,498 times.
- People who come to compete at Rebecca are serious campers. They know how to park all by themselves, don’t need no stinkin’ parking nazi, set up next to their stalls, get the awnings out, get the stalls bedded, get the grill set up and the motorbike out of the trailer before you get the first bite of your Montana Cristo sandwich at the food truck. I know. I watched this while I was in line.
- It stays light until after 10:00 p.m. so you tire long before it’s dark there, so why not walk your cross-country course at 9 p.m.?
- Wear a big hat during the day. It looks ridiculous but saves your face and eyes from wind and sunburn. Actually, some of the big hats I saw where quite beautiful!
- The Broussard family, the volunteers, and the officials were incredibly kind, welcoming, and fun to interact with throughout the competition. Having things take place over a week’s time gives everyone time and space to relax – a positive over the hurry-scurry of the east coast’s one-day events.
- Whoever does the scheduling at Rebecca is a flat-out Rhodes Scholar genius.
- The volunteers at Rebecca are Ah-Maze-Zing. They enjoy the farm, the sport, and the people and it shows.
- Kalispell has a Starbucks and a Panera Bread. Thank goodness.
- Mountains are beautiful.
- Eventing is a great sport everywhere. It’s even better when it’s at an incredible venue with people who love it, too.