Greetings from the GMHA Training and Novice 3-Day Event! SmartPak is a proud sponsor of both the GMHA and the Classic 3-Day Series, so it was the perfect blog storm when one of SmartPak’s own, Colby, qualified for the event with her horse Rudder, and Team SmartPak rider Allison Springer was also competing with Nancy Winter’s Connemara, Gold Dust Moon (“Dusty”). Add two more of the SmartPak crew to serve as grooms and SmartPak ambassadors (i.e., we get to hand out free stuff!) and it’s a veritable SmartPak fest up here in Vermont.
Rudder and Dusty both arrived today and the new neighbors got to know each other while we set up the stalls, waited for the in-barn vet inspection, and chatted with old friends. There are over 70 horses competing, and several of them spent time chatting with each other too, often at high decibels and with great gusto. Once the horses were settled and the SmartPak banner hung, we moseyed up to the Youth Center building for the Tuesday evening briefing.
GMHA has made the event more than just a competition – so in addition to the three phases, there are competitor briefings each evening with an expert panel of judges and trainers, opportunities to school parts of the endurance phase, and course walks with top-notch trainers. Tonight’s briefing featured Denny Emerson talking about why the classic three day is important; he gave everyone a good dose of history, and told some stories about crazy and not-so-crazy eventers from years past (some of whom were in the room!). We also heard about ways to improve our dressage scores (Round circles? Can’t hear THAT one enough!) and got general instructions for dressage day. Once we had our marching orders, we fed the horses dinner, and took off for OUR dinner – by that time, we were ravenous!
Our small group headed out to a terrific and much-anticipated meal in nearby Woodstock, where our scintillating topics of conversation included equine nutrition (of course!), changes in horses’ lifestyles over recent years, and whether the duck or the pork chop was the best dish at the table. A few hours later, we’re turning in, hoping for a good night’s sleep to get us ready for round one tomorrow – the first Jog-Up and Dressage.