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A View from the Stands – Part 3

Out on the Course

The Pak is across the pond and the action is officially underway in London. In this blog series, SmartPakers Sarah and Colby will be sharing stories about the people they meet while watching the action live in the stands (and on the XC course) in Greenwich.

Today’s view from the stands is going to be a little bit different. Colby was seated with people she already knew, so she couldn’t really interview them, and I was running from fence 5 to 23 to the start and back, so I never stood next to the same person for more than a minute or two. But I did chat with a few people on my journey. Here’s the highlights:

Standing next to Fence 1, waiting for Karen O’Connor to start. The gentleman next to me is explaining eventing in great detail to his son, outlining how it’s like an equine triathlon, born out of military training, etc, etc.
Me: “Wow, you really know your stuff! Are you a rider?”
Him: “I served in the mounted unit in my police department back home in Italy.”
Me: “Can you tell me, in one word, what riding means to you?”
Him: “Pain.”
(It appears they don’t give out proper training when they give out the horses…)

Kneeling at fence 20 next to a very young girl and her patient but weary looking father.
Me: “Are you riders?”
Father: “No, but she’d like to be. She begged for tickets to see Zara and it’s all she’s talked about for a week.”
Me: “That’s fantastic! Here comes a horse now – should be Dirk Schrade.”
Daughter (facing complete opposite direction of jump): “I like this flower.”
Father: “Look, Mary, the horse is coming!”
Daughter: “I wish we had flowers like these at home.”
(Dirk jumps and is gone again)
(Dad looks like he might be regretting the ticket price) (I sheepishly smile and make my exit) The funny thing is, I know the dad doesn’t regret it for a second. Horse dads are great that way.

Standing at the moon jump (#7), waiting for Mary King. I’m about to ask Girl #1 to describe riding in one word.
Girl #2: “I think I just saw Prince William in the queue for the loo!”
Girl #1: “Unlikely.”
Girl #2: “You think he doesn’t have to wait in line?”
Girl #1: “I think he doesn’t pee in a blue plastic box.”

Me: “So, could you give me one word to describe riding?
Girl #1: Dies of embarrassment.

That’s all for today! Come back tomorrow to see who we met during stadium jumping (and maybe to learn more about Prince William. Who knows?!)

Stay up to date on the latest London happenings by following @SmartPakerSarah and @SmartPakerColby on Twitter!

Sarah Paull

Sarah Paull is a lifelong rider and SmartPak’s Brand Manager. You may know her better as the life-size foam finger from the London Olympics, the host of USEF Network’s Live from London coverage, or “that girl from the Stuff Riders Say videos.” Prior to joining SmartPak in 2008, Sarah worked as a Veterinary Technician at B.W. Furlong & Associates in Oldwick, NJ, and obtained her degree in Equine Science from Centenary College. Sarah is the proud mom of Cody, a semi-retired, 23-year-old Quarter Horse gelding, and she’s currently looking for an eventing partner to help her get rid of all the extra time, money and energy she doesn’t actually have :-) If you're interested in her often-horsey, always-odd musings, follow @SmartPakerSarah on Twitter.

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Posted in SmartPak Features, Stories & Adventures, Travel

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3 comments on “A View from the Stands – Part 3
  1. Catherine Paull says:

    So much love for all of this. Loving fathers, fickle children, best friends – and horses, of course!

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