smells like team spirit

The May one day is over!! Phew.

This year we ran like a well oiled machine, compared to last year’s steaming hot mess.  Holy crap we were a mess last May.  We were still decorating cross country at 9 PM on Friday night, and I didn’t even print out orders of go until 5 AM that morning.  What a difference a year (and several more shows’ worth) of experience makes.

when in doubt, add shrubbery

I’ve adopted cross country course decorations as my own personal mission.  It means I get to make the fences juuuust how I like them — which means lots of fun fences for BN/N.  It seems like a lot of effort gets put in to Training and Prelim fences, for safety reasons as much as appearances, and the intro fences at WSS always get a lot of attention because they are basically just a series of logs of slightly different heights, shapes, and textures.  So to keep it interesting we theme them.  But then BN and Novice seem to get a bit neglected… so I like to make some of their fences really fun.

flower stand!

It’s pretty emotional to watch those first few horses go out on course.  Especially since we run from Prelim down, to see those horses charging out and eating up the course… well, it definitely brought a tear to my eye.  As did watching a few friends at their first event with new baby horses.

Just beeswax, peppermint oil, and probably a little horse hair….

A post shared by Nicole Sharpe (@nicolegizelle) on

The other cool thing about working the events is getting to cozy up to officials!  I’m only half joking here.  There’s a ton to learn from eventing officials, and it’s so much fun to start to recognize them when you go places!  I’ve already learned a lot about how to make a fence easier to read or scarier just by the way we add flowers, as well as some little tidbits about measurement (did you know they measure jumps from 6ft out? so a fence can be shorter or taller than the height for the level at the base, as long as at 6 feet out it’s an appropriate height based on the level of the ground).  We also use a big ass drill to get those flowers in the ground.  It’s one of the best parts of flowering the course.


baby rolex jump for the BN course

And of course we can’t do it without the volunteers!  We’d literally be lost without them.  Hug your volunteers — you wouldn’t ever get out on course without them!

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