Seventh week in Germany (Team Tate Groom Marina Lemay)

With next week seeing the arrival of the October Elite Auction horses, these last few days have been quite mellow. Perhaps to let us get some rest before the craziness unfolds once more! I’m loving the auctions, here, because they’re so riveting and I end up learning something new every day, but a little bit of down-time never hurt anyone! We’ve enjoyed many half days lately and I’m certainly going to miss these long lunch breaks when I head back to home! With all of this free time on my hands, I’ve decided to, once again, explore around a bit and try to discover some fun foreign tidbits. For starters, I’ve noticed that most of the arenas here have a watering system that isn’t like most of what I’ve seen in the US.

Indoor_water_webA scheme of metal beams runs across each arena’s ceiling space, with a motorized pipe being slowly inched down the long side. Small valves spray down a shower of water as it moves, leaving every inch of footing dampened. No annoying puddles or violent jet-gun sprinklers here! German ingenuity hasn’t ceased to amaze me during my time here. In fact, another resourceful design that I mentioned in my first blog post are the awesome German trailers. Or, floats, as they sometimes call them. Böckmann is the brand of choice for just about everyone and their mother and you’re likely to see them everywhere, often being towed by a Mercedes stationwagon or, alternately, a Ford Fiesta! If you’re not hauling a two-horse bumper-pull, most Germans seem to like large vans.

The compact 2-horse trucks are popular, with a nifty tack-room in the back (the horses load from the side) and the option to add a small trailer hitched to the back of it, but the big trainers tend towards huge rigs with luxurious living quarters and oodles of storage space (my inner OCD loves it.) Brands like Fiat, Man and Mercedes are what I’ve seen a lot of, and most can accommodate six to ten horses. Lorry_webI’ve even see some trucks have a mechanized system that loads your tack trunk for you in a massive hidden compartment. Clearly, they know how to travel in style. In fact, they also know how to horse show pretty darn well. From the few venues I’ve been to so far, I’ve noticed a clear pattern in how Europeans seem to operate during competition weekends. They’ll all arrive in droves on a Friday, park their rigs in a cramped parking lot, and have fun little barbeques in the evenings! On Sunday afternoons, everyone’s gone in a flash, leaving in a massive caravan of pure efficiency. Black_horse_webNeedless to say, there are a few things I wish we could implement into our American way of horse showing! As for the Verband, there’s only one thing I wish they’d consider changing, and that’s investing in a leafblower! 😉 Sweeping the entire grounds of the facility daily is quite the undertaking, even for a large staff!