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Darolyn's report- Pres Mill Race. Part I

<forwarding this message in 2 parts:>

-----Original Message-----
From: Darolyn Butler []
Sent: Friday, January 28, 2000 12:41 AM
To: ride camp
Subject: Pres Mil Race UAE

Hi Ride Camp,
Darolyn Butler here.  I sent the following day by day reports to my home
office when I recently attended the President's Millenium  competition in
Abu Dhabi.  After seeing some interest, questions and assumptions on it in
Ride Camp, I thought I might share my impressions with the rest of the
group.  Forgive grammer/short type... had limited time of my own & limited
hotel computer time as well.

At then end, I copied a couple of ride camp queries & answered them to the
best of my ability.  Hope this gives everyone an inside view.
 Jan. 14
Left in the afternoon on KLM to Amsterdam to Abu Dhabi... almost 40 hours of
travel time... whew!!!  Met the Bakers in Amsterdam, Christy & Ron Jansen
upon arrival in Abu Dahbi & went thru coustoms with them.
Jan. 18
Finally discovered where the business center is here in the hotel & have the
time to catch everyone up.  Its early afternoon on the 18th & we just
returned from the
barn/horses.  The quarantine barn, (where all 6 horses are, -including
Conquistador) is every bit of an adventuresome hour drive from the Hilton.
There are 9 of us staying here.  Becky & Mark Elliot, (who took care of the
horses in the U.S.), Nina Gibson, and her boyfriend, Duane Barnett DVM & btw
, head of the AERC Vet Committee, Steve & Betty Baker, x owners of Corky,
(the horse Sylvia Vaccari rode at Pan Am) and Michelle Ownes.  We are all
guests of either Sh. Tahnoun or Sh. Monsour as those two Shaikhs have either
bought or leased horses belonging to the above people.

We have two cars and drivers that pick us up when we request and take us to
the barn or wherever we desire to go.  The first day we were here we made an
afternoon trip to the barn and checked on the Quister.  Just walked him
around a nearby track.  Its a good size, kinda double track, but it is the
only place the quarantined horses can go. We went to a gold souk that nite
and shopped a bit.  Didn't buy anything... want to check prices a bit first.

The next morning we went out again, rode for a while. I had fairly new pants
on with leather patches on the knees (to prevent rubbing), never-the-less,
they  rubbed spots on both of my knees.  Now, desitin is my best friend 5
times a day trying to get it healed before next Monday.  That afternoon
Duane and Nina, Mark & were driven to Dubai where we met Dwight Hooten dvm,
then ran into Matt Frazier (almost DVM) as we took a tour of the "state of
the art" Vet hospital.  Then we hooked up with Dr. Jim Baldwin and he showed
us the stables, race track, and from afar, one of the palace/homes of Sheikh

Dinner that nite was down home as we ate at Kenny Rogers... hmmm not bad
actually. <gr>  Then a long 2 hour drive back to Abu Dhabi where we were
staying, near the horses & the race site.

Jan 19, we once again made the trek to the barn, walked the horses for an
hour, supervised new shoeing, rode for about an hour, talked to the farrier
about Quister forging... ugh (too many new shoeings since he left home)!
Then decided to wait a few days before trying to make any more changes.
Turns out Quister was shod with pads as soon as he arrived in Ga. (where he
was quarantined, then reshod again (without pads) just as he was sent here,
not much foot left.

Later, AsRaf, one of the assistants that has been assigned to us, took all
of the group to Dubhai again for a shopping tour in a huge bazar souk as
they call them.  Bought some interesting presents for everyone, including
the belly dancing outfit for Rima (as requested).  Cowboy Mark went ga-ga
over some antique guns they had in one shop & we found just all sorts of
stuff including the typical jewelry selections as well.

Exhausted from riding, shopping, driving (and still getting over jet lag) we
all collapsed upon our return.  One happy note... when we walked into
theroom last nite, Mark's hanging bag greeted us, it had been lost for 4
days.  Timely entrance as he had already bought one new shirt & we were
considering a full shopping trip...
ever try to find size 36/36 wranglers in the UAE???   Also, that's the bag
that my (present) videos were in, so luckily we are not meeting with our
(Monsour) until this afternoon.  WE'll present them then I hope.

Some of the group is in a bit of a panic because we haven't met with any of
our higher ups yet.  I'm sure everything will work out.  Its a bit of a
quandry, as obviously we are riding UAE horses, but riding for the US.   The
Sheikh still wants Michelle to ride, (in fact he has requested that she ride
Corky).  That means his past owner, Betty, is on the ground.  Betty is not
to happy, so we are waiting until the AHSA speaks or Art Priez arrives on
the 21st to sort this thing out.  Obviously, things are not without
political overtones here.

We are not really in the "American Camp" (but we are), and we're not really
in the UAE camp either, (but we are).  If you are confused.... we are too.
As you know, we didn't bring a ton of supplies over.  Supposedly this will
all turn up on race day (from the Shaikh's supplies), so we are holding our
breath a bit.  Glad we brought our own electrolytes, as they don't appear to
have the ones we all prefer.

Corky had a bit of a tightening up problem this AM, so that brings to 4, of
the 6 horses that have now had problems.  I'm holding my breath, but so far
Quister appears to be relishing the attention and adjusting to stable life
quite well.  He has that silly big happy rabbit face on all the time.

Speaking of silly animals... this AM enroute to the barn we stopped and saw
a group of about 50 camels that are in a market area.  Tiny new babies, all
the way up to the big mamas.  We were able to walk about with them and kinda
pet them (if you were brave enough) & didn't get bitten.  Took lots of
pictures and video tape.  That was a hoot!!!!

When we drive to the barn we have to drive right by the camel race track.
There are always no less that 50 or so of them out being exercised with
their little tiny boy jockies & colorful blankets on.  It's considered
winter here, so all the camels have their little blankies wrapped around
them.  In fact, we bought some of them the other day & will bring them home.
The blankets, not the camels.)  They have the tiniest little boys on their
backs, (sometimes wearing hard hats).  Interesting sight.  Quister has still
not met his first camel.... we must do that before ride day.  They said we
will probably see
them on course race day.

We were told over lunch that vehicles will be running beside us during the
race handing us water bottles.... that's great news... won't even have to
carry my fanny pack.  I'm really worried about my weight... the sheikhs have
a real "weight thing".... that's why they use thes wintechs instead of good
weight distributing saddles.  Many of their horses have sore backs.  Go
figure.  They have lowered the min. weight to 155 now.... why didn't I start
that diet earlier???  (Actually-two days before race time we found out that
it was actually 165 lbs.... whew!!)

Well... closing for now... must be ready to go out and met either Sheikh
Taknoun or Monsour or both, this afternoon.  Really looking forward to it.
Cowboy is loving it over here.  Lots of good food.... when we stop to eat.
Saving me a fortune just not having to feed him for 12 days.  <gr>  He's
already teasing the assistants and gets along with all the natives as good
as usual.

Jan 20 (regarding eve of Jan 19)
Left the hotel about 4 to go to Shaikh Tahnoon's compound.  & here are 7
reasons to race in Abu Dhabi.... After we got by the guards at the very
impressive gate we saw (7) a very innovative 4 mile race track... figure 8s
& little offshoots so U don't get too bored training in an oval, (6) a nice
office (understatement (5) large garage type building housing their aqua
treadmills, (meaning the horse loads, the tub if filled with water and he
works the treadmill while walking thru water. (4) Another large garage with
3 huge treadmills, (at least 30 feet in length).  (3) Three barns full of
his 100 plus horses.  They are top endurance horses and prospects from all
over the world.  2) a good size tent type building furnished with oriental
carpeting and three walls lined with low couches, and of course an oversized
tv screen. <gr>  and the
#1 reason to be in UAE --- TOM IVERS....
yep got to meet and chat with "the man" of literary and ride-camp fame. What
a treat.  We just found out he is staying at our same hotel, so I'm dying to
get to visit with him some more.

After we toured the horses & the race track we retired to the "tent" for tea
and visiting.  Same ole same ole endurance chatter.... training,
electrolytes, tieing up, thumps, age of mounts, etc. etc.  Then we whizzed
down to the track again to watch the recovery of the group of horses that
had been training that evening.  Of course everyone is mounted with state of
the art Heart Monitors... but many sore backs as they are all training with
wintecs.... hmmmm.

AFterwards, the Sheikh invited us back to the "super tent" for dinner.
Ohmygosh!!!   Enough to feed a small army... chatted with the Kanavy's today
and they explained it... If U run out of food, one must kill their best mare
for more.... no chance of that last nite.  Even Cowboy Mark couldn't even
taste all the dishes that were served.  I wished I hadn't eaten all day...
Didn't even make a dent in what was put on my plate.  And of course we all
had to remove our shoes and the meal was served on the floor, where most of
us sat cross legged, & others of us just sort of laid out. <gr>  Bad knees
and crosslegged sitting doesn't work so well.  I'm not sure who had the
hardest time getting up, Tom Ivers or Cowboy.

We went over the ride organization a bit.  As I knew, Quister & I will be
riding (for the U.S. of course), but on Sheikh Monsiur's horse & Team,  So
will Nina Gibson on her horse "Goat".  The others will be under Tahnoun's
flag.  We are actually quarantined at Sheikh Monsiur's compound, where he's
building his own private zoo.  Its under construction, but still quite
impressive.  We were told that each rider would have its own car to run
along beside and hand us bottled water as we raced.  We are supposed to have
at least two to three people assigned to us as crew.  Becky and Mark Elliot,
(who wanted to ride, but were not granted permission from the AHSA) are here
I'm hoping they will help us too, as I wasn't to impressed with the crewing
I saw last nite at the practice track.

Sheikh admitted he really doesn't expect too much of the horses that were
just brought over.  He thinks they have to be here a few months & acclimate
to be able to do well.  I'm hoping since Quister is coming from the heat and
humidity he will be an exception.  BTW... he feels good and is training

I think from a few things he implied that he is basically hoping all these
new horses will run out as "rabbits" affording his other top trained horses
to come along and finish better when the rabbits "crash".  Interesting

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