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Biltmore still

>> People being told the wrong way to go:  I overheard quite a number >
of people > complaining about the spotter who was parked in front of the
marker > and > directing them to go the wrong way.

OK, as the "official" FIRST person to have the great idea of taking the
WRONG way, I'll tell what I saw.  No, there wasn't a car in front of the
marker.  I came around the curve on a dirt road and up ahead was a house
with a driveway on my side of it with a large tree in the corner of the
yard (didn't really look this over till I came back trying to see where
I'd gone wrong).  Up ahead, PAST the driveway in the front yard the
spotters were by the road, at least 3 or 4 of them with clipboards asking
for our numbers as soon as we got in sight. I looked right past the red
arrow about 3' off the ground on the tree and focused on them.  The dirt
road we were on continued on past the house, but a trail turned off to
the left with a stake with a very visible red arrow pointing left onto
the trail.  There was a white plate with it that said, "Red 2 miles to
camp".  I thought it was too soon to be 2 miles from camp, that it would
mean the loop was really shorter than advertised, but hey, sometimes the
manager throws you a bone and gives you a short loop.  I take it when I
can get it. I did not ask directions. Nobody gave me directions.  I
called out my number, noticed the arrow pointing me towards the trail
said " Red 2 miles to camp" and looked carefully up the road to see if
another arrow directed me onward.  Of course there wasn't one since I was
supposed to have turned at the driveway 10 yards  *before* I got to the
spotters.  There was no reason whatsoever for them to be past the turn
since we were going to be coming in from the same direction again after
the loop.  

 Though I can't say I was sent the wrong direction by the spotters,
apparently Val was behind us and  saw the arrow, asked didn't she need to
go that way and they told her she could go get some water, but she HAD to
come back, so she was stopped from going the correct way.  The weird
thing is, before we came along, approximately 10 riders had turned the
correct way so the spotters had apparently thought it was fine for
awhile.The way I figure it, they probably thought I looked a lot smarter
than Stagg so they had everyone follow my lead. >eg<  I find it hard to
think it was a conspiracy when there were 3 or 4 spotters involved. 
People aren't that good at keeping secrets...unless...maybe...the were
REALLY well disguised agents from another country...who looked just like
my 65 year old Aunt Sybil and Uncle Kenneth >g<

> came up on their horses screaming for which way and before spotter >
could tell them
> they went off in the wrong direction.  

That wasn't us, nobody screaming...just calling out numbers in a very
orderly fashion.  However, it wouldn't have been so darned easy to take
the wrong turn if they'd have stood by the right one.

> I heard of one person who could have raced for first 
> (50) but he was told that the> AERC race and the FEI race was totally
different race therefore they > didn't need to 
> race.  So he didn't. 

That's stupid.  I've got news for everybody.  We were ALL open riders. 
We are ALL AERC members.  We ALL want those year end points, jackets (or
throws), miles and are probably nominating for the AERC National
Championship since it's in the East.  Sounds like a pretty lame sour
grapes excuse to me.

he was only 
> doing the AERC race so I guess it didn't really matter.


> I heard a lot of "If I don't finish up front it does not count", "a 
> last place finish is still  last place", "outside of top ten, I might
as well not even ride".

Sure, that's why they got back on their horses at midnight to ride the
last 8.5 miles to get last place.  Sounds like somebody who was in
another part of the country who's guessing what it was probably like.  I
was on the trail, I probably rode with everybody from 1st through 16 at
least (as they each passed me) and talked to people the whole weekend.  I
never heard ONE person mention wanting to win, or place.  Just finish! 
It's Biltmore, the completion rate is 50% or so.  There were 28 horses in
USA East entered.  Half finished.  All we had to do was finish to get a
BUNCH of points, and believe me, were were thinking completion,
completion, completion!  I saw the exact same behavior I always see on
the trail.  Polite, sharing of water, easyboots, advice, etc.  Most of us
figure it'll be a trick to have 18 sound horses who can perform at this
level available come August.  Nothing cut throat...just a bunch of AERC
riders in borrowed polo shirts.  

My biggest concern about the whole affair is that someone could have
died.  Honestly, think about it. You've got 200 people at a vet check
staring towards the arrival gate and Angie McGhee shows up leading the
Biltmore FEI AERC SERA IAHA 100.  It's a wonder 2 or three people didn't
have a heart attack right there.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to
go out to the barn and scoop my FEI horse's poop, which is still poop,
not golden eggs or anything. >g<


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