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[RC] Nick Warhol Convention Report and Zayante Speech, p 1 of 2 - Nick Warhol

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Hi Everyone- Judy and I just returned from the convention in Beautiful, Downtown Chattanooga.  Yeah, it's a long plane flight and drive from California, but it was worth it.  We really had a great time.  It was indeed smaller than when in Reno, but I think being smaller even made it a little more personal.  There was a decent contingent there from the west, we sort of hung out together when we could.  Jackie Bumgardner came out with Judy and I, Becky Glaser came and attended a few international selection meetings, Robert and Melissa Ribley (Robert's on the board), Alexandra North came to pick up her truckload of awards- she got First in the West in her division, the War Mare Award, something for Pioneer, all sorts of goodies for her amazing mare Butter Bea.  Jan Jeffers (also on the board), Mike Maul, also on the board, who's the new VP, who used to be in the Central, or somewhere, then the west, but now is in the PS, I think.  The guy moves all over the place.  John Park, on the board, from the PS, Terry Woolley Howe, on the board and a pretty funny person, from the PS, Nancy Elliot the vet from our area, Of course the legendary Becky Hart, who gave a great talk on B, B, MB, and BR.  (That's breathing, balance, more balance, and better riding), My co-ride manager buddy Kathy Campbell, Saddle expert extraordinaire Becky Glazer, (The other Becky Glaser almost got all of Becky Glazer's great Reactor Panel saddles delivered to her room.)  Sorry if I missed anyone, the beer in Tennessee is just fine, thank you.
The speakers were all very good, and the rooms were full.  I got to meet the infamous Angie McGhee, who I can kind of relate to, since she likes to write stuff about endurance horses, and has a very silly sense of humor.  She gave a very funny talk, even if I had to work to understand some of them thar words, y'all.  Is it just me, or does everyone east of Nevada talk slower than me?  And yes, you guys back there don't know what a mountain is,  but I'll agree, that we in the west don't know what a river is.  Remember- in Nevada, where I grew up, moving water qualifies as a river, standing puddles is a stream, and moist sand is a creek.  Susan Garlinghouse gave a good talk on nutrition.  I love it when she says what she thinks, and does not mind saying what some people might not want to hear.  Good, honest stuff.  Nancy Loving's talk on injuries was good, although I did have to look away at some of those slides.  Yuck.  She's right, it was valuable to look at that stuff for education, but man, I thought I have seen some gruesome pictures.  Becky Hart gave the room a lesson on how to relax, and had everyone doing actual exercises.  That was some training session, getting a few hundred people to do what she wanted.  Good job, Becky! 
We attended some meetings that were valuable, and I sat in on some of the board meetings to get a chance to see how they operate.  Those guys deserve everyone's support, that's not an easy job. 
But of course, the highlight for me of the weekend, and hey, the whole year, was to be able to get up there in front of everyone and present the hall of fame horse award to Jackie.  He's an amazing horse, and is very deserving of the award, as is Jackie.  I probably talked too fast, as is my custom, but no matter what anyone heard, I sure enjoyed doing that.  Thanks again to Steph and the selection committee for that honor.
I have had several people ask me to reproduce my little "speech",since they could not be there,  so here goes.  Fire up your imagination, you are sitting in a big room at the hotel in Tennessee, there are hundreds of endurance riders all around you, the awards are almost over, (and you can finally get some sleep), then I stumble up to the podium......
"I'd like to start by thanking Steph for the privilege, and honor, of introducing the 2002 AERC Hall of Fame horse.  I was the one who nominated this character for the award, and had it been at all possible, I would love to have brought him out here with us, so you could all meet him.  It might have been a challenge at the airport, but heck, with this horse?  I could have just ridden him here, all the way from California.  This horse would have liked that!"
"The Hall of fame.   Every horse that does endurance is special, but the hall of fame is for that select few, that really go the extra mile, excel at what they do, and achieve great accomplishments in our sport.   And that is exactly what this year's winner has done.  He's a special horse.  One thing that makes him so special is his mysterious background.   When this horse got started, no one knew anything about him.  No one knew where he came from, his breeding, his age, nothing.  All anyone knew was that he was this incredibly beautiful, show ring quality looking, snow white gelding, that most certainly had some Arabian in him, and that he absolutely had one serious attitude."
"But this horse, he got lucky.  He ended up landing into what has to be one of the greatest endurance households that has ever been.  This would be the home of my personal endurance heroes, Julie and Bob Suhr.   (Pause)  And let me tell you,  When Julie Suhr, says that this is the greatest endurance horse she has ever ridden,  THAT is saying something!"    (COntinued on next message)