Things are heating up - much more activity, more people have arrived. High energy. We had an incredibly hot day yesterday - probably close to 100 by afternoon, and very humid, almost no wind. I rode for about an hour and really felt it. Khruschev is handling it pretty well - though his pulses are slower to come down after we stop. Working pulse is fine - but once he stops moving I can really see the difference. We'll be using a lot of ice on this ride. The OC (organizing committee) will be furnishing all the riders with a 4WD rig, and the course is going to be basically a flat track, so we can expect to have the 4WD driving along beside us for the entire ride. (dust masks required!). Pretty different... I figure this is a good time to shuck all expectations and go with the flow - a new experience in Endurance. Sort of like riding outside of your region... :)

Last night we all went to the races at Nad al Sheba racecourse - courtesy of the UAE Racing and Equestrian Federation. Tables, buffet dinner, all the niceties of the Nad al Sheba Club. It was a little fancy for our tastes (a fashion show was going on in between races) - we were thinking it would be more fun over in the grandstands with the locals... But, a fun experience anyway.

The horses are looking great - and we are really enjoying each other's company at the barn - very open and friendly group of riders & crew. Mary Lutz (USET) is arriving today, and we'll also have a Chef d'Equipe (Art Priesz) for the event. There aren't any team divisions, but it's very good 'practice' for future WEC and PAC events. Bob Beecher is here as part of Kanavy's crew, but he's pretty much helping everybody at the barm - anybody that has problems or questions, or just wants some feedback on their horse. He has a most incredible toy - a thermal radiographic unit of some sorts - looks like a video camera, but the lense displays a thermographic image of whatever it is pointed at - basically pinpoints any areas of heat (inflamation) that may exist. Very cool. I think this is one of the most valuable aspects of competition at this level - the expertise of the individuals that are here to support the riders, and protect and manage the horses to their best ability. I have learned so much! Jaye Perry is also coming. He is also here courtesy of Kanavy's. The more I see Valerie (and Larry) in action, the more impressed I am. They are nuts and bolts level competitors - incredible detail in management, training, expediting, etc - but also very gracious and supportive of the entire USA (and Canada in this case) effort. They bring the best, and share it.

more later -

Steph Teeter