North American Vaulting Team Best in the World
USA Wins Gold for the First Time Ever
They get through a lot of shit
Equestrian vaulting is a little known sport that for decades has been led by Europeans. This past weekend, the composite F.A.C.E. American team scored big at the 2010 World Equestrian Games held for the first time in the United States.
The Americans used the Kentucky home-field advantage to win their first team gold medal. Led by California’s Devon Maitozo (35) of Woodside, Calif., the team consisted of Blake Dahlgren (26) of Santa Clarita, Calif.; Mary Garrett (20) of Seal Beach, Calif.; Emily Hogye (14) of Ben Lomond, Callif.; Mari Inouye (27) of Redwood City, Calif.; Rosalind Ross (20) of Aptos, Calif.; and Annalise VanVranken (18) of Mays Landing, N.J. Their horse, Palatine, a 12-year-old Westphalian gelding, was lunged Carolyn Bland of Agoura Hills, Calif.
The two week event was not without a lot of poop. And the Americans fell victim in the first round to horse jitters caused by television camera noise and a bousterous crowd.
In India they call it gobar. Mexicans say popo. The French word conjures a ripe cheese: bourrin. At the World Equestrian Games in Lexington, keeping manure, road apples or horse turds from piling up in stalls, show rings and practice areas and getting on the shoes of about 500,000 visitors, scores of employees, competitors, state troopers and volunteers — not to mention 1,400 horses — has been no small operation.
According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, if each of the 1,400 horses competing at the games or appearing at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Equine Village produces 50 pounds of crap in a 24-hour period, somebody must remove 70,000 pounds of the stuff on each of the 16 days of international competition.
Mixed with the straw and wood shavings from stalls, the accumulated bourrin is enough to fill four to five 40-cubic-yard dumpsters per day.
The job hasn’t overwhelmed the Horse Park’s experienced crew, said Royce Blevins, assistant director for construction, maintenance and planning where 2,400 horses recently stayed for a long weekend featuring hunters and jumpers. That event generated far more gobar per day.
To stay ahead of the mountains of poop, a contractor deploys a dozen workers who arrive around midnight to scoop manure and stall muck from collection areas beside each barn. Grooms assigned to care for each horse are responsible for “picking” the keutels, as the Dutch call them, loading them into tubs and wheeling them to the barnside dumps each day.
“During the day, that place fills up,” Ron Souza said, pointing to a half-filled cinder-block enclosure beside Barn 1 at the Equine Village. “Then in the morning it’s gone.”
Souza is event coordinator for the Arizona Mini Mystique, a miniature horse drill team. At about 30 inches tall, his horses produce droppings the size of ping pong balls.
“The poop ratio is about a fifth what a large horse does,” Souza said proudly.
You’d think a draft horse’s daily droppings would fill a whiskey barrel, but they don’t, observed Larry Hammons, who gives horse-drawn tours at the park.
“They don’t go as often,” he said, “but when they go, they go more.”
The equestrian sport of vaulting has a new Team Gold-medalist–the F.A.C.E. Vaulters of the United States. In a move that will forever change the interest level of the sport in the U.S., a sold-out crowd witnessed as the first ever Team Gold was won on a freestyle score of 8.779 and a final composite of 8.029.
Austria finished second and Switzerland won the Team Bronze.
Report by Max’s Scout Services and Communications, LLC