I went and volunteered a bit at the big HT on Saturday. While I was super sad to not be riding, I still had a blast!
I helped TPR horses at the vet box for the T3D - a vet that I work with (super, super nice) asked me if I would help since I wasn't riding so of course I jumped at the chance. I got there bright and early, first thing we went to go see a horse that had been injured overnight. Turns out his owner didn't close the stall door and only left the stall guard up, so her gelding got out and a stallion several rows down ripped his stall apart and got out and the two horses got into it. The gelding had a lot of trauma to his hind legs, and later a large amount of swelling on his chest. Unfortunately, he may have tendon damage, possibly even a small fracture. The stallion made it out unscathed, so it was an interesting lesson in liability for both parties (and me). I'm not sure I would ever want to own a stallion.
There were only 6 entries in the T3D, sadly. Hopefully they continue to offer this since I plan on someday doing it and I don't want to have to go all the way to Galway Downs or Rebecca Farms to do a 3-Day. It was neat to see the different horses' level of fitness and recovery and see their "pit crew". The only person that was eliminated wasn't as well prepared as some groups, though it was good experience for her, especially since it was her first year doing this I believe. Her horse pulled the same shoe twice and even after resetting the shoe, he didn't trot sound. Even though she was obviously very disappointed, both her and everyone else was super nice. I had been told that people might be a bit snippy because you have to stop the horse to do the TPR and most people want to walk their horse out the whole time (though it only takes 30 seconds) and that they'll be ready to move on to the next phase, but there was not one rude person in the whole bunch.
The most prepared group had two sets of everything - extra crops, extra bridles (with a stronger bit if needed), extra boots, even extra shoes that had already been fitted to the horse and had studs installed. I was very impressed and taking notes for what to do when I do a 3-Day someday!
Since we finished early, we then got to watch the Intermediate group go. Wow! I think that those jumps are a bit too big for my tastes... I think Preliminary is plenty big for me and I just hope that one day I can get up to that level! I got to watch KO go with two horses (I've never seen her compete before, and was not surprised that she was such an awesome rider) and also saw DR go, who I had taken a xc lesson from a couple weeks ago. It was really fun to watch.
And of course afterwards I browsed the vendors (and managed not to buy anything). And guess who was there? Voltaire! I am totally in love with all of their products, and was just recently lamenting to myself that I won't ever get to see their products in person (they aren't on the west coast all that much), but they had a booth there. I really want one of their 5-point breastplates someday. And some custom boots. The guy was trying to get me to buy some, but I told him that I would someday! When I can afford $1500 boots, if ever.
Overall, a great day, it just made me love eventing more and I can't wait to actually compete next time around!