Thursday, January 08, 2015

Dubai: A Good Crew is Crucial to Success - Kat Irvine

From Kat Irvine’s journal of her adventure at the Al Maktoum Cup in Dubai

January 6 - It's 3:05 AM, Jan 6 here right now. I normally wake up for a few minutes at this time of the morning. Share a few thoughts with you and go back to sleep. This morning I woke up with the realization that the dream will take a different turn today. The crews will be landing 8:15 PM Jan 7. Hopefully they get through customs as fast as we did. If they don't it might be an hour or so for them to get through. Once they do they'll come directly to the Meydan Hotel. There is some confusion as to whether there will be arrangements to pick them up so today we'll have to find out for sure so at least we can have one of our drivers pick them up. It's a 20 minute drive from the airport to the hotel. They'll arrive just in time to settle in from their rooms, hopefully go back to sleep because Jan 8, two days before the race we'll have an impossible schedule starting with a meeting with the horses. Most of the crew have never met these horses.

This is going to be the test of a "professional" crew. Our crew people are already a unit as they've done this job together many times.

This will especially show up at the vet checks. The vet checks will be short, four of them from 35-40 minutes with one 50 minute one before the last loop. The riders will have no time to look after horses. When the horse comes over the timing line the crews will take over the horse and rider will be whisked away for a bit of a break.

Meanwhile the other crew members will have swarmed the horse, pulled off the saddle and cooled with gallons of cool, or even cold water depending on ambient temperatures, made sure heart rate is down and stable , taken to the vet, examined, trotted out for lameness, brought back to the rest area for a few minutes and 10 minutes before we are to leave, saddle the horse in time for us riders to leave on time.

This is where absolute trust of the crews come in. It's in the best interest of the rider to give up his horse and look after himself. It's in the best interest of the horse for the rider to look after himself. This is a hard thing to do on both counts.

The people we have chosen as crew are multitalented, educated and have had years of endurance experience. They know the drill, they know stresses can come from anywhere - from a cranky rider to mistake in paperwork. They are physically fit. Running after horses with a big water bottle in each hand requires some muscle and wind. They will have to deal with jet lag, moving in to new digs and getting to know our horses. They'll have to take the time to learn how our tack goes on, what our horses eat and their particular quirks. They'll have to move gear out to the crewing and rest areas and go to a couple of events where they will have to "dress nice". Someone will have to be well informed enough and eloquent enough to deal with press.

Yep, we have the dream team crew - we so hope to do you proud.

To see more of Kat’s adventures and the Al Maktoum Cup, see

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