Saturday, September 10, 2022

People & Places BFest 2022


I promised a post on people & places at BFest.  Most of these pix are impromptu and previously unseen.  Here you will find some of the friends I was so glad to see, places I have not shot before, and, of course, horses both live and model.  I am trying to document, rather haphazardly, my BFest, which was so unlike any of those that have gone before... recalling that I am a veteran of 29 BreyerFests, including the first.  I should lay these pix out chronologically; but instead, I'm going to start at the KHP on Friday morning.  Such haphazardness is truly indicative of the overall spirit of this year and captures pretty well how I felt.

I got onto the KHP grounds each morning by walking.  Not through the famous gate, but by the Rolex pond dam road, which was held by a single distracted guard against cars.  All I had to do was stroll over to the United States Dressage Federation headquarters and photograph its beautiful bronze sidepasser [above].  If the guard saw me, she didn't react.   I had paid for my ticket like everybody else.

Rolex Lane, facing the parking lot

Between the Federation headquarters and the lane, there is a lovely lawn, with a charming little cottage-looking house in amongst the trees.  For some reason this scene strongly reminds me of family vacation places in northern IL (Channel Lake) and central MO (Lake of the Ozarks).

There are many ways onto the KHP.  In the course of the weekend I would converse with others who did not pass through the "official" BreyerFest gate, but came in on foot by various roads.  On Saturday this habit would deliver me to the Special Run tents forty minutes ahead of time -- early enough to get chased off by BF officials.  On that day I discovered some classes being held in the Rolex, and was drawn like a magnet.

Carrying a camera around your neck is a grand way to get closer to the arena.  Even better, the hour was early enough that there was nobody around.  That was my primary goal anyway.
There has been a time in my life when this kind of action would've compelled my most focused attention.  I love a harness pony!  I'm afraid I don't recall whether this was the winner.
Oh, what lovely harness!  :)

I'm going to go back to earlier in the week now, and start with my arrival on Monday.  To actually be there, in person, in KY, was almost overwhelming.  I have shot this view many times over the years, capturing, one by one, our cars; this time it was Moxie's turn.

See the pair of second-floor windows just left of center?  That was where I had my eyrie.  The first thing you do is put a horse in the window,... and make it visible.
Upon arrival my first real encounter was Teresa Rogers, whom I had never met.  Fellow blogger!  We stood on the asphalt, properly masked, and talked.  Over the course of the week, my defenses evolved to the point where, had I the chance to talk with her there again, I would not have masked.  Yes, this whole post is an emergence story.

I spent an ungodly amount of time (days!) worrying about where to visit with Eleanor on Wednesday.  All for naught.  Jennifer P. showed me the perfect place.  This partially-caught photo can be put down to nerves and shyness (I'd last seen her in 2020);  afterwards, it reminded me of the famous book jacket portrait of Terry Gross ("All I Did Was Ask").

Caroline was, surprisingly, an easier target.   (Kim BT evaded, I'm not sure how.)
Among many wonderful things to come out of this meeting was learning how to post FB pictures with my cell phone.  Thank you, Eleanor.  Two years is too long.

A place that hadn't always existed, but which came to be exceedingly useful, was this corridor:

It ran from the base of the 500-600s wing to the corner of the Paddock, and at the end a side door led outside.  Now you were at the Outback, ("the north side of the 300s") practically at the other side of the hotel;  you had completely skipped the central area and the 100s.  The cold white lighting and scarcity of people made it look haunted, and I started thinking of it as the Science Fiction hall.  I wound up using the SF hall quite a lot.  For example, I used it to quickly reach Paola Groeber's room in the 400s:
She is another great hobbyist I'd never met.  At least these ships didn't quite pass in the night--!

I regret I didn't get a shot of Heather M.  Visiting her was a milestone in terms of companionship, tackmaker-hood, and emergence from covid-fear.  That really was the first time I was unmasked inside (tho not the Clarion; another hotel), in the presence of another (who was not family [but should have been!], for the entire afternoon.  Our visit took place on Tuesday, the same day I was shooting the Coldstream Campus rather obsessively.  Other blog posts record this indulgence :) but here are a couple more:
Heather knows how to comfort you when you've cracked your first cell phone screen.

Wednesday evening saw me take another small step, literally across the hall.  Someone new was there, Danielle Feldman, a truly wonderful friend (and customer!).  In the course of that lovely visit, I learned to sit still in someone else's room with the door open, while strangers wandered in and out.  (Recall I could not do this with my own room.)  Danielle helped tremendously by masking.  In the course of BFest I would make her a gift of a white KN95 with gold bling on it.  Yea, it's just these small steps that mark my path back towards normalcy.  Two almost-strangers entered, Danielle introduced us, and one said, "Oh we know YOU! the LEGEND!!"  I hid my face in my hands -- I didn't know them from Adam.

Thursday was a transition day.  All days were, of course, but this one more than most.  On the one hand:  Of course I hall-crawled, this was BreyerFest, what did he expect??!?  I went out, I plunged through crowds (none of them fully masked), I stuck my head & sometimes my body into strange rooms, I even spoke to strangers.

On the other hand:  Every trip out was planned.  (Very early Tues reconnaissance of doors helped!)  I kept them short and they had definite targets:  Paola Groeber's room for Bond tack, 143 for stickers.  The Resin Show to give gifts to Jackie Arns and Jennifer Buxton.  Over the course of the day it became obvious I had bought the line, Just wear your mask and carry on as normal.  As much as 30% at times were masking with me; no one else blings them though!!  I stopped and talked with people I knew; I dropped in on Linda Walters long enough to buy a book.  I hunted and found Stablemates.  I went to 143 twice, until I caught them open, and bought more than a dozen stickers.  They didn't know me from Adam.

Plunging into crowded halls after 12 noon became my limit.  Here I do not go.  I did stick my head into the Artisan's Gallery for about 2 minutes.  Most of the time, though, I was alone in the room.  It's restful, I ate and surfed and watched movies, napped and slept in there, and it allowed me to internalize my purchases.  Walking outside, another trick, encountered Liz LaRose, which was a pleasure.

Friday I went to the KHP and tested myself against crowds outdoors.

About the closest I can quantify it is as "three people at 30 feet."  This, like all else, is flexible and very rough.  Almost the first place I wound up was inside a tent!  I actually asked Darlene if she was vaccinated;  this was the first time I've asked anyone in more than a year (and probably the last ever).  (She said yes.)  The ventilation was good, and, after some pondering, I took off my mask and sat there, reveling.

Tack by Darlene Stoddard.  Excuse the fingerprints; he is inside a Plexiglass cage.

Outdoors is free, no mask.  Wandering over the familiar grounds, I came across the Master of Volunteers, Robin Briscoe.  She let me take her picture.  I think all those pins on her lanyard have influenced me subconsciously.  :)

An astonishing thing happened on Saturday.  Just below the center of the next picture is a hillside.  I was camped out there for lunch, looking out over the beer garden, when a fellow picnicker approached me and introduced herself as Kathryn Johnson:  She for whom I had rebuilt TSII #413, the saddle I'd worked on for many months last year.  I had never met her.  That was glorious, to say the least!
Rolex dam pond road looking north towards the arena

I started out this post promising Places.  Here are some I found Saturday and Sunday.  I have, over the years, extensively wandered the KHP, but I'd never been in some of these.  This first place was near the edge of the parking lot.  I was sitting on the stone wall, under the giant trees, using the phone.

I was quite close to the American Hanoverian Society headquarters.  The bow on the head says everything.  :)

There is a graveyard on high ground to the right as you travel from the Visitor Center and Museum of the Horse in the direction of the All-Tech.  I had honestly never seen this before.

It seemed so peaceful. 

It is a fitting tribute to a great horse of the past.

At this point I can make a prophecy for people like me.  Go about your normal business, wear a mask and nothing else changes.  The world has done it all along.  Open your doors, mingle with the crowds, all will return.  And somewhere in 2024 or 2025, I'll hang up my mask.  And then the Great Pandemic will be over for us.


In Other News:

 My promised trip to Boulder has morphed, courtesy Dad's Covid fears about having our nephew in that house, into a trip to Tucson instead.  No model people visits are planned, most sorry;  I need to be with my parents this time; we don't know how much longer we will have with Mom.  This means a near-month hiatus with the book (furious frown).  It also means a great chance to work on my Nikolas-sized bosal hackamore (delighted grin).  The nosebutton is well along.  This piece will be sold upon completion.

Happy Valley Fun Show is undecided, although I'm leaning towards cancellation again.  I don't see me strong enough to demand, let alone enforce, masking of all entrants, and at this point that's still what it would take.

But I can wait four years for a show.