DIHP Newsletter #4
So, what does 75 days and nearly $2 million get you in the horse show world? We’re about to find out. Just like you, we will be here riding. In fact, at least one person from each of our families and even the daughter of our footing company CEO will be competing. It’s what makes us unique. While we’re now in the horse show business, we will always be riders. And demanding ones, at that. And so, we are asking all of the same questions as you… will it really be better? Did they really invest as they said they would? Did they really think about the horse, first? What should I expect? We are equally as excited as many of you are to get to Thermal and see what the real story is.
In that spirit, I thought it would be helpful to give you a sense of what to expect (and of course, what not to). Here goes…
First, we are incredibly excited to welcome you to Desert International Horse Park. The first thing we hope you notice is our attitude. We have hand-picked a great team – for their experience, their expertise, and most importantly because they want you to have a great time. We are here to help in every and any way to make your experience here fun. You’ll see lots of smiles and an enormous sense of pride.
Second, depending on your perspective, you’ll find $2 million gets you a lot or a little. I go through this every day. The fact is we spent a lot of money on things that you just might not notice but had to get done. And for everything that we did spend money on, there’s still a lot of things that didn’t get the attention and money we know are needed. That said, we worked on both big things and little things. Let me give you some detail.
We bought five rings of new jumps… but we still have seven rings that don’t have new jumps.
We have two rings with new footing… and ten rings with vastly improved footing…but not new. You won’t see the work we did on the base (a lot!), but there is now a consistent blend across rings and 5 inches of footing in every ring, and the footing is level… laser-leveled.
We have not found a great solution for lunging yet… and Jumper 4 and Jumper 4 warm up will be used for competition this year so they won’t be available for lunging… but we are working on it.
We also have not been able to get the grass grow for the paddocks the way we would like, but as many of you have suggested, the grass field behind the parking lot is available for grazing.
We cleaned and scrubbed everything… buildings, tents, sidewalks, offices…we had commercial sweepers sweep and vacuum… but it is still a big property in the desert with dust.
We painted almost everywhere with new colors… fences, judges’ boxes, planters… but we still have more to paint.
You’ll find a new show office, freshly painted, with new furniture, new rugs, and a few treats. And a new show management system (Showgroundslive). And a new website.
We renovated one bathroom… but not the others, though they have been washed… but the porta potties will be anchored in the ground so they won’t blow over… and we’ll have wash stations at each. And yes, Traci Brooks, we’ll upgrade the toilet paper.
You’ll find each wash rack now has mats for safety… but only one now has a new shade structure with cross-ties.
We added both a real ambulance for riders staffed with a paramedic, and a horse ambulance for our four-legged friends should anything happen.
All of the permanent barns have fresh aisle ways inside and out… and every door and latch works… and we are working to repair all of the dents… even the big one on Barn 10. Every tent has been cleaned, the aisle ways widened, new LED lighting installed, and additional power added… but the stalls themselves are the same as they were and we know that has to be addressed.
The main restaurant has new seating areas outside… but inside nothing has changed… and it is not air conditioned…yet. The VIP building has new tables and chairs, a dad’s lounge, and new menu items… but it also is not air conditioned and we have not solved the doors and outdoor area…. yet.
Vendor row has been relocated, and a number of new vendors will be joining us. As a result, the pathways from the barns to the rings are wider and safer.
We have trimmed every tree and bush and raked every inch of the ground… but we have yet to materially add new landscaping.
The coffee shop is no longer… but we will be selling ice cream from there now (and maybe even soft serve)… and we have added a great new coffee vendor on vendor row…
You’ll find lots more electricity… and even free WIFI around the office, restaurants, rings, and barns.
We have gone ribbon and prize crazy… we love ribbons and prizes! We have opened a new swag store where you’ll find our new swag items…
We’ve changed the way we will pick up manure… and will do it around the clock so there are fewer piles…
Our goal is to stream the competition from every ring… live… and provide every rider all of their video clips each day.
We are trying to improve traffic flow, for horses and people, but we have a lot to learn on this.
We have not made material changes to the competition content or schedule but we have added rings each day to try and end each day earlier… in some cases, like Sunday of week 2, this has led to some important competitions being in “lesser” rings. This does not mean we don’t support these competitions, it just means that we have erred on ending days earlier and spreading out the competition.
With all we have done, we are sure there are things that will disappoint you. Some things we have not touched… the ring/property layout has not changed, we have not improved the seating for folks watching or added shade for people, we have not improved the berms, we have not changed the material in the pathways, we have not… well you get it… we have not done a lot that remains to be done, yet.
And we didn’t find a way to stop the wind from blowing at times…
It’s a new team with a lot of new moving parts…we will surely make a bunch of mistakes. We ask for your patience. As with anything new, despite the years of experience, we are together for the first time and have some things to iron out.
Finally, we are incredibly appreciative of the amazing support we have gotten from everyone. And we are thrilled that so many people will be here for our inaugural show. As John Bragg says, it all starts with a passion for horses. That we have. We have done as much as we could possibly do in 75 days. But we also know there is a lot more to be done to make this the destination we all want it to be. After NSS, we promise to continue to work as hard as we have during the last 75 days until all of our “to-do” list is done.
See you in the desert!