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Betsy Carter’s Horse Scene: D.C. horse show a treat for Eubank

Wayne Eubank of Fredericksburg recently achieved a long-held goal to be a steward at the Washington International Horse Show.

Eubank regularly judges or stewards up to 40 horse shows at year all over the nation, but stewarding the Washington International Horse Show was the highlight of his year.

“It was a thrill of my life to steward and observe so many international riders and their horses,” said Eubank, who was asked to steward the WIHS representing the United States Equestrian Federation. Glena Wirtnam represented theFédération Equestre Internationale.

A steward’s job is to see that riders, trainers and grooms follow the rules of their governing body and to resolve any conflicts. One exhibitor said to another that with Eubank’s skill at conflict resolution and calm demeanor, “he could defuse a bomb if there was an argument going on anywhere on the show grounds.”

Stewards constantly checked on the horses in the stalls to be sure they were cared for correctly.

“I personally walked into 40 horses’ stalls twice a day to check on the amount of water they were drinking,” Eubank said.

As a steward, Eubank’s day began at 6:30 a.m. and did not end until 10 p.m.—except on the last day of the show, when he had to be there at 5 a.m.

Part of Eubank’s job was to help monitor the schooling area, which was so small it could accommodate only two jumps. He often observed as many as 15 riders and horses at a time preparing for the Grand Prix.

“There were at least five schooling supervisors in the schooling areas all night and day dividing up the shifts,” he said.

During the show, he watched many rounds of competition and was astounded by the accuracy of the riders and the wonderful mentality of the horses who had not been turned out or on a lunge line.

“I got to observe Jessica Springsteen, daughter of Bruce Springsteen, warming up her new horse that had just been purchased after winning a gold medal in the Olympics,” he said.

He also appreciated the hard work of the horses’ grooms, who did not sleep for 24 hours since they would arrive at the arena at 1 a.m. hack horses in the ring for an hour, then bring the horses out to be prepared for the day’s showing.

“They were such hard workers and loved the horses they cared for,” Eubank said.

Since the WIHS is held in downtown Washington, it is a particularly exciting place to be for the residents and those associated witht he WIHS.

“I enjoyed walking out one door at the Verizon Center and endiing up at a restaurant in Chinatown then an hour later being right back at the horse show.”

Betsy Carter can be reached at The Free Lance-Star, 616 Amelia St., Fredericksburg, Va. 22401; or by fax at 540/373-8455.

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