Saturday, October 18, 2014

Seeing Judy, All Around

I've been putting this post off all weekend, because I don't know how to write it without crying in the middle of the Press Tent.  It's futile, I think.  I'll just cry.  Don't mind me.  It's certainly not the first time this weekend.

We lost our Judy in July.  If you've been to Fair Hill on a Saturday then you know Judy Thayer, even if you didn't know her personally.  If you've ridden in the CCI here, then you know Judy.  If you've seen photos of our amazing cross country fences, then you know Judy.

The reach and impact of Judy has already been documented on our blog over the summer, here and here and here.  We knew, certainly, when we lost Judy that we had lost a HUGE chunk of knowledge and hard work and kindness and good will and smiles.  We lost lots and lots of smiles.

We knew we had to carry on with our work at The Dutta Corp Fair Hill International.  We knew that galloping lanes still had to be placed.  Fences still had to be decorated.  Pumpkin Paths still had to be placed.  What we didn't know was who was going to pick up that slack.

We've talked here so many times about Fair Hill being a family.  We've got each others backs here.  While there may be some grumbling, if you grumble to the right person he or she will simply ask what he can do to help.  And you get it done, and things keep chugging along.

Our family had to pull together in a big way this fall, and even though Judy is not here with us in person she is still with us in spirit.  Everyone is helping with things they have not done before.  Everyone is stepping up.  In addition to all our regular tasks, our family has also found the time to place some very special Judy tributes throughout the grounds.  If you look around a bit, you will see a little Judy everywhere.

We miss you, Judy.  We miss you so very much.  We hope you'd approve of how things are going so far, in the 26th edition of Fair Hill International.

There's some obvious Judy tributes out there, including Fence 8, the Brookedale Hayrack, on the CCI2* course.  Judy's farm is called Brookedale Farm, and she and her husband raised  Highland cattle, as representing in the cut-outs on either side of the fence.
If you wander down below the Food Court, between Fence 6 and Fence 7 on the CCI2* course, you will walk right past Judy's Garden.  This memorial garden is placed on a set of old banks that used to be used long ago for the CCI3*.
The scaredy cat at Judy's Garden is a tribute to Judy.  She had a hood ornament on her truck like this.  Judy rescued every cat she ever came upon.  The scaredy cat was made by fence builder and chainsaw artist Thyssen Rementer, who worked with Judy for years at Fair Hill.  Thyssen used to work for Eric Bull before starting his own fence building business.
There's a lovely tribute to Judy in the VIP Tent, complete with photos, Judy's saddle rack and cooler, and decor in Judy's blue and green colors.  There is also a scrapbook on the table, which we are encouraging anyone who knew Judy to write in.  Please write your favorite Judy memory, and we will share this book (and two others - one in the Volunteer Tent and one in the Stable Office) with Judy's family.
One of my favorite, very subtle tributes to Judy is the new entrance to Kids Corner.  The story, as told by Kathie Troutman, is that Judy suggested that the new Kids Corner needed to have "a LITTLE door, that only kids can fit through!"  Here's your little door, Judy.  I think it's grand.

Here's the inside of the barn, with some amazing little touches that carry on the Judy tribute.
Here's another scaredy cat hanging out in the Kids Corner barn
Highland cattle (what do you call just one of these?  I dunno) hanging out in the barn.
Sleeping kitty, representing one of the zillions rescued by Judy.
Highland cattle has a cute head, too.  Kathie is amazingly talented  - she designed, built, and painted this entire barn.
Finally, you saw Judy everywhere today on the Cross Country course.  All the amazing decorations have a Judy influence.  We might miss Judy the most on Monday and Tuesday, when all the decorations need to go back in to storage.  Judy always did that.
Judy's loyal fence decorating crew did a stand-up job this year, through their tears.  Thanks to John Ryan, Holly, Jean and Jon, Charlotte, Leah, Kim, and Lisa.  Judy would be proud of you.
If you look really hard, you can see a little Judy everywhere.

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