Technospeed

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I often tell people I never really conquered the 20th century and here I am now trying to deal with the 21st.? I used to run dressage shows and scheduled rides by hand -- as many as over 1,000 rides, which would take me a week of doing nothing else.? I see online all the discussions about how technology can help run dressage shows, but I never perk my ears. Well, I met the 21st century this weekend in the person of Kevin Bradbury, who runs shows at the Waterloo Hunt Club near Detroit.? I judged shows here for Kevin in the past where he had all the rings wired with E scribes, and it was fun to have the score annouced by the time the riders left the ring at A, ALL the riders, not just the FEI riders in ring 1.? Now Kevin has the whole operation set up electronically.? The scribe uses a laptop.? The judge has the test on a screen and can see all the scores and comments as the test progresses.? The scores and placings are announced immediately.? Everything (except freestyles at this point) is done electronically. It took a few moments for me to get comfortable with the format, but then it was clear sailing.? The advantages for the competitors, in addition to immediate scores, are numerous, not the least of which is that they don't have to decifer the handwriting of the scribe and judge.? But it's hard for me to imagine the committment Kevin has made here.? He has?laptops all over the place, including the warmup rings -- he owns 30, all with its own name based on such things as moons of planets (you call him on the walkie talkie if your screen doesn't come up and tell him Ganymede or Enceladus is cranky and he fixes it up the the office; you're good to go again immediately).? I can't imagine how this would all work in really bad weather, with wind, rain and dust flying everywhere, but the booths are enclosed (with sliding windows), so all this stuff has protection. With all these electronic goodies, the show has an entirely different rhythm.? No runners. No scorers.? The scribes have to be well-trained, and the scribes we had were all fabulous.? Since Kevin is a private show manager, he can control all of this.? It would be much hard for a volunteer organization, but I guess I can see the day coming where?everything at a show except the people and the horses will be wired. I'm writing this at the Detroit airport, where I've been stranded due to Hurricane Irene.? Again, thank goodness for technology, which keep me connected with the folks at home even though they don't have electricity.? Have been checking with my horse friends in the East.? Nobody hurt -- some trees down and some inconvenience, but all good news so far.