September rolled into October and it was time to prepare for the Retired Racehorse Project’s, Thoroughbred Makeover at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. After getting the okay from my cardiologist, I rented a large cargo van and loaded up the CANTER booth and all of our merchandise including Teddy’s gear (it’s amazing how much equipment a five pound dog needs for a week). On October 11th Teddy and I headed south for the five and a half hour trip.
As the Executive Director for both CANTER Ohio and CANTER Kentucky (Communication Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex-Racehorses), I’ve been attending the makeover, and manning the booth, every year since 2015 (except for 2020 when it was cancelled due to COVID). It was after 6:00pm by the time the booth was set up and ready for opening day and I was hungry and tired. Since I stay at the same Fairfield Inn every year, I know all the local eateries and had decided to swing by KFC for takeout. To my surprise, the tall sign was there and the building but the parking lot was empty and so was the restaurant. I found that to be the case with several places that were no longer in business and finally settled for McDonalds. Teddy and I checked into the hotel, getting the same room we’d had in 2019 because it was close to the back door where I park the van. Teddy crashed while I scarfed down a burger and fries then unloaded what seemed like a mountain of our stuff (mostly his).
By the third day most of the other vendors knew Teddy by name and always gave him a warm greeting, apparently I was invisible. He spent the days in his stroller or on my lap and I have to say he brought a lot of customers to our booth. The weather turned cold and we sold out of jackets, sweatshirts and hoodies . . . Teddy wore his Polo jacket. The drop in temperature didn’t help my arthritic knee and by the time Sunday rolled around I could barely climb into the van. My marathon patio-building project, lasting two months during the summer, had me lifting heavy pavers and bags of sand and now my knee was protesting. After dismantling the booth and loading the van I feared I couldn’t struggle with my knee, even one more time, so with a full tank of gas I drove straight through without stopping for potty breaks. Teddy was sound asleep in his car seat before we got off the grounds of the Kentucky Horse Park. We arrived home at midnight, I slid down from my seat and only took out of the van what Teddy and I needed for the night. Next year, I’m nixing the van unless I get a new knee!