From Brugge to Saumur, we routed to the west, through Rouen, rather than smack dab through the middle of Paris, which is the way Google Maps suggests. (Come on, Google, you’ve got Street View, you know what Paris traffic can be like!) The last third of the drive was in grey light and intermittent rain, and we had flashbacks of previous trips to Saumur that were rainy for the entire duration.
Our hotel, the Adagio, is right on the Loire, and our room has a view downriver, which I immediately capitalize on by doing an iPad sketch out the window. It is a tiny room, though, and I go on a hunt for a bit of space in which to do my yoga. After exercising my creaky French with the receptionist, I am shown to a small meeting room which I am welcome to use to exercise my creaky joints. It too has a view of the river, so this week I can do my asanas while watching the Loire roll by. I know, this is indeed a hardship!
The vet inspection for the CDI horses is held in one of the many indoor halls at the Ecole National d’Equitation. This one is constructed of laminated hardwood, in a bit of a freeform design… Easier to see it in a photo than to describe it. It’s chilly, and there are a lot of horses who are ad-libbing, including some very creative airs above the ground. We all then head to the Amphitheater for the draw. Part of this show is a CDIO, a team competition for Ponies, Juniors and Young Riders, so the first order of business is the chefs d’equip’s draw for team positions. This being France, the team positions have been written on the backs of the labels of wine bottles. The chefs randomly select a bottle to find their team’s placement, then are delighted to find that the bottle is theirs to keep.