October 7, 2010

While many faculty in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture have been greeting visitors at the 3,200 square-foot UK Village, several have been assisting with competitions at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

College faculty members have assisted with the dressage, paradressage, eventing, endurance and translation services for the athletes. Lori Garkovich, professor in the UK Department of Community and Leadership Development, kept busy at the games as a scorer at the eventing and paradressage events. Garkovich has kept score previously for the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event and regional competitions for the Kentucky Dressage Association, Central Kentucky Riding for Hope and others.

Her duties vary depending on the phase of competition, but Garkovich said essentially she compiles information from judges and helps assign penalties when necessary and calculate final scores for the athletes and the announcer. She works with other scorers to ensure no human or calculation errors affect the final result.

"These things are well documented, and there are multiple levels of confirmation to try and avoid a mix-up at the end," Garkovich said.

Scoring can sometimes be a stressful job, especially in the cross-country portion of eventing where results come in individually per-jump for each of the multiple riders on the course at once. Garkovich said she enjoys the opportunity to watch each test and course up close, and the camaraderie among scorers makes the experience fun.

"You come together for this absolutely awesome event, you get together to catch up and get the chance to enjoy some fabulous riding, then you go your separate ways," she said.

For her, the choice of which events to volunteer for was simple.

"I love dressage - the beauty and clarity of it. I probably never would have competed, if it weren't for dressage," said Garkovich, a former rider herself.

Jill Stowe, assistant professor in the UK Department of Agricultural Economics, shares Garkovich's fascination with the discipline. She volunteered as a runner for the main dressage competition.

"I love the harmony between the horse and rider. When performed at the highest levels, the horses perform difficult movements, and yet it appears that the rider is doing nothing at all," Stowe said. Stowe wanted to volunteer at the dressage competition because she used to practice the discipline. She said her favorite part of the World Equestrian Games experience was sharing it with her mother, who also volunteered as a security worker for the first six days of the event.

"My mom and I have shared our horse experiences since I was 4, so it was incredibly special to experience an event like this with her," Stowe said.

Elizabeth LaBonty, lecturer and internship coordinator for the UK Equine Initiative, also participated in the games as an assistant to the presidential secretary during the endurance competition. She was responsible for compiling each competitor's timesheets and monitoring their global positioning satellite trackers.

Fernanda Camargo, associate professor for undergraduate education in equine science and management, served as a Portuguese interpreter. As a native Brazilian, she said it was exciting for her to shadow the Brazilian teams at the games.

Kristen Harvey, extension associate for equine activities, served as a scribe for the paradressage competition, recording the judges' comments for riders to read after the show.

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