When I made the decision to actually enter the Shoofly/HDS CDIAM at Katy, TX on April 27-29, I had a little less than 4 weeks to get my ducks in a row. Spoiler alert - I don't recommend this approach to an event like this.
I really didn't think we'd be functioning at PSG level so while I knew of the show coming up, I was thinking MAYBE I'd do the Open show, not the CDI for sure. In true fashion for us, we hit that schooling show with Sue Mandas judging and got a 57+% with him acting like a wild dragon. This was also my first time riding the full test if I recall correctly. I (foolishly) expected my coach to say we weren't ready but she (once again), did not say that and said instead to go for it.
So we did.
First up was getting the paperwork together. SO.MUCH. PAPERWORK. Honestly it wasn't THAT bad, once I figured out what it was I needed to be doing. My first call to USEF was to see if he had a passport and then to figure out IF this was even feasible as well as check for the microchip information. So step one (I thought) was getting a passport. I assumed that Vana had one already and that we'd be doing a transfer. Nope. He has a KWPN passport but not a FEI one (breed passport does not equal FEI passport). Also there is an International and National passport. For anything less than a 3* event in the USA, you can just do a National one so we did that. Props to USEF for being the absolute coolest animal showing type of organization I've ever dealt with for sorting this out.
We found out that Vana wasn't on file as having a microchip number (the first hurdle) so I dug through my paperwork at home and couldn't find a number listed anywhere on any paper he had so I packed him and Jade (needed a Coggins) up and we went to the vet. Even though they had me on the book for microchip things, the reader was D.E.A.D when I got there so my 20 minute trip ended up taking 90 minutes as we searched Vana for a chip, couldn't decide if the scanner was or was not working, then it died, then we charged it up, then we checked Jade (who we KNEW had one), couldn't find hers for a while, had the scanner die again, plugged it into the wall and dragged Jade into a sketchy corner of tightness and finally found her chip. We checked Vana again and we all agreed committee style that he did not, in fact, have a chip and gave him one of his very own. We also had to triple check that the microchip we used was FEI approved (most are).
With the microchip in place and a number in hand...
I called USEF again as it had taken about 4 days to get the microchip thing taken care of. I was prepared to pay for expedited shipping but the USEF staff felt that wouldn't be necessary so I nervously said ok and printed out the forms and started filling them out now that i had a microchip number. I faxed them back that same day and they immediately ran my credit card and got to work on that. We had to fill out the National Passport Application and I was on standby with the Expedited form as well. Additionally I had to send in the FEI Horse Registration form. I also registered myself as an FEI rider (what, right??). The last part I did online though and the FEI Horse form is fillable online but I opted to send my FEI horse with my passport things (USEF recommendation for my case).
We were now 3 weeks out. They said that it would take a week to get the papers processed and mailed to me, then about a week for me to go to my vet to fill out the passport, then to mail it back and get USEF to stamp and mail it back AGAIN. In time for the CDI. *gulp
I waited not so patiently during that first week and the nice folks at USEF said to call them anytime. I waited until Wednesday of the first week before calling. Naturally I talked to someone that had not been involved to this point and she pointedly told me that it would take 6-8 weeks to do passports. I had kept the names of the two ladies I had spoken to until that point and naturally they were out. I agreed to call back that Friday. *chews nails
That Friday I called and neither person was in still but my credit card was charged and I got a shipment notice. Phew! Next was making the appointment with my vet to fill out the passport ID portion and Flu/Rhino part. This was a pretty intense process that ended up taking us about two hours to fill out while she bounced between me and their busy lameness exams in the outside area. The passport comes with a helpful guide, but the task of making the form look EXACTLY like your horse and then writing about all the markings, dings, and such with anatomical terms is tiring. They give you a practice sheet and we so used it. Plus had an extra vet tech around to double check all the markings with us. At the end, since we all had horrific handwriting, we got the pharmacy tech to use her ultra nice handwriting to transcribe our doodles onto the real thing. Next was putting the flu/rhino records, then vet clinic stamps, having the vet sign over the stamp, and then exhaustedly stuff it in an expedited overnight envelop and send it on its way. Seriously, it was a team effort and I'm so thankful my vet loves me.
I'm not 100% sure of when I ended up entering the CDI itself, but it was somewhere in this area where I felt it was do or die and the closing date was upon us so I'm going with approximately 2 weeks before the CDI started. It cost about $900 to enter not including the fees for all the paperwork. *dies* I also decided to enter the CDIAM Small Tour so we'd also be doing I-1 as well as PSG. Again, coach is not helpful at keeping us in check :P
This was the test I decided to add last minute. We're going to look EXACTLY like Steffen. *cough
Since we're bamfs, er speedy, we got the passport BACK in the mail super fast and waited not so patiently for the USEF to do their thing. Naturally I did the exam part on Good Friday and we weren't sure if they were open on that Monday or not but at least the envelop would be waiting for them. I figured I'd give them until that Wednesday before calling. We were about a week out from the CDI move in date at this point. (Seriously, don't do things like this.)
That Wednesday before I had a chance to call, I got a ping in my email box about a delivery being overnighted to me from USEF. My vet and I rejoiced and I had a passport in hand before I flew out to Arizona to judge that Friday.
If you're keeping track, that means we now are FEI horse/rider registered, Horse National Passported, and entered in the show. Something that was ultra confusing to me was that I had to enter the show both with FEI and the show secretary. The information I had said to enter on the FEI's site but this was not accurate. On the USEF account dashboard, there's a part about FEI declaration. THAT ended up being the correct place to "enter" the CDI for FEI and then I entered the show like normal for the show secretary.
With all this in place, we only had to actually go to the big dance!