Lyndsey Jordan knows a lot about horses, and she knew a fair amount about the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games before she started working at Alltech, the Nicholasville-based animal supplement company that is the lead sponsor of the Games.
Now she knows more. A lot more.
That's because Jordan and three other women sit in an office all day answering a toll-free telephone number devoted solely to the Games. The line — 1-888- 934-2010 — was started by Alltech as a way to help people navigate ticket purchasing, but now it's information central for every aspect of the event coming to the Kentucky Horse Park from Sept. 25 to Oct. 10.
"If we don't know the answer, we find the answer for them," said Jordan, a recent graduate of Auburn University and an amateur reining champion. "Sometimes it's about getting them in contact with someone who can help them."
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"What's the traffic situation?" That's the most common.
"Which event should I watch?" That one takes a little longer.
Then there's the famous question that representative Katie Arthur fielded a while back. "I have my seat number; where will the sun set in relation to my seat?"
She used Google maps and a seat guide and found that setting sun wouldn't be too much of a bother.
On Jordan's very first day, a man asked her whether he could enter his trail horse in the 100-mile endurance race. She tried to explain about international level competition and qualifying trials, but then finally patched him through to Emmett Ross, the discipline manager for endurance.
Jordan's expertise — her mother, Becky Jordan, is on the World Games Foundation board — comes in handy when people call wondering which event they would like the most.
"I have to explain the different events," Jordan said, "Here's what jumping is, that's very exciting, or you might like driving."
Many people call because they find it difficult to buy tickets on the computer. With the help line, representatives will make sure they get through to Ticketmaster, staying on the line to make sure the purchase is complete.
"It can be difficult and confusing to work it out through the Web site," said Orla McAleer, Games project manager for Alltech. "We knew there would be a ramp-up of interest as the Games got closer, so we wanted to give people a person to walk them through the process."
That ramp-up got even busier last week after Games organizers announced lower prices on some tickets to improve flagging sales. (Officials did not have immediate updated numbers on ticket sales.)
The Alltech help line works 24 hours a day. In the evenings, the line is forwarded to an Alltech employee in New Zealand who answers questions; by 3 a.m. Eastern time, the line has switched over to Alltech's Irish office before coming back to the Kentucky representatives.
Arthur, a rising senior at Eastern Kentucky University, says the work is fun. "I enjoy talking to people, and it's interesting to talk to different people who call from all over."
Even when the questions get somewhat exasperating. For example, "Is the outdoor stadium indoors or outdoors?"