The lucky ones at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are very different from you and me.
They have golf carts to take them around the vast space of the Kentucky Horse Park. They have wide lanes and wind in their hair, and the soles of their feet do not ache.
To Games organizers, one of the initial allures of the 1,000-acre Horse Park was its sprawl. Everything from the Kentucky Experience to vendor booths to the Papa John's lunch line could have infinite space. (Previous WEG sites in Germany and Spain were much more compact.)
The problem in Kentucky is that visitors have to walk the vast open spaces and, when the day is spent on foot, it is, oh, so far. I walked 7.3 miles one day, according to a pedometer, and saw only a fraction of what WEG has to offer.
On another day, I walked all day, took bad directions to get back to the bus line and wound up on the wrong side of the park. I briefly considered lying down in a gully and spending the night — walking another step seemed an impossible idea at that point — but three kind Alltech workers with a golf cart picked me up and took me to the bus line. I was ridiculously grateful.
In many cases, you merely have to hail an appropriate people-mover. But most of the carts are driving athletes, VIPs, sponsors, WEG staff members or even lunch ingredients.
Games officials couldn't provide a count of the golf carts. However, there appear to be hundreds. And there are often traffic jams. In some parts of the park, pedestrians are directed to one narrow lane, while golf carts take much of the roadway.
Even some athletes have opined about all the walking. "They've lost a lot of the atmosphere (of previous Games) by having the event so spread out," Australian event rider Paul Tapner said on Wednesday. "It loses the intensity of the atmosphere, having 'golf-buggy-ville.' That goes for spectators as well as competitors and officials," he said.
The other problem is that while walking you'll be continuously reminded of a variation of that little Beyoncé ditty about putting a ring on it: If you like it, put a sign on it.
Lafayette High School student Savannah Martin summed up her frustration, standing at a sign that backs up to some whiffy temporary restroom facilities at the main stadium: "They should have these signs that say which way things are."
She and two friends were trying to find "A Gift From the Desert," an exhibit of 350 artifacts and paintings about horses in Arab history and culture, at the Kentucky Horse Park Museum.
"We couldn't even find the map," said Martin.
Lee Quisenberry, a driver for the British team from Winchester, was scanning the map in front of the food tent. The site is "so scattered, it's very hard to walk," she said.
Marrilyn Hamilton Smith and Susanna Clarke of Australia were scrutinizing a fence-mounted map to find the way to a warm-up area for dressage. They decided to simply set out and see what they could find.
On Sunday, I hit a dead end and was followed into it by hordes of tourists. We had all been misled by what appeared to be a non-WEG-related Horse Park sign.
Susanna Elliott, a spokeswoman for Alltech, said officials quickly realized the need for more signs and have been adding about 30 new signs a day to about 4,000 signs already in the Horse Park.
Gems if you find them
Many of the gems at WEG are found by serendipity.
The Normandy pavilion, which has lovely French cheeses and potted specialty foods, and the Bahrain pavilion, which gives away ball caps, didn't even get a pointer, much less a sign on the days I was there.
One tourist commented: "I don't know where it is, but Bahrain is now my favorite country" because of the free hats.
The main food tent and tables along Rolex Way didn't have a sign identifying them, either.
The UK solar house is full of energy-saving innovation — if you can find it. There's no sign pointing the way. (Hint: You'll see it at the front of the park near where LexTran and other buses stop.)
The signs at the Horse Park that are available are confusing. But they now include "you are here" stickers that were not there when WEG opened on Saturday.
Even so, it's difficult to tell how exactly the "here" where you are is oriented direction-wise.
A limited number of maps were distributed, Elliott said, because the WEG foundation wanted to be as green as possible and have minimal trash from visitors carrying and then discarding them. Alltech supported that plan, but the need for maps is being constantly re-evaluated.
Fancy program booklets with event schedules and maps are being sold for $15.
The first few days, volunteers made earnest efforts to read the maps they were given. But their interpretations were sometimes less than ideal, leading people like me — with limited directional sense to begin with — to wrong areas of the park.
There are some positive transportation options. There is easy access to golf carts if you are disabled. There are four John Deere tractors that ferry visitors around the park via an attached wagon and have a capacity of about 30 passengers.
And if you're attached to the idea of being a fit Kentucky walker and not using the shuttles, assuming you can snag one, I'd estimate that you'll walk about 10 miles to get through it all.