It is a bit of a shock for most students when they arrive at the sports hall. During Horses & Dreams they all have to spend four nights in the same gym hall, which means they get to see, hear and smell everything their fellow students are doing.
It is compulsory for students taking the Equine Leisure and Sports or Equine Business and Economics programmes in Wageningen to work as a volunteer at the Horses & Dreams event. The Animal Management students in Leeuwarden had the option of going too, and could earn credits for doing so. The education department encourages participation as it is a way for students to learn how such an event is organized and what tasks need to be carried out in order to make it a success. The students were put to work entering the marks for the jury, for example, as well as helping out with the catering or keeping pushy members of the press at bay.
The VHL students spent the night in a sports hall in the vicinity of Hagen. Unlike last year, when the centre of the gym hall the students were sleeping in became an unassailable barrier separating the Wageningen students from the Leeuwarden students, this year the students from both places bedded down criss-cross over the entire hall.
The students not only had to share the same sleeping quarters, they also had to share communal showers, with only one separate shower. As most of them preferred to use the separate shower, lots were drawn to determine who got in there first. The chaos in the gym hall created a feeling of camaraderie. And interesting developments did not go unnoticed with so many people crammed together in one hall. Levine van Kats: 'We might not have a TV here but that's no problem - this place is as good as any a soap opera.'