Thursday, July 14 2011 by
It’s embarrassing to admit, but my bags from the test event are still on the floor of my bedroom, waiting to be unpacked! Since I got home it has been non-stop. I got home Wednesday night and when I arrived at the yard Thursday morning everyone had left to go to Barbury International, leaving a list of around 10-12 horses to ride. I can’t complain though because I love it! Getting paid to ride nice horses everyday will always be a privilege. Anyways, back to the test event. I just want to say that I am so proud of my little mare’s performance. The results don’t do her justice! She did a lovely dressage test with only a few green mistakes but unfortunately she had her tongue sticking out the entire time and therefore received quite a harsh mark. The cross country was a breeze except coming down to the water where tons of little kids and dogs came running up to the string screaming “horsey!” She got a bit distracted and had a hesitation at the drop in and got 20 penalties. (Because tickets to the test event were scarce, the majority of the fans were completely non-horsey people who lived local to Greenwich Park. They were invited to attend the event as a sort of peace treaty to try to get the local community to be more supportive.) Another reason my mare may have hesitated at the water could have been do to the fact that she fell in the water just the weekend before the test event! At Salperton Horse Trials she hung a leg at the fence in the water and fell properly. We were both okay but it was definitely not ideal as a last run. And, to make matters worse, or at least comical, the fence where Bree had her fall at Salperton, was the exact fence that they put in the water at the test event! They literally moved the thing from Salperton to the water at Greenwich! While walking the course with Captain Mark Phillips and the rest of the team USA gang, I casually explained to my good friend Sinead Halpin the situation and then asked if it was appropriate to make a joke about it! She laughed and said it was not appropriate so no joke was made to the Captain. Luckily Bree picked up her feet this time so now we can all laugh about it. Phew! Finally, Bree jumped well in the show jumping and we just had one down, which was my fault. Some of the signs from the not-so-happy Greenwich protesters outside the park entrance. It was an amazing experience to be apart of the team at the test event and I feel that it was very educational for both Bree and me. For the first time since Bree landed in January, I felt like we were on the same page, which is what’s most important for us right now. I’d like to say a big thank you to my wonder groom and dear friend Alex Van Tuyll and all the new friends that I met that were supportive and fun to spend the week with at Greenwich. Oh and Toddy of course for saving me from almost elimination in the cross country warm-up when he realized that I had the wrong spurs on and lent me his! Goofing off and probably embarrassing Princess Bree during grazing time.
Life across the pond has been complete madness! Today went something like this: Rode my young horse, jumped two young horses for Laura Collett, took one of Laura’s to the gallops, came back and took Bree to the gallops, jumped yet another young one for Laura and then, oh wait, can’t forget about getting Harvey to the pool for his swimming workout! It’s all getting a bit crazy but don’t worry too much, we have Laura’s mom forcing tea down our throats at least every half an hour. Too be honest, I’m surprised we don’t spend the entire day in the loo with all of the tea that we drink! I couldn’t be happier. The horses are on top form, the Collets have been amazing to work with and I am at my best when working long days with nice horses and that’s exactly what I’m doing. Harvey, my advance horse, relaxing in the spa. He goes in the spa everyday except on days when he has to do his swimming workouts!
Monday, May 23 2011 by
In horses you know you need to be careful when everything seems to be going quite well. With all three of my horses going well, great house, great boyfriend, great weather, things were bound to have a turn for the worse. I had my two top horses, Bree and Harvey, entered at Hambleden in the open intermediate a few weekends ago. Harvey was a little machine with an amazing 27 in the dressage and no jump penalties in the show jumping or the cross country. If you knew Harvey personally, you would understand that achieving a 27 in the dressage is verging on miracle status. I had people coming up to me the rest of the day and sending me messages . . . “How did you get Harvey to start playing the game on the flat?!” I am not entirely sure why my little superstar advance horse has decided at the young age of 15 to embrace dressage, but I am not about to start asking questions! With Harvey on great form and a text message from William Fox-Pitt saying “Go Harvey!” I was already beginning to finalize my last big gallops before Bramham CCI 3*. This elated feeling soon left me when poor Harvey didn’t trot up sound and the vet got out the ultrasound machine. To make a sad story at least a bit short, Harvey and I will not be able to compete at Bramham in a few weeks and my days are now resigned to hand grazing, icing, and rolling bandages. As the Brits say: “I’m gutted!” Poor Harvey is all clipped and ready for a party! As if things weren’t bad enough, my car broke down and I was forced to drive Roberta, my trustee lorry, back and forth from the yard for the better half of a week. Thank goodness for Roberta and my good friends Katherine and Giovanni for managing to get me out to the yard everyday! Getting back to Miss Bree . .
Saturday, May 07 2011 by
After a fairly anticlimactic result for the Americans and the Canadians at Badminton, I am so excited for some of the horse and rider combinations from Rolex last weekend. Most notably for me are the performances from Rebecca Howard (CAN) and Sinead Halpin (USA). Both Rebecca and Sinead have been good friends and mentors of mine for almost ten years and you couldn’t meet two riders that work harder or enjoy their horses more. I started working for Rebecca and Sinead when I was 17 years old in Middleburg, Virginia when they were partners in running Dunlavin Eventing
Monday, May 02 2011 by
All I can do is apologize for my extreme tardiness as it is now Sunday . . . almost a week after the prize giving at Badminton! It was over Monday afternoon, I then had an event on a young one Wednesday, lessons Friday afternoon and then a flight out Saturday. I am actually writing from sunny California! After having a good run at the CIC *** at Burnham Market a few weeks ago, I decided it was now or never if I wanted to go check up on my family before the season gets even more hectic! Badminton was nothing short than a dream come true for die-hard Mark Todd fans! (To be honest, I am becoming one of them!) At the start of cross country day, with good old Andrew Nicholson having an immaculate clear round inside the time, it was starting to look like Badminton would end up to be a dressage competition. Although after about the first five runs, problems started to occur all over the course, with many rider and horse combinations having issues at the sunken road. Possibly the most significant dilemma was how tired the horses were getting by the end of the course, localized around the quarry. This is where Oli’s horse fell and even Mark’s horse “Ben” (“Landvision) left both hind legs, only barely dragging them over the log with immense difficulty.
Friday, April 22 2011 by
Harvey and I at the first of two open corners on the CIC 3* course at Burnham Market. I'm sorry but look how sweet his expression is! This past weekend was quite an important weekend for me. I’m not actually sure if I mentioned this in an earlier blog but I had a bad fall at the end of last year in the three star up at Blair Castle in Scotland. Long story short my amazing little Harvey and I were three fences from home after having a great run and we ended up crashing through a ditch and palisade. To this day I have no idea what happened. Some people say that Harvey didn’t see the ditch because it was going from light to dark out of the woods and the light was in his eyes.
Sunday, April 03 2011 by
Last weekend went well at Gatcombe Horse Trials with Harvey and Bree. I ran Harvey in the Open Intermediate and my new mare, Bree, in the Open Novice just as a nice easy run so that we can start getting to know each other.
Tuesday, March 15 2011 by
And just like that the 2011 eventing season has begun! This past weekend was Tweseldown, the first affiliated event on the British Eventing calendar. I had my little advanced horse in the Open Intermediate and the Honorable Mary Guinness’s five year old in the Prenovice (equivalent to training level in the US). As I warmed up for the OI dressage test I had a look around and quickly remembered why I am in England.
Tuesday, March 01 2011 by
At the beginning of last week I looked at my schedule and I wasn’t sure how it was going to work. I’ve started riding for Mark Todd a few days a week, I have my three horses, and I am also riding a few for Sam Albert who rode for Jamaica at the Olympics in Hong Kong. Needless to say, things have been a bit hectic! Also, somehow it is already the end of February and our season starts in a week! This means driving the horses a few days a week to the gallops to get them fit and taking them all cross country schooling. In England, because the majority of riders over here give their horses November and December off, most of the horses haven’t seen a ditch since September or October. This means cross-country schooling can be fairly entertaining. The problem is that most people wait too long to take their horses schooling because the weather is horrific and the ground is like a swamp. You keep telling yourself: “Oh I will just wait until next week and hopefully it will not be so wet.” Well, surprise surprise, the rain hasn’t stopped and the ground has been getting progressively worse. It is England after all! I am included in this optimistic group of people who think the ground may get better. Unfortunately, after waiting and waiting, I had to brave the bad ground and the pouring rain and chuck the horses into my trusty Roberta and get them out for some cross country. Funny enough, its seems everyone else had the same idea and when I took my horses out on Thursday there were around twenty lorries parked alongside the cross country field. This congestion can be explained by the fact that most cross-country places close when it’s this wet. The only place that stays open, rain or shine, is Boomerang
Sunday, February 13 2011 by
I am excited to report that my horses will be moving to Charlotte Martin’s lovely yard near Hungerford, UK. I have really enjoyed the people and the atmosphere at Yew Tree Farm, where my horses have been previously, but my advanced horse is in need of a gallop track onsite to maintain his fitness