Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Blenheim and Travel Pics

The Long Journey

After show jumping on Sunday, Jessica went back to London with her parents and headed back to the States to start getting the barn at home back together. Trevor and I went back to David Green’s farm with Jess Phoenix and Amanda and their horses Tucker and Digby. I think to say that we were all tired would be a great injustice to the daze we were all in when we got back to Maisey Manor Sunday evening! David O’Connor and our awesome vet Christiana Ober came back to the farm Sunday evening too and we all enjoyed some take-out Chinese in David and Jackie’s living room and watched this year’s Badminton coverage on the big-screen. No evening of television at David’s house is complete until the TiVo plays “Sex on Fire”, the Kings of Leon song from X-Factor (it’s England’s version of American Idol). I have to find that video on YouTube and post a link here… it’s absolutely incredible!!! I don’t know who that guy is, but he can seriously sing!!! So after our Badminton and X-Factor fix, we all went to bed early and I slept harder than I’ve slept in a very long time. It was so great!

Monday, all of us girls left at the farm did a lot of hand-walking to stretch our tired ponies’ legs and we watched a lot of movies. J We went into Marlborough to get breakfast at the Polly Tea Room. That’s one place I’m going to miss! And we stopped by the Waitrose to buy carrots for the boys. Amanda and I re-packed our equipment to be ready to ship out and head home.
Tuesday morning, the truck from Peden Bloodstock came by to take me and the three horses I shipped out to Stansted Airport. So the girls helped me load Trevor, Parker (Madison Park), and Madeline (Holly Payne’s mare) and all of our equipment and we headed out. We got to the FedEx loading dock about 3 hours after leaving the farm but still about 6 hours before the horses’ plane was scheduled to leave. So we got comfortable in the lorry and waited for the other horses to arrive. We put a total of 9 horses on the flight. We had Trevor, Parker, Madeline, Ernie (Pawlow), Arthur, a gorgeous gray Irish horse named Reggie, a random Irish horse that nobody knew anything about, and 2 Grand Prix show jumpers. Suzanne, Will Faudree’s groom, and I helped the Pedens agents load the equipment onto the kit and we loaded all of the horses into their palates. Getting to be part of the whole shipping process, even though they couldn’t get me on the flight with the horses, was so very cool. I learned a lot about the process and what has to be done to ship the horses. I got to go with them into the warehouse to get the palates weighed and then got to see them to their plane. Once the horses were loaded safely on their flight, which was to leave at 11pm James, the greatest shipping agent ever, drove me to Heathrow and got me a hotel room for a few hours so that I could rest for a bit and have a shower before going to catch my own flight.

I was up at 3:45 this morning (local time in London) to catch the 4:19 bus to Terminal 3 to check in for my flight. I flew out at 6:40am on Scandinavian Airlines from London to Copenhagen, Denmark. I know that I only got to see the airport, but it was actually really cool getting to be in Denmark for a few hours! I had a window seat on the way to Copenhagen and it was so neat watching the countries pass below (flying in a cloudless sky has its advantages!). There were so many absolutely gorgeous islands and we mostly followed the coastline of the European mainland. The airport was very near the coast, and as we were landing you could see the most amazing landscape and greenery… definitely something like I’ve never seen before. And there was a huge bridge that went from the island of Denmark and seemed to disappear into the ocean completely.

I spent about 4 hours in the airport there before boarding my flight for Newark. As I am typing, the flight-map says that we are just off the coast of Greenland right now. This plane has cameras on the nose and underneath the plane so that we can watch on our personal screens the scenery that we are passing. It’s so cool! There is also a great selection of movies and music on our screens. J Right now we are above some clouds, so there is not much to see on the “downward view” camera, but when we get over the mainland of Greenland we should be able to see.

So I should be at Newark Airport by 2:45 Eastern Time. This is shaping up to be the longest day EVER! Haha! I have already been up for 12 hours (as of when I’m typing, not when I’m able to post this update seeing as how I don’t have internet on the plane… I’m typing on Word and saving…) and it’s only 9:30 at home. I’m going to be ready for bed at like 4:00 this afternoon! Talk about messing up your sleep pattern! I’m really excited to get back to the States though. J Can’t wait to see my family, friends, dog, horses, and go to an Auburn Football game!!! I will be hanging out in Newark until Thursday night though. Kyle is flying up and we will go back to Gladstone to get Kyle’s trailer and then drive to upstate NY to get Trevor and Parker out of quarantine and then make the LONG drive South. I should be home a bit before the sun comes up on Saturday. J It’s been incredible for sure! Glad to go home but can’t believe it’s almost over.

Blenheim Wrap-up

I have finally found some time to give a proper update. This is mostly due to the fact that I am stuck on an airplane and have been so for the past 12 hours. It’s a good excuse to have nothing better to do than type though, right?

Blenheim week was SO much fun! I have thought about it, but cannot decide what my favorite part was. As always, I love doing my job. Taking care of Trevor at a three-day is a great thrill for me. I absolutely love brushing him to a shine, braiding him, wrapping his tail, taking him for walks, and watching him do his incredible job. Then there was the scenery. What an absolutely gorgeous place! There was no place you could go on the property that could be called ‘average’. The people were amazing too. This was probably one of my favorite parts of the trip. We met so many great people and had so much fun with our new friends! David Green drove us to Blenheim and stayed there in his lorry for the week. He was such a fun and helpful host. We had a lot of fun hanging out with David at the evening events in the tent. We also met a great group of people that came over from France for the event. They were unfortunately unsuccessful in making me fluent in French by Sunday…lol! But it was certainly not for a lack of trying!

I walked the cross country course Friday night just like I always do at Trevor’s three-days. It was an absolutely *stunning* course. Every fence was meticulously built and decorated by the same man who designed the course at last year’s Olympics in Hong Kong. You could really see the similarities between this course and the course from Hong Kong. It was very cool. Trevor did a beautiful job on course Saturday morning. Every question Jess asked of him was answered with confidence and ease. He has really come to the point where he knows his job at the 3* level and has no problem doing it. So proud of him! They say that Blenheim is one of, if not *the*, biggest 3* courses in the world so we are especially excited that he accomplished what he did. Naturally, it is quite an effort to run XC at such an event. Trevor came off course well and did well through the evening. As always his legs were iced to ensure that his soft tissues stayed firm and sound. I spent several hours in his stall making sure he was well hydrated and happy. When I was finally happy to leave him to get some rest for the evening, Amanda, Haykel (one of our French friends) and I went to the big Riders and Grooms party in the tent. It was so fun! There was a lot of very loud fun music, people dancing and having fun, and everyone basically celebrated a successful day. The party gave me an uncharacteristic second wind and I finally forced myself to go to bed around 12:30 (only because I knew the alarm would be going off at 4:30) and I laid in my bed and listened to the music of the party until they finally sent everyone to their lorries for the night.

Sunday morning came all too early after a long Saturday. But I was up and ready for the challenge. Sunday mornings at three-days tend to play host to 3 of the most stressful hours of the year. Haha! The barns do not open to grooms until 2 hours or so before the Final Horse Inspection. We all lined up and were at the barn gate at 5 Sunday morning to race to get everything done in time. Horses have to be braided, groomed spotless (sometimes including a bath), legs iced (again, just to ensure that the legs are taken care of after Saturday’s hard work), jogged for the Team Vet, and then prepped for the Official Jog by 7:30. It’s definitely a race against the clock! But we got it all done, as always. Trevor was a little tired from his work on Saturday (weren’t we all!) but was the picture of soundness and jogged brilliantly. He show jumped a bit before lunch Sunday morning and had a really great round to finish off the week. He and Jess worked together so well to put together a very fluent and lovely trip around the show jumping course. They had 2 rails down, but for no reason other than being a bit tired and not getting those feet up quite high enough. It was a round to be proud of though and everyone was so very pleased with how the week went.

I’ll make a post just of pictures, like I’ve done before. It seems easier that way to get more pictures in. I am also going to write a separate post about our travels post-Blenheim because that in itself deserves a blog of its own! Looking forward to getting home!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sorry it's been so long! I don't have the time or energy to type it all out right now, but I thought I would give a quick recap. All of our horses completed the event at Blenheim and are sound and happy in their stalls now. Trevor jumped clean and brilliantly around xc and took 2 tired rails in SJ but had a very lovely round. We are back at David and Jackie's Maizey Manor and are getting ready to head back to the States. Jess flew home today, and I have been repacking and taking care of Trevor who flies to NJ tomorrow night. I fly from London to Newark early Wed morning and then stay with Trevor in quarantine til Fri morning. Kyle is flying up to meet me and he will drive me and Trevor home. So we're on the home stretch! This has been an amazing trip! We're all ready to head home now and get some rest though. I'll give details from the show later, but for now it's time for a movie and dinner.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What a day!!!

Wow! What a fun day! Trevor did dressage today and was so good! His warm up was brilliant and he went in the ring and produced a really lovely test. There was only one not-so-perfect moment when Trevor swapped leads a few strides too early in his counter-canter work and that had to be corrected. But he still got one of his best FEI Dressage scores to date and is standing in 14th out of 40 competitors after the first day of dressage. Yay Trevor!!! We are all so proud of him! Tomorrow is another full day of dressage tests with some really nice horses and riders still to go, so there is no telling where we will be standing going into cross country. All that matters right now though is that Jess and Trevor both put in a test to be very proud of. :)

I got to spend some time roaming around this afternoon. I was able to walk through the awesome vendor area near the competition arena while Jess was walking the course with David. This is by far the biggest 3* we have ever been to. Back home we have a few vendors at Jersey and Fair Hill, but here there is a vendor village almost half the size of the one at Rolex. There are so many people here just to spectate and the shopping is great! Too bad I only have 5 pounds to my name. haha! Guess that will keep me from spending. :)

Tonight was a cocktail party of sorts in Blenheim Palace. Holy Cow!!! It was GORGEOUS! Each rider got an invitation, including a guest, to have drinks in the palace and meet the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. Our new French-Canadian friend put Amanda and I down as the owners of his horse so that we would have an invitation and get to go to the party with everyone else. :) It was a very long walk from the stables to the palace, and it had to be done in "smart" dress including high heels, so my feet are absolutely killing me! But it was worth it. :D We were 'announced' to the Duke and Duchess and shook their hands and then had champagne and mingled with all of the riders and owners. I had a great time talking to Jess and her parents, our French friends, David, Caroline, Clayton, and Christiana. I'm having a hard time winding down and getting ready for bedtime after such a fun night!

Again, I am bad about having the camera and the computer in the same place at the same time. I do have some great shots from Trevor's dressage test today. I wasn't able to take my camera to the party tonight, but you can use your imagination on that one. :) I will try to get the pictures on here tomorrow. For now though, we are just very glad to have dressage day done and to be able to call it a success! I think Jess and Trevor accomplished exactly what they came here to do today. Let's just pray that we can say the same after xc day on Saturday!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hi from Blenheim!!!

I found an internet connection!!! That's the good news. :) Bad news is: again, I am down to only 20 min of battery. :( Just checking in to say that it is absolutely gorgeous here!!! The dressage rings are in the front lawn of the palace and the view is incredible. We haven't walked the cross country course yet, but what we can see on the hack up to the ring from the barn looks great!

We have had a great couple of days here so far. Almost everyone on our barn aisle speaks French. haha! I am supposed to go over to their lorry later for a French lesson. We'll see how that goes... :) David is here and doing lessons and seems to be very pleased with how Trevor is going. Christiana is also happy with his soundness and health, so that's always a good thing!

Today was the First Horse Inspection (aka-the jog). I set a new all-time personal record *drum roll please!* 31 braids in Trevor's mane! He looked beautiful at the jog and the ground jury was pleased with him. Tomorrow is dressage day. Trevor is supposed to go at 12:24 tomorrow so think happy thoughts for us! That will be 6:24am at home. :)

I hate to be brief, but my computer is going to die. I need to find a plug converter in the morning so that I can charge up and write more tomorrow.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Almost time to go!

Well, it's finally here! Tomorrow we leave for Blenheim! We have had such a great time here at Maizey Manor the past few weeks. The farm is gorgeous, the town is adorable, and the people are great. It's so exciting though to finally be packing the lorry for the big show... the reason why we are all here.

Manny and Parker got back from Burghley last night and the farm is fairly active again. David O'Connor was here for lessons this morning and Christiana, our wonderful Team Vet, was here checking and jogging up all of our guys before their big trip. Sandra, Diana, and Paige came back with the horses from Burghley. The girls and the horses are all very tired and ready to head home now, but they all should be pretty pleased with themselves. Diana had a good show jumping round on Manny yesterday. She had just one rail and a couple of time faults. So I think overall Di was happy with the performance from the weekend. She and Manny learned a lot and will be able to move on from here a lot more confident and educated. Parker looks pretty tired today too. Poor guy was 2 seconds ahead of the clock and having a beautiful clean xc round when he and Kyle just missed their spot on too long of a stride at fence 20. He was probably 2/3 of the way around the course (not to mention the galloping tour he took himself on after Kyle was 'ejected'). So he is enjoying some sleep in his stall today and looking forward to some turnout time.

Caroline Powell is here on the farm today and will be taking us and our horses to Blenheim tomorrow. Caroline rode the absolutely stunning gray horse Lenamore at Burghley and had one of the most brilliant xc rounds I've seen in a long time. They were sitting in third after cross country, but 2 unfortunate and uncharacteristic rails in show jumping put them in 8th to finish the weekend. Not too bad at all!

I'm not sure if I will have the internet at Blenheim. I'm really hoping that I can find a good connection and that I'll be able to post every day. I will certainly do my best. Everyone say a prayer for healthy, sound, and happy horses and for healthy and game riders! If you don't hear from me in a few days, you'll know it's because I have no connection at the show. But hopefully you will next hear from me tomorrow as I sit in the lawn of the stunning castle where Winston Churchill was raised. So excited! Here's to the best Three-Day we've ever had! Cheers!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Burghley XC day!

Amanda (Jessica Phoenix's groom) and I are here on the farm today basically alone. Both of our Jessicas went to Burghley for the weekend and we are here tending to our ponies. This morning was great. Not too cold (for once!) and certainly not hot and hardly a cloud in the sky. I took Trevor on a long walk this morning around the gallop track. It was so nice to sit in the saddle again! The view from the top of the gallop is incredible. The track goes up a fairly steep hill, then levels off for a bit, then back down a longer hill. I think you can see to the end of the world from the top of that gallop! It was amazing. So quiet, calm, and gorgeous. I felt like the luckiest person in the world to be there sitting on a horse as incredible as Trevor. Three laps around the track, alternating directions to keep it fun for Trevor, made up our hour long ride. I wanted to go another lap, but figured Trevor's hind end wouldn't appreciate another lap of walking up steep hills on the bit! :)

We spent the afternoon in front of the computer watching what was available of Burghley XC coverage. BurghleyTV wasn't working, so there was no video streaming. Horse and Hound had a text chat-like thing going live all day though. It was like watching what the announcer was saying all day long. We thought that might not be very entertaining, but it ended up being quite interesting. I already knew what the course looked like and I atleast know of all of the riders so it was easy to follow along.

It was a rough day for the horses from North America. :/ Someone at the event said that the American horses looked very tired on course. Only 3 of the 8 American horses got around clean today. Phillip and Milo are in 4th place going into SJ after a great xc round. Amy Tryon and Leyland went clean w/ like 13 time, and Buck Davidson (who ended up riding just 3 days after hernia surgery!) went clean w/ only like 15 time. Jennifer Wooten and The Good Witch had a stop on course but finished, as well as Missy Ransenhausen and Critical Decision. Karen O'Connor fell off of Mandiba after already having a stop (such a bummer! I love that horse!), Becky Holder retired Courageous Comet, and Allison Springer and Arthur were eliminated for having 3 stops on course. As far as our 2 Canadian riders go... still not the best of days. Kyle was the first Canadian to go on the awesome Madison Park. they seemed to be having an awesome round until fence 20 when Kyle had a fall and Parker took off. Sad! They are both fine, but I"m sure Kyle is very disappointed. Diana Burnett went later with Manny and finished the course, but had 2 stops at the Leaf Pit at Fence 4. She then took all of the long routes to get around the course without more stops (1 more stop would have been elimination). So she had quite a bit of time. But good for them for getting around!

Show Jumping should be televised here tomorrow. Jess and Jess are coming back probably early afternoon to ride the boys. And then it's only a couple of days until we leave for Blenheim! Trevor will have a dressage schooling tomorrow, a short jump and then a gallop monday and then it's off to the big show! fingers crossed that everything goes to plan. Today was a great example of how hard work and well thought out plans can go awry in a minute.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Long-awaited pictures

European Championships at Windsor Castle (far right: Clayton Fredericks in Eventing Grand Prix)

Lf: Marlborough Main St. Middle: Me grazing TruLuck (Milo) Rt: Jess P., Paige, Amanda & Me


Sorry I'm behind!

The internet at the farm has been down, and I have not been able to blog the past couple of days! I have to make this very brief because my computer battery is about to die. :/ I walked to the hotel where Jess is staying to use the internet and I got here with only like 20 min of battery on my computer... typical.

Things at the farm have been really slow the past few days. Early rides and then long days is about all that has been happening. Yesterday we took advantage of the schedule and went to Bath for the day. That has to be the most gorgeous place I have ever seen! I dont' have time to post pictures again, but I took near 100! So I'll have to post those as soon as I can. It was SO amazing! We got to tour the Abbey where the first King of England was crowned. Talk about Old!

Sounds like the jog went well for all of the American and Canadian horses at Burghley. Unfortunately, Buck had to go to the ER because of a hernia, so he'll miss out. Such a shame :(. I'm having a hard time finding a list of ride times on the Burghley website, so not sure when everyone goes, but hoping it goes well for all of them!

Hopefully my internet will be up again soon and I can post more and include some pictures. Until then, hope things are well in the States! And Happy Birthday Walter!!! :)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Burghley and Bunnies

Today was another slow day at Maizey Manor. All of the horses that live here on the farm went to a one-day horse trial today, so it was uncommonly quiet on the farm all day. David was here this morning for lessons again. Trevor did Dressage this morning and I ran the video camera so that Jess could watch it afterwards. It was a really good lesson, and Jess was pleased with Trevor's work. He is really learning how to go with a good 'step' in both his trot and canter work now. The power coming from behind and the energy with which it is coming is making his work much more uphill and positive. All good things. :)

The Burghley horses will be leaving on lorries in the morning, so Sandra and Paige have been unpacking and repacking all day. It will be strange here when they all leave! It has been so fun having the whole team together, but today was our last day to have us all on the farm. Diana Burnett and her horse Manny, and Kyle Carter and his horse Parker (Madison Park) are leaving in the morning with their grooms (Paige and Sandra). So for the rest of the week it will just be me and Amanda taking care of our horses, and our riders Jess and Jessie. Both of the Jesses are leaving Friday to go to Burghley for the weekend and then it will just be Amanda and me on the farm. We will probably watch Burghley on the computer and do a LOT of hand-walking! :)

So unfortunately the most interesting thing that I have to report is that I saw 34 bunnies today. Seriously! Those things run around here just like squirrels do at home, except they aren't as skittish around people as squirrels are. I always walk within feet of them and they dont' hop away. Strange really. I"ve come to the personal conclusion that the only thing that outnumbers rabbits in England is slugs. Not nearly as cute and fluffy.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hurry up and wait

Not much to report today. Jess had a jumping lesson on Trevor this morning. They worked on adjusting and being able to go really forward. Nothing too terribly exciting. :) Trevor jumped well though. We got our Team Canada stuff for this trip today, so I'm wearing a very warm and impressively cute gray and black "Canada" jacket and have two warm snugrug long sleeve stretchie shirts to keep me warm while we're here as well.

Otherwise today, I have handwalked Trevor a lot with the other girls, done a good bit of laundry (both human and horse) including scrubbing new saddle pads with OxyClean, and cleaned a lot of tack. Exciting, I know! haha The horses that are here with us for Burghley are getting ready to leave the farm Tuesday morning and those of us waiting for Blenheim the week after are getting ready for a very quiet week. :) We had a great lunch at the Pub today, and will probably have dinner here at the farm since we did buy some groceries yesterday when we went into Marlborough.

It sounds like things at home are going well enough. I got word that my new horse, Emma, has some "puffy" legs today... hoping that's a bit of nothing. And it's almost the first of September which means it's time for bill paying and check cashing to happen without me there... a bit nerve-wracking! haha! I'm sure everyone will take care of things smoothly since they have all been so great to take care of everything while I'm gone so far. So with little to report, I'll leave it at that for today. Maybe I'll have something more exciting for y'all tomorrow!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Last night was a fun night! We got to go to the horse show at Windsor Castle, which is completely gorgeous by the way. :) We got there and bought our tickets and walked through the gates and the sign at the entrance said "European Show Jumping and Dressage Championships"! None of us had any idea that was what the show was. haha! I asked Emma, Phillip Dutton's groom, and she said "Yeah, it's like our Pan American Games". It was SO cool!!! Jess and I shopped around in the vendor village for a while, then went to our seats for the demos. They did a Para-Dressage demo, a Shetland Pony Grand National, Driving Exhibition, the Eventing Grand Prix, and a Puissance! It was so awesome!

This morning David came for early lessons again. Trevor and Jess had a great dressage lesson! We used one of the new saddle pads that Patricia at EcoGold sent us and Wow!!! It looks great on Trevor, with the Canadian flag sewn onto the corner, and it works brilliantly. Trevor has trouble with his saddle slipping, and with these pads it stays put no matter what! Thanks Patricia!!! We'll definately be using that on XC at Blenheim!

Emma went into London with her family tonight and I got the great honor of taking care of Milo (TruLuck). :) It was just cool to even clean his stall and take him for his walk! haha

Tomorrow should be slow. David is doing jump lessons with everyone in the morning, then we will probably have another easy day after that. We all watched a movie at lunch today, and will probably do the same tomorrow. :) The weather is frigid here. I have never been so cold in August! There was frost on the windows in the place we are good when there is no heat in the house! It's all good though, I think I packed enough long sleeves. I'll add pictures tomorrow. Camera is in the house and everyone else has gone to bed early.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Today is Friday, Aug 28 and it is 1:23 in the afternoon. We have had a really easy day so far. David O’Connor, the Canadian Team coach, got into town last night and came to the farm early this morning to do lessons with each of the riders. So instead of getting up at 7 this morning, those of us with Canadian horses were in the barn feeding at 6:45 so that our horses could be fed, groomed, equissaged, and hand walked before David arrived at 8:00. By the time the other riders and grooms on the farm showed up to start feeding and doing chores, we were all done and ready for the day to formally start. Kyle had the first lesson on Parker, and then Jess and Trevor were next. They had an amazing lesson today. David really had them working well and Trevor was moving better than I’ve seen him go in quite a while. It seems like David and Trevor are really on the same page when it comes to Dressage and lessons with David are always fun to watch because the end product is always a beautiful thing. Jess even smiled through most of the lesson because Trevor was being so good, and she never does that! She’s usually concentrating on making him *stay* that good, but today she was very happy with him. (picture from this morning’s lesson)

Jess, Jessica Phoenix, and Amanda (Jessica P’s groom) went into town after the horses were settled from their rides. We had a nice lunch and went to a few little stores. Marlborough is SUCH a cute little town! Unfortunately it was raining almost the whole time we were there, but it was still absolutely adorable. I took a couple of pictures on the main street in town where we were walking. Such a tourist thing to do, but hey let’s face it…. I’m a tourist!

We are all very excited about tonight! We are all going to the Windsor Horse Show for the Eventing Grand Prix! I have never been to one before, and there aren’t many of them in the States. I believe it is basically just an indoor thing in a big arena that is a mix of Cross Country and Show Jumps at around the 2* level in height (so not quite 4’). Izeb from the farm is riding her 4* horse in it as well as Clayton and Lucinda Fredericks and many other big name riders. So it should be really fun to watch. Hopefully tomorrow’s blog post should have some fun pictures from that outing. The only problem with going is that the EGP doesn’t start until about 9:00pm and it’s a little over an hour away. Needless to say it is going to be a late night! And David will be here tomorrow morning again for lessons starting at 8am. I should probably go take a nap… or atleast get comfortable and watch a movie for a bit.

I’m still missing home and everyone there. This is so much fun and I’m not ready for it to be over, but I’m going to be looking forward to hanging out with Walter, seeing Mom and Dad and picking up Madi, having Game Night with Candice Randall and Clay, and hanging out at my barn with my ponies and all of my girls. J I am getting reports though that things are going well at home, so that’s always good to know.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Almost Famous

The most amazing thing about the past few days to me has been the company that we are keeping here in England. I have learned that our host, David Green, is a four-time Olympian (there is a gold medal sitting on the coffee table...!), and rode at the World Equestrian Games for Australia. He also completed Badminton 19 times and Burghley 10 times (if I remember that correctly). I might be a little slow to put things together, but apparently David Green was once married to (the Great) Lucinda Green (hence her last name…). Their daughter was here the past 2 days and she looks JUST like her mother! One of David’s house guests all week has been a man called “Patch” who turns out to be the President of the FEI Eventing Division (But I think I mentioned that last time). Last night another guest showed up and introduced himself as ‘Eric from Sweden’ when we went over to hang out. It turns out that he is the coach of the New Zealand National Team. Good Grief! So today Patch was teaching jumping lessons all morning in the arena and a man rode in on a very fancy 5yo German-bred bay. He smiled when he walked by Paige and me and introduced himself as “Clay.” That would be Clayton Fredericks. Yep, the Clayton Fredericks that rides for Australia and won Rolex just a couple of years ago. The same Clayton Fredericks who is married to Lucinda Fredericks who won Rolex this year on her amazing mare Headly Brittania. Wow! He was so incredibly friendly, which is a huge plus. I set fences for all of Clayton’s jump lessons with Patch today (he brought 4 different horses) and afterwards Clayton asked me if I minded helping his groom get everyone settled…. Of course I don’t mind! Let’s just say it was an honor!

After all of the morning lessons were finished we took our horses to Barbury Castle to gallop on the track up the mountain. I had heard that the landscape there was completely breath taking and it did not let us down. The track itself was incredible. They have several different gallops there, but today we went on the one that is 4 furlongs up a very steep upgrade to the top of a large hill. Six horses went to gallop today. We had Jess and Trevor, Amy Tryon and Leyland, Phillip Dutton and TruLuck, Jennifer Wooten and The Good Witch, a lady named Sally who apparently rode the horse she galloped today at the last European Championships, and Lizeb on the horse she took to Badminton and will be taking to the Europeans in a few weeks. It was awesome watching all of those great horses gallop in that beautiful setting!

The last 3 Canadian horses arrived at the farm late last night. Jessica Pheonix brought her two horses, Tucker and Digby to run Blenheim, and Diana Burnett’s horse Manny came to run Burghley. We were all hoping to go into London tonight to do a bit of sight-seeing but I think we need to stay on the farm and do drinks and dinner with David and Jackie (Green). Maybe we’ll go into the city tomorrow night.

It is definitely fun and beautiful here, but I do miss home. But it’s fun while it lasts here! Can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Catching Up

Sorry I'm so behind on writing! I've spent the last 2 days on the road or on a plane, not so good for spending time online. Yesterday was a fun day. My flight arrived in London around 9:30 Monday morning (England time. Around 3:30am Alabama time). Ofcourse, I was held at Customs for about 2 hrs.... funny really, but let's hope it doesn't happen again!

Once all of the grooms arrived we were picked up and driven to Stansted to pick our horses up from the Airport there. That was such a cool thing! All of the horses were brought in their crates to the quarantine area (picture below of horses in their crates. looks like 3 white horse trailers tagged together). Everyone travelled well, and Max went on and on about what a champ Trevor is and how well he did throughout the whole thing. :) Once the horses were all unloaded and checked over with their paperwork, they were loaded onto the lorry with all of our equipment and we were taken to David Green's farm in Marlborough, where we are staying for the next few weeks.

By the time we got to the farm it was almost dark, so we got the horses settled and our things unloaded and semi-organized and called it a night. Jackie Green cooked a great dinner for all of us, so we had a good meal in the house with some fun people (including the President of the FEI Eventing Division. haha!).

This morning Paige and I took Trevor and Parker for a nice hand walk. There are lots of sheep in pastures everywhere and lots of bunnies hopping all over the place. The horses are terrified of the sheep.. that's going to be interesting to watch! haha! Jess and Kyle arrive from the airport sometime in the next few hours. Not sure what's in the plans for the rest of the day after that, but we'll see! I'll update as often as possible.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Awe-inspiring and so full of history...

I have just watched the sun come up from the barn here in Gladstone, NJ at the United States Equestrian Team headquarters. We arrived here at 4:12am Sunday morning after leaving Richland, MI at 3:23pm on Saturday. After such a long drive, I would have thought that nothing could spark my attention other than getting Trevor settled and crawling into a bed in the upstairs dorm rooms. But then we pulled up the driveway..... The barn here must be 150 years old, if not older, and it is one of the grandest buildings I have ever seen. Unloading Trevor in front of the massive grand enterance to the barn was one thing, but leading him into the barn aisle towards his stall... I just had to take a deep breath.

This facility used to be the training facility for the USET back when Jack LeGoff was coaching the Team. Back when the US Eventing Team was a dynasty that could not be conquered. In those days, many Team horses were owned by the USET and those horses lived here and their riders trained here for international competitions. Some (if not *most*) of the greatest Event Horses of all time have lived in this barn. Just thinking about the great horses and riders who have called this their home, and how many gold medals have been won out of this building will almost bring a tear to your eye. I wonder what great horses lived and passed through the very stall that Trevor is napping in right now. Or who slept in the bed that is made for me upstairs (ya know, the one I can't bear to go lie down in because I want my eyes to soak up every square inch of this place before I leave). There are large signs by the front entry of all of the American riders who have won Team medals in the last 100 years or so. Some of the stalls are dedicated to great horses and marked by plaques. These horses include Brettina, Giltedge, Prince Pinache, Foltaire, and several more.

Kyle Carter arrived here at around 5:30 this morning and I helped him get Parker settled in since Missy and Brewster went straight to bed when we got here this morning. This is Kyle's first trip to this facility as well, but not Kyle's first big outing. Kyle and Parker have run Rolex several times, and were on the Canadian Team for both the Pan American Games in Rio, Brazil and the Olympics in Hong Kong. I had hoped to get some pictures and do all of my gawking before any of the veterans arrived....ya know, the ones who have done this kind of thing several times and don't think it's so cool anymore. But I was glad to see that Kyle was as in awe as I was. When I commented to him about that he just looked at me and said the best thing, and it's something that I will remember when I think that I'm supposed to outgrow being impressed by such greatness. He said "If this history doesn't effect you like this, then you are in the wrong business. This stuff is why we all do what we do. This is what it's all about." And he was so right.

I am sitting at the edge of the 'Dick and Jane Brown Dressage Arena' typing this, as it's the only spot I could find internet coverage. This "arena" is completely impressive in itself. It is surrounded by a low stone wall all the way around, brick pillars at both entrances with sculpted stone pots on top, and bleechers along one side. The plaque at the main entrance to the arena says: "dedicated to those who ride here with their hopes and dreams to make the team". That seems to be the theme of this whole place. Not the politics, the money, or the heartbreak, but the hopes and dreams of all who walk through those doors. If I wasn't ready to go to England before, I certainly am now.

I have several pictures to add to this post, but for some reason the connection is not good enough to post them now. I will make sure to add them later so that you can see atleast an idea of what this place is like. I wish I could send via blog the feeling of greatness this place gives off just before the sun comes up... I might never feel that again. It was almost like the ghosts of the great horses of the past were welcoming Trevor into an elite club.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ready..... Set.........

So today was an "off" day in that Trevor was not competing. But we got a lot done! We unpacked pretty much everything for the trip, put silver duct tape with Jess's name on almost everything Trevor has, and then repacked it all. Trevor did some flat work just to stretch his legs and work on some little details (like the ever-evil rein back).

I got to spend a lot of time with Elizabeth today. :) We went shopping at the vendor village at the horse show and I got a really cute Polo shirt for like half what they usually cost (I'm cheap and all about some deals!). Then I braided Freddie, Elizabeth's Novice Pro of a horse, and made him all pretty for his dressage test. He looked like such a big boy! Freddie's dressage test was SO great! Elizabeth should be very proud of her pony and how far he's come in the past year. He is a really nice horse! He scored a 38 and is just out of 8th in his division in his very first Novice HT. Yay Freddie!

Trevor goes Cross Country in the morning at like 10:35 eastern time. I walked the course with Jess this afternoon and it looks really good. BIG, but good. Hopefully it will be a good positive run for the both of them before shipping out for the big show. Jess leaves for the airport really soon after she rides, and I'll stay at the show w/ Trevor until about 3:00. Then we head out with Missy and go to Gladstone for quarantine. We should be getting there around 3 or 4 am... long drive. The horses will get fluids and have a chance to rest while in NJ. I will have to leave for Newark Airport at 11:00 am Sunday, but Trevor's flight won't leave JFK for Stanstead until 11:00 pm. My flight from Newark leaves a little before 7pm Sunday evening and I'll arrive in London at Heathrow Airport around 10:00 am Monday (local London time).

I'm sure I won't be able to post tomorrow, because I'll go straight from the horse show to the truck for the long drive. But I should be able to post something from the Airport when I get settled in at Newark. Saturday and Sunday are one long strung-together day in my mind, but to everyone else I'll miss a day on here. Sorry!

Say a prayer that Trevor and Jess have a great and safe run on cross country tomorrow and that we have a safe drive to NJ. The next few days are going to be very long and full of travel!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dressage day at Richland

Trevor did Dressage today at Richland and was such a good boy! His trot work really is better than ever, he's really come a long way. We had some rain today, but luckily it stopped just long enough for Trevor's test. He is not show jumping and completing the competition, so placings don't matter at all... but he scored a 37 and is standing in 10th after Dressage. He got extra treats today :)
Tomorrow is an off day for Trevor. He doesn't run cross country until Saturday morning, so we'll spend the day tomorrow unpacking and repacking everything to make sure that everything is where it needs to be for the big trip to England.
Elizabeth is on her way up right now (didn't get to leave KY until after work so she won't be here until really late. Bless her heart!). I'm so excited to get to spend the day with her tomorrow! I'll be braiding the great Freddie for his first Novice dressage test tomorrow. :) Elizabeth and I will spend the rest of the day (when I'm not packing, ofcourse) walking XC courses and shopping at the vendor village. Should be a fun day. :) Hopefully it won't rain!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'm sitting in the airport in Birmingham waiting to get on my flight to Kalamazoo, MI. I am so bad at saying good bye! And I can assure you there are plenty of people that I had to say good bye to in the last 2 days. First my horses (especially my Jelly) and my kids at the barn, then Walter, and this morning I had to leave my puppy at my parents' house and then say bye to my parents when they brought me to the airport. So sad!

But the happy ending is that the "big adventure" has officially begun. I was so proud of myself for having everything so organized for this trip. Every bill, every horse, every list, every job has been perfectly arranged so that there are minimal (if any) questions while I'm gone. And then I forgot the most important thing...... Yesterday I made copies of my drivers licence and health insurance card just so that I would have copies if I need them while I'm gone.... yeah.... I left the actual cards in my copier at my house! I didn't realize that until I went to get out my passport and license when it was time to head to the airport this morning. I have no Drivers License! What an idiot... My sister is on her way to my house to get them right now and they hopefully can be fedexed to me in Michigan over night. Luckily I can get on my flight today with just my passport, but I'm not totally sure I can get out of the country without it. And if nothing else, it definately puts a dent in the plan that when I get to MI today I was supposed to rent a car for the week.... Guess we'll have to figure out another way to get around for a couple of days.

I'm hoping to have internet in MI, but who knows. The girls at home have already been doing a great job of keeping me company via email. :) Thanks girls!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Almost time to go! Found out Friday night that instead of leaving home this coming Friday to fly up to Michigan, I'm leaving Wednesday morning. So I have today and tomorrow to get everything ready and packed and then I'll drive to Birmingham tomorrow night after my last lesson so it's an easy trip to the airport on Wednesday morning. That means cramming a week worth of stuff into 2 days, but I think I've just about got it all under control.

I'm really excited about going to Richland, mostly to get to see my best friend that lives in KY. Her horse is being ridden by a really good young rider this year and he is doing his first Novice HT at Richland this weekend. So I"m thrilled to get to go and see Freddie do his big move-up and spend some time w/ Elizabeth!

Trevor seems to be doing well at Jan's in VA. Jess says his work has been good and he is jumping well. He's even gained some weight! (Good thing for such a picky eater!). I'm looking forward to getting to see (and curry!) him again. It's been about 2 weeks since he left home.

And just like that, it's time for this adventure to begin! After planning this trip all year, it's hard to believe that it's actually time to do this. :) Wish us luck! Hopefully I'll be able to post from Michigan. If not, then see ya in England!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New plans, old plans, and lots of lists

So our plans have changed about a million times in the past week, but all eyes are still on that one main goal of getting to Blenheim and making the Canadian team proud. Jess and Trevor had a little..."glitch"... at Wits End CIC 3* last weekend. For the first time ever, Jess fell off of Trevor. And Jess doesn't do anything if she doesn't do it in fine form. haha! So after a dramatic spill at fence 7 on XC, our plans have taken a tumble of their own. We've gotten pretty good at changing complex plans in the matter of a couple of days and making it look like it was supposed to happen that way.

Old Plan: Run Wits End, then Trevor goes to Jan Byyny's for the week to be worked and get ready, then I fly to VA next Friday to finalize packing and then ride to NY with Max (Karen O'Connor's groom) and on to England. (Seems so simple now... haha)

New Plan: Trevor is in VA at Mara Dean's being ridden and taken great care of by Mara (thanks Mara!) because poor sweet Jan had a spill of her own at Phillip's farm on a younger horse and broke her foot. (so no Burghley for Jan. Bummer!). Jess and Trevor will run Advanced at Richland Park next weekend, Aug. 22 and only do the Dressage and XC. So I will be flying either to Michigan to meet them for Richland, or to VA to drive to Richland with them, not sure yet (I'm learning to handle less strict scheduling... it's hard for me!). Then on Sunday I will take Trevor, either with Max or Missy Ransehausen (I just butchered her name... but I'm too tired to look it up right now, I'm sorry Missy!) to NY for quarantine and then on to England. Jess is planning on meeting us in England a day or 2 later.

So to be completely honest, I just typed the last half of this blog post and clicked "enter" and my laptop deleted the rest.... Grrrr!

I will be spending my remaining days at home typing lists to make sure that everything I am leaving behind is easy to take care of for the wonderful people who are helping me out. There is so much to organize and arrange I actually have a list of all of the lists that I need to type! But it will all get done and all will be well. :)

On a less stressful and chaotic note: I got a new horse this week! Her name is Emma and she is one of the most gorgeous horses I have seen! (she's not exaclty smiling in this picture on the left, but she really is quite pretty). Emma is a lovely blood bay and a beautiful body type. She is 14 and has been an eventer for quite a while and even did quite well this past Winter in Florida with the big kids. I am so looking forward to having some fun and fight-free (no offense to Jelly lol) competitions with her in the future! Jelly is still doing really well and is on track to do his move-up soon. The original plan of moving up this weekend on the 15th at Poplar fell through because Jan had to cancel the clinic, Jess had to leave and wouldn't be around to help me with him, etc. So the Training Level debut has been pushed back to after the England trip, but that's really ok. That will just give me enough time to prepare and enjoy it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Chaos and Downtime

Chaos and Downtime... a bit of a contradiction, yes? That's life.
The chaos started Wednesday evening when we found out that our flying buddy for England, Kyle Carter, had decided not to make the trip. No biggie right? Just fly with someone else out of a different airport (as opposed to ATL just down the street). Not that easy though. Driving Trevor to Canada this week for Wits End, then back down (about a 24hr drive), just to drive *back* up to NY or Toronto in 2 weeks, put him on a plane for 9 hrs, then depending on where we would fly out of, possibly putting him on a lorry for a 9 hr drive to our yard.... not a good idea! Too much travel for a pony. So we decided the only way to do it in Trevor's best interest would be for them to not come home from Wits End and to just stay up North. Great plan! But wait... *We hadn't started packing for Europe yet!!!* (Insert nervous breakdown here). So we had Thursday and Friday morning to get everything packed, not only for a week at Wits End, but also for 2 weeks in VA at Jan's, and almost 4 weeks in England! Never fear, we got it all done. I definately won't say that I would want to do it again though!

The downtime came in a little later. We got all of the packing done and I hit the road heading for Augusta, GA for the weekend to visit my boyfriend who has been living up there all summer on an internship. We went to a movie friday night and then were on the road very early saturday morning heading for Charleston, SC for a day of walking the streets, shopping, eating, and relaxing. It was wonderful! The weekend ended all too soon after a nice church service Sunday morning and lunch at The Augusta Country Club. I had to be back home to take care of both barns full of horses Sunday evening. But it was a great trip! So nice to spend some time together and just relax... no stall cleaning!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Gearing up for big things!

So it's July 26th... only a few days until August. Why is that important? Because August is when all of the fun starts! Trevor and Jess leave a week from today on Aug. 2nd to make the long haul up to Canada for the Wits End CIC 3*. Luckily Jess won't have to make the trip alone as she is meeting up with Kyle Carter in Atlanta and they will make the rest of the trip up together. I wish I could go, but there are a lot of horses being left behind at the farm that still have to be fed, groomed, and ridden every day. Not to mention that I have to teach as many lessons as possible in the next few weeks and earn as much money as I can so that I can enjoy our trip to England!

The week after Jess and Trevor get back from Wits End we have a big clinic planned. Jan Byyny is coming down to teach a clinic at a friend's farm in Montgomery. I'm SO excited! I'll be taking Jelly for both days and can't wait to see what Jan does with us! Jumping day should just be a lot of fun, but I'm hoping Dressage day turns out to be a serious butt-kicking for Jelly and hopefully we can solve some of the issues we've been dealing with on the flat.

Two days after the big clinic is a schooling show at Poplar Place. I'm definately planning on taking Jelly, but can't decide what level to enter. We've been doing Novice together for SO long, and I would really love to make the move up to Training for this combined test. I know he can do the show jumping well, but he's so inconsistent in his dressage work. Maybe if we can get some good work done before then, in combination with the Jan clinic that week, maybe Jelly will make his big move-up that weekend. We'll see!

The weekend after the Poplar show is a H/J show near Montgomery where I'll be taking all of the kids from Silver Lining. That should be a fun day for all of the kids. :) Then it's only a few days until our plane leaves for England! It's hard to believe how close it is now!

Fingers crossed that the next 4 weeks go by smoothly and with no nasty suprises. We're almost there! Also, my parents got home late last night from their mission trip to Venezuela. They had a great time and are very happy to be home in the air conditioning and far from any machine guns. :) So glad they had a safe and successful trip!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Proud Day for Silver Lining Eq. Center!

Today, all of the kids from Silver Lining Equestrian Center went to Poplar Place for their first Dressage tests. I was so proud of all of them!!! Everyone was on time (ie-pre-sun-up) this morning to the barn and did a beautiful job of bathing and grooming their horses. We made it to Poplar in plenty of time to relax and watch a few tests to see how it's done.

Madison and Autumn went first for the group and had a *super* test. Madison accomplished all of the goals that we had for today and did a great job with all of the little things we have been working on. Ivy and Duncan went immediately after Madison and also had a awesome test. Very accurate and lovely! Then after a 20 min break, Lindsey was next on Jessie. I am so very proud of Lindsey for her judgement today and her mature decisions (she is only 10 after all!). Jessie has been a little "cranky" lately and Lindsey decided in warm-up that she thought riding her test wouldn't be a good idea. So she was given permission to pull up at any point if she felt uncomfortable and after a lovely center line and a good trot circle, she waved happily to the judge and exited the arena with a smile on her face. What a trooper! Lauren was next (also on Jessie) and that kid was determined to make it through her test. She put her 'ninja game face' on (hey, she's only 9) and she rode her little legs off! Unfortunately, Jessie's crankiness caused her to step out of the arena... but that didnt' slow Lauren down! She immediately went right back in and finished her test. lol! The judge allowed her to finish...who would ring the bell on such a gutsy little rider?! She did get an "E" on the scoreboard, but I have never been so impressed with the determination of one single person. She wins the "Determined Rider of the Year" award! :)

I was the last ride of the day on Lindsey's Haflinger pony, Wiseman. He has never done anything even resembling dressage but, as the judge put it on his test, he's a "happy worker." So after 2 prep rides, I took him and just did an Intro test on him and darn if he didn't blow us all away! He had a lovely and very obedient test to finish 3rd in a class of 9 horses!!! Not bad for a first-timer!

After the show was over, I took my main man Jelly cross country schooling with Mary Kate and Duncan (first xc school for both MK and D). We had so much fun! Jelly was..... strong.... to say the least. lol He was very excited. But he jumped amazingly, and schooled all of the Novice and most of the Training courses really well. MK had a great time and did a beautiful job over the Ameoba and Tadpole courses. She also had the most lovely up/down banks and water schooling for a first-timer I've ever seen! Duncan loved it and they took it all in stride. Maybe next time we'll throw in a few BN fences. :)

So it's not even 7pm and I'm SO sleepy and totally sunburnt. But it was worth it. I have a really exceptional group of kids and parents who are all so supportive of each other. We had a really great day together! I'm going to go play for a minute with my new Laptop and probably head to bed early. Everyone say a prayer for my parents this week. As I am typing this, they are on a plane to Venezuela for a mission trip. They will be putting roofs on churches down there as well as spending a good bit of time in the communities with the people.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Good Weekend at Maui, and a busy weekend coming up!

Well, this week has been a whirlwind of chaos. The good kind of chaos, ofcourse. ;) Trevor and Remi got home from Chicago on Monday after a good weekend for both. Trevor had a pretty good dressage test in the Advanced division. Not his best, gotta get that canter work a little more forward, but solid work. He jumped phenomenally XC Saturday! Jess took it really slow w/ him, wanting to be sure he stays sound and is fit enough for his tasks. But he jumped better than ever! SJ went well for Trev. One rail came down, but as I say "Whatever." lol I think he and Jess disagreed on the striding down a line so the rail fell. I think we can definately consider it a very successful outing for the 2 of them! One step closer to the big show!
Remi ran Novice at Maui Jim and was awesome. Was 1 point off the lead after dressage... the funny part? Jess turned the wrong way after the first trot down center line, so he was 1 pt off the lead with a 2 point error! She won't do that again... :) He jumped fast and clean xc and also had 1 rail in SJ on Sunday. He finished a good 3rd place. (Only his 3rd HT, finished in the ribbons in all of them and finished 1st and 3rd in 2 of them. Not bad!). Trevor, Remi, and Salsa are going down the road this weekend to an "A" jumper show in town. Trevor will do a Mini-Prix, and the others will go do some jumper classes to keep sharp.

At my other barn, all of my kids are getting ready for their "Big" schooling show at Poplar Place on Saturday. It will be the first dressage test for all of them... *gulp* All of the kids have worked SO hard to prepare for this show, I really want it to go well for them. There are a couple of opinionated ponies being ridden though, so we'll see. ;) Introductory tests A and B have never been so daunting! Say a prayer for them all that they keep their cool and ride as well as I know they can! I'm also going to be doing Intro B on one of my girl's Haflinger pony. That should be fun to see! Afterwards Jelly and I are schooling XC with another one of my students. It's her first time on xc and she is *very* excited. So it's gonna be a big weekend! Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Well, Jess left the barn this morning with 3 horses in the trailer heading off to Chicago by way of Nashville for the Maui Jim HT the weekend. After spending last week at Jan byyny's Surefire Farm, Trevor seems to be fit and ready for his Advanced run. He jumped at home yesterday and WOW was he jumping out of his skin! Jess told me to set them up "big".... yeah... I have to confess that when I'm setting fences, I'm Jess's biggest challenge. haha Somehow 4'6" doesn't look all that big when I'm standing right next to it (which seems so Let's just say that Trevor should be plenty prepared for his SJ round on Sunday. :)
Remi is going to run Novice this weekend too. He's our cute little do-it-all horse. He's a stylish little hunter with an easy way of going, a fancy and easy dressage horse that has won the dressage (and then his whole division) at major horse trials, and a game "if you want me to I'll do it" type on XC. So he should be a fun ride for Jess this weekend.
The third horse on the trailer was Bo. Bo is Jess's retired Intermediate horse and one of the *coolest* horses in the world. He's the type that anyone can get on and go out in the trot field or have a dressage lesson on to learn some upper level movements, or Jess can pull him out of the field right before a show to "make sure her eye is on" and jump him around a 4' course like he never had a day off. He also is the horse that took me around my first Training Level combined test (packed me around, might I add! Lol). So Bo is going to Nashville for a few months to babysit Jess's sister's horse for a while. I hate for him to not be at the barn! But he'll enjoy chillin in the pasture and getting fat.

Like most things in life, when the old leave, new will come. That's exactly what has happened at the barn. With Bo leaving (and Salsa scheduled to go to his new home in a few weeks) we just got 3 new horses. Vicki is a 4yo Holsteiner filly that Jess's sister raised and started. She is now at our barn ready to get some education and fix herself on the road to the upper levels. She is a plain bay, and a BIG girl! Far from finished growing, she's about 17hh (totally dwarfs little 15.3hh Trevor!). Such a fancy mover and with a great brain too! She'll certainly be something special. The other new horse is known as "Shaq". He's on off-the-track Steeplechase horse and easily the prettiest horse I've ever seen. He's a 17hh dark blood bay with a white blaze and 2 even white socks on his fronts. He won't start being ridden for 6-8 months as he just came off the track, but he will be a fun one when he is ready! The 3rd new horse is a boarder, one of Jess's students. Irish is a sweet little guy that just seems very happy with life. That's a good type to have to deal with every day and I'm glad to have him there :)

So I have the barn to myself this week. It will be an interesting week getting to know the new horses and riding the ones Jess left behind. I'm excited to start getting updates from Chicago. Hopefully it'll be a great confidence-building run for both of them and a great stepping stone to being ready for our big trip in 2 months. Prayers for a safe weekend for all!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Jersey Fresh and plans for the Fall

It's that time of the year where we are happy to look back on a very successful Spring season and plan ahead for the Fall. Trevor has had a great year so far and finished off his Spring season with an incredible showing at Jersey Fresh CCI 3*. He and Jess had a really great dressage test to be the top placing Canadian pair after the first phase. Saturday, both Jess and Trevor had their 'game faces' on and made simple work of the cross country course. An unfortunate timing error due to a hold during their run made for more time penalties than they had actually earned, but what can you do? Trevor continues to make my life easy in the barns on Saturday evenings and after a couple of rounds of ice boots, a hand walk, and a smiling vet at the evening jog he was ready for Sunday. Jog-ups are probably one of my very favorite parts of 3-days. That's my phase of the competition ;) Trevor was handsome as ever Sunday morning with his shiny coat, 27 braids, and and knock-out quarter marks. He went on to show jump very well and finished just out of the top ten (darn xc time penalties!). He certainly earned his vacation!

Special congrats to Jess's coach Jan Byyny for her awesome weekend at Jersey Fresh! Jan and Waterfront finished 2nd in the CCI 3* and Jan also finished (I think it was..) 6th in the CCI 2* with JR (InMidAir). JR also won "Best Turned Out" for the 2*, so Yay Lizzie!

Now we are preparing Trevor for his big Fall season. He had a break after Jersey and is now back in work. Next week he travels to Chicago for his first event back at Maui Jim HT to run in the Advanced division. Jess is also taking Remi, her Novice horse. Then Trevor will travel to Toronto with Kyle Carter and his horse Parker to run in the CIC3* division at Wits End. And if all goes well... ***drumroll please*** Jess, Trevor and I will leave at the end of August for England to run the Blenheim Castle CCI 3*. I am so excited about the trip, and really proud of both Jess and Trevor for coming so far in the past couple of years and being so ready for this challenge. It should be an awesome trip and we'll get to share it with some of our Canadian friends. Jessica Pheonix is also planning on taking her two 3* horses Digby and Tucker to Blenheim, and both Diana Burnett and Kyle are taking their horses Manny and Parker to run Burghley 4* the week before Blenheim.

So one step at a time. Here's to a great run next week at Maui Jim! Everyone say an extra prayer that all of our horses and riders stay sound and healthy this season!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Allow me to introduce myself

Hello all!
This is my very first blog post ever, so bear with me. I'll learn as I go. ;) I have been wanting to start a blog for a while to chronicle some of the big adventures I have coming up as well as just the day-to-day adventures in my life. I'll start by introducing myself...

I'm Steph. Stephanie James, actually. Steph is a whole lot easier to spit out, so people generally just go with that. I am a professional three-day event groom and I LOVE what I do! I work for Canadian rider Jessica Hampf who rides the brilliant (can you tell I'm biased? haha) High Society III (Trevor) at the CCI 3* level. We have a barn on a beautiful farm right here in Alabama where we currently have 7 horses with more on the way very soon. I could type forever about each horse, but I'll spare you the details. Like pretty much every other person in the horse industry I love to ride, but grooming is my passion. That includes keeping the barn clean, currying Trevor until every hair on his body sparkles (this is actually an unhealthy obcession of mine that Jess constantly teases me about), going to shows, managing Jess's craziness (just for you Jess!), etc. I love it all. :)

I also have my own group of horses at another barn nearby where I teach beginner-type lessons. I have been blessed with a small but wonderful group of families and their horses to teach lessons to, train, coach at shows, and just teach the basics of responsible horse ownership and care. Our group right now consists of 7 horses (must be my magic number), 2 of which are my own, and 4 families.

Two of the kids that I teach I also take care of... is it really "babysitting" when they are 9 and 10?... 5 days a week. I started teaching them lessons in 2005 and from there the relationship grew to the point where today we are really more family than anything. :)

So that is the basic run-down of my list of jobs. Reading through that most people would probably wonder how many hours there are in Alabama days... let me assure you that there are PLENTY! lol But I love all of the things that I do and even though it makes for LONG days, I nearly always go to bed with a smile on my face and am happy to start again the next morning.

The rest of 'me'? I love God with all of my heart and thank Him every day for allowing me to live all of my dreams so far. I have an amazing family! I have the greatest parents in the world (If you thought your parents had that title, sorry. :) Mine take the cake!). I also have a sister who has turned out to be pretty cool and a good friend. She is married and has a son who is the cutest baby in the world! I have an awesome boyfriend. We have been together for a little over 5 1/2 years and counting. My horse "Jelly" is the greatest friend a girl could have. He is the cutest, sweetest, most satisfying thing in the world and even after 5 years of looking at that face he still makes me giggle. :)

I think that's enough about me. It's a pretty good run-down of who I am and what I do. Maybe tomorrow I'll actually get to the "Adventure" part. ;) We have some awesome things planned for the rest of the year! Stay tuned!

God Bless!