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!!! :)