Greetings from England!

The last couple weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind, but we seem to have settled into the groove of things here just in time to pick up and leave for Barbury on Tuesday! The time here started for me with a massively uncomfortable stomach ache that I had never experienced before and Arthur sleeping like a dog (obviously tired from his travels). I was in a lot of pain, but Arthur fortunately was perfectly comfortable in his new digs here in the heart of the Cotswolds. Luckily for me I was correctly diagnosed by Dr Karen O’Connor (confirmed by the new team doc, Mark Hart via telephone) with some sort of acid issue most likely caused by stress. STRESS?!?!? Hmmmmm…. well, yes, the week prior to this trip was incredibly stressful! I was pretty anxious all day on the Monday after Bromont waiting for the call about the Short List. I didn’t really want to jinx myself by planning that I would be on the plane prior to getting the call, which meant once I got the call it was full speed ahead with packing and planning for being away from home for a really long time. I was incredibly overwhelmed by the amount of things I needed to accomplish in less than a week. A huge fundraiser was successfully pulled off in just a few days (huge thanks to my amazing friends: John, Patricia and Shawna Staut, Tom Gorman, Jessica Rich, Kristane Kristiensen, Liz Billings, Geraldine Peace, Todd Lodge and Andrew Chippendale). The party was not only a huge success from a fundraising point of view, but it was also just a really beautiful and fun party!!! I didn’t go to bed until 2:30 in the morning — not too bad for a party that was supposed to end at 10:oo pm! Packing for a horse and a girl who both like to dress up and look good for a long trip to Europe in as few “suitcases” as possible is never an easy chore! I think my biggest worry was making arrangements for the horses, girls and my son (Bodie the dog) being left at home. So by the time I actually landed in England I had a really bad pain going on just below my ribs. I was not a happy camper, however, a couple of days of Ranitidine and Omeperozole made me as good as new (yes, the same drugs we give the horses for ulcers — don’t worry I wasn’t stealing from Arthur’s supply, I had the human variety from the pharmacy)!

Since we’ve been here we have had a short time to get settled in, rested and start looking ahead to Barbury. Our accommodations here are amazing. The horses are based at Eddie Stibbe’s Lavender Hill Stud where they want for pretty much nothing! Beautiful indoor with mirrors, outdoor dressage and jump ring, gallop and beautiful turnout fields. The home I am staying in is about a 20 minute beautiful drive (10 minutes if O’Connor is driving).

Our days here so far:

Tuesday – Arthur sleep all day day; Wednesday – the first day I rode Arthur – a long walk hack and light stretchy flat; Thursday – long walk hack and a good flat school; Friday – Boyd, Phillip and I went cross country schooling. Just a short and sweet one in a beautiful place. I hadn’t jumped a xc fence since Rolex and he was so happy to be out there. Very focused and totally on it! Saturday – the whole group went to Jack Dawes for a fitness day. This was absolutely beautiful! Definitely one of the nicest gallops I have been to. When I say gallops there were multiple different gallops up the hill. We used the two all weather gallops, the longer one was over a mile long up the hill. My horse felt great, plenty fit, and the only exciting moment was my first time up the gallop there was a family of backpackers with huge packs and a couple of dogs that almost walked onto the gallop in front of me! I was teasing Capt Mark that he sent them out there on purpose to test if Arthur would spook at them or not! Ha! and Sunday (today) – We all jogged our horses up in the morning and then I got to spend the day with my dear friend Sam (O’Connell) Lehel and her husband Zolly. They live in London now and came out for the day. I am now waiting for Bettina Hoy to show up for a dressage lesson with her.

I made a huge mistake with Bromont that I didn’t have Arthur back into really full work before arriving there and my result showed it. I was definitely more concerned that he didn’t get to have a very long break after Rolex where he gave me such a focused and beautiful effort. Ordinarily he would have had at least a month off and a slow return to work after that. With Bromont being so close the Rolex, Burbury at the end of June and then the Olympics being at the end of July, I was concerned about the length of time he would need to stay at the top of his game. This has made me really focussed on what I need to accomplish at Barbury next week. I know the only way I can accomplish that result is by having the same attitude I had for Rolex. I know I need to focus on what will make me my best and Bettina is a part of that plan! Fortunately, she will be here tonight! A late lesson, but worth it! I am hopefully going to shenaggle a way to get her to Barbury for Thursday! More on that tomorrow!