Thursday, 30 September 2010

All home....

Just got home after fetching Java from Parkers in Folkstone. Long day though! She is now tucked up in lots of big rugs in her field. I was going to leave her in tonight as it was dark when we got home but she had other ideas. Bless her she was soooo desperate to get outside! Jazz was also very pleased to see her and they had a little chat over the gate!
All personel de Broughton arrived home yesterday after a long flight from Kentucky. Re-united with Jack who I think may have missed us a little!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Leaving on a jet plane.......

Well, that was an experience! I bring my slightly belated posting from Cincinatti airport awaiting our flight to Philidelphia.
What a result! Although we did not get the medal we all worked so hard for we challenged the rest of the world from the onset. At VG 3 we were in bronze medal position by 20 mins and looking good. Haszar leading the british contingent closely followed by Midday, Naz and  then Java at the rear with Winston and Sarah just behind us as the individual. The atmosphere was electric, luckily without the lightening. Starting in the light I feel caused a few problems in the fact that with such an open area it was very difficult to get Java settled and she continued like this for 90km!!!!!! The shouting and cheering and waving flags added drama to the start as the shoot across the start line was fairly narrow, but we got out safe and sound and went on our way. Riding through some amazing properties and studs, locals celebrated our presence with garden and terrace parties drinking bucks fizz and eating lavish food. I attempted on several occassions to acquire these treats but travelling at over 20kph through their gardens made it rather difficult!
The twists and turns and the continuous change of direction paid its toll on little Java by the 4th loop slowing her pace down dramatically but Ros was getting stronger and stronger and climbing up the placings so we became the back up plan. We maintained a pace and continued with fair presentation times and with no worries as far as Java was concerned so we plugged away at the task in hand. However, news came to me as I entered the 5th and final Vet Gate that Naz had been pulled on her re-check prior to leaving onto the final 18km loop. So after a good rest and some nosh Java was taken for her re-check and passing with A's we left the VG with new found aggression and cantered of into the dark. By now it was later than I had anticipated but there was still a race to finish. Java found a new lease of life and sailed around the last loop in 1hr and 20mins picking up and passing horses along the way. Calculating that we would be much longer we took the whole of the supporting TeamGBR and crews by complete surprise who were luckily sat at the finish but had just started a rendition of the 12 days of Christmas counting down the km's. She thundered across the finish line taking my breath away at how she had brought us both home in such a strong way. We presented in a few minutes again with A's across the board.
So now waiting to be transported back to the big bird which will take them and us across the big pond we can all come home with our heads held high. Getting 4 out of 5 horses and riders home, Christine 31st, David 35th, we were 40th and Sarah doing a fantastic job finishing 43rd.
I will continue to write about the events and the whole WEG experience when I get home for you all to read but for the time being Thank You to everyone who helped us get here, supported us and thought about us. I have to leave now, on a jet plane.......... or at least I hope its a jet plane!    

Saturday, 25 September 2010

This is it!!!!!!!

The team is set and ready to go. All horses past vetting today with flying colours and the team of four is:
Me and Java
Ros Jackson and Naz
Chris and Midday
David and Haszar
Sarah and Winston

The weather has finally cooled down today and is supposed to be slightly cooler tomorrow. We have recieved our crewing vehicles curtosy of Land Rover.
So at 12.30pm GMT (25th) we will be underway and you can catch the race on tracker via which I have also put into the links page.
Java is set and ready for the off after a quiet day today. We plan to walk to the start at around 6.45am (11.45GMT) to the warm up area. There is quite a long walk to the start from the stables.
There is not really much more to say other than Thank you for all your messages over the past few days wishing us all Good Luck, and hopefully we can relay some good news tomorrow but you will have to stay up late!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, 24 September 2010

Kick off tomorrow...

...or today by the time most of you read this!
Final preparations are well underway now with the vet gate set up, staking our claim on our piece of Kentucky- low betide anyone who comes near. Our land being protected by a rota of team members throughout the day we maintained our position to the left of the pre-vet area mid-way between the time in gate and the vet in gate. It has been clarified today that we are using the HR monitor system for the first heart rate and sethoscope method for the rideway test HR. The FEI staff are being very strict and have made it very clear that there is no room for unfair play and that if we should do so a yellow card will be issued and will be followed by a red if unfair play continues. This should mean- and I quote- that 'everyone will be on an equal playing field'
Riders will carry GPS tracking devices to allow spectators and home viewers to locate us during the race so tomorrow we will be given the link and I shall place it on here for you.
So vetting will commence at 9am here- 2pm GMT, and the team have to be declared at 1pm here- 6pm GMT. For vetting we shall be wearing our formal Team GBR uniforms, and horses wearing their Team GBR Thermatex, sponsored by Thermatex. Bridles have been sponsored by Zoe Lindopp and all look very smart. Team GBR Range Rovers are being sponsored by Landrover and we will get ours in the morning ready to load up for the crewing out on course.
Mixed emotions have run through the camp today when the hardest thing any rider has to deal with was brought to ahead. We unfortnately had a horse pulled from the team today. Roxanne ridden by Janice Cockley Adams was not quite right this morning and the managment made the very difficult decision to replace her with the Team rider Sarah Rogerson and local horse owned and trained by Stagg and Cheryl Newman. So whilst we all feel for Janice and her crew we welcome Sarah and hers. The main is to keep focused on the job in hand although very difficult.
The rain finally came today and boy we got soaked. After uncovering a natural spring in one of our store stables we decided that hopefully its good luck. Water appeared during the rain shower and made its way like a torrent into the centre of the stables and was redirected by us towards Sweden. The only problem was it kept coming and coming. So after invetigation in Spain, who backs onto us, it was discovered that the water was mysteriously coming up from the ground. I am not sure how the story finishes as I left but last I knew it was still gushing into Sweden and out the other side!
We have now moved into the team hotel down in Gerogetown and remain here until our departure date so are now much closer to the Horse Park, although the shuttle buses are on time and the drivers are very helpful.
The press are now straing to appear with radio interviews today- BBC Radio Nottingham which should be transmitted during Saturday 24th so any of you in Nottinghamshire, keep your ears pealed!!!!!!
So I will retire to my comfy bed and prepare to dress up in the morning. Night Night and keep your eye out for the link to the tracking website being provided by Raddery.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Harvest Moon!

Today is the first full day of the 'Fall' and tonight we watched the harvest moon rise over the Horse Park. The weather has still remained in the mid 90's but the forecast and locals still inform us that it is going to break and by Sunday we shall have showers and highs of mid 70's. I shall not hold my breath though- it has supposed to have been breaking for three days now but no sight of it yet. There are so many forecasts for Sunday from showers and in the 70's to haevy rain for the duration and in the 60's, so who knows- the big man upstairs I guess!!!!!!
I apologise for not updating yesterday but I my computer decided that it did not like any of the networks available here and it wanted to sleep instead but here we are today!
A busy day for Java saw her new go faster tyres fitted (new shoes) so now we have maximum grip on this dry hard going, with provisions for the flooding if it should occur! I was told today by a local that if we have thunder and lightning the race will be stopped immediately- well I shan't argue with that- the reasoning, that so many people have been fatally hit by lightening!!!!! So lets hope we just have showers... Gavin is here also so he set straight to work with the horses too.
Java worked well today, cruising around the training track in the heat of the day, dodging around the Cross Country fences that keep appearing in all sorts of places.
The TV helicopter was also buzzing around most of the day, which makes it all so much more real!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

All Go.......

The Kentucky Horse Park is a hive of activity, buildings appearing in front of our eyes, trucks coming in and out with supplies, and people buzzing around everywhere playing their part in the set up of this magnificent event. It is the most incredible place and with only a few days to go before the Games open, everyone is busy going about their daily routines whether it be competitors, volunteers or the great workforce preparing the site.
'Lock Down' tomorrow means that security becomes amazingly tight with no access for vehicles unless part of the organising team, so tomorrow is the first day of Team GBR shuttle transport from the hotel.
Rachel and Sarah have now arrived along with other crew members and Rob Jackson, getting here tonight after their long flight from Heathrow. Tomorrow sees Kelvin and Gavin arrive along with Annabelle.
Java is in fine spirits but the temperature is still upto 35 degrees, however tomorrow is supposed to bring thunder storms- I think I may sit in car all day after last years run in with the electricity from the sky and a copper drain pipe!!!!!!!!!!! As the guys back home know- I dont do thunder storms!!!!!!!!!
Everyone here ie the locals are fantasic and can not do enough for us constantly telling us how amazing it is that we have chosen their home town for this world class event.
It is also fantastic being part of TeamGBR. The support we have out here is incredible. Chef de Mission, Will Connell works so hard supported by his team and the Team GBR atmosphere is electric. Every day we are sent an update and sayings for the day, information of who is arriving and a medal tally- hopefully we will be the first to add to that!!!!!!
Stepping up the training pace today meant we did some canter work around the steeplchase course. The training track is fairly limited but adequate.
Anyway must go, I have homework to do!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Riding at last!

The horses have now been with us for 48 hours and are all very well. There are no turn out factilities as it would be logistically impossible but between the riding work and walking out in hand they are out the stables for the majority of the daytime. All the horses are good and being ridden stepping up the pace today and again tomorrow. It is incredibly  hot during the day and drops quite cold at night. In fact I sat outside the stables today and thought that this could be the hottest place I have been to compete, including the desert! It is not an unpleasant heat but boy is it hot. Kentucky has had an unusually dry, hot summer this year but I believe it is due to break over the next day or two and drop to highs of 29 degrees and lows of 17 degrees.
We have a training loop  which is approximately 10kms and a lolly-pop route out through the back of the main area with the ground mainly grass- well we are in Blue Grass country!
The dressage horses are here and training and they are amazing. Mind you when we meet on the track the ginormous , majestic steeds look at our tiny colourful athletes with a look of bemusement- it is quite funny!
So all is well and preparation is coming along. Everyone is in good spirits and the race is now creeping up on us.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Its 89 degrees and we are HERE!!!!!

After a long journey via Philidelphia we landed in Cincinatti at 7.30pm, local time and arrived at the Hotel at around 9.30pm.
We have been down to the Kentucky Horse Park and taken our first glimse of the surroundings and the set up and boy its incredible!!!!!! As the games are not due to open until Saturday their is still work going on around the Park but amongst all of that endurance horses train and dressage horses work and the arrivals are ongoing.
The surroundings are fantastic with rolling landscape as far as the eye can see, and more white post and rail fencing than anyone could imagine.
The horses arrived safely this evening on the trailer (American style) transport and look fantastic. Three tailers arrived carrying our horses, other endurance horses and some dressage horses.
 All have travelled well and walked out after half an hour settling in. We have an arena to work in and a training track, and these areas have to be adhered to. Fed, and watered we left them to have some rest and will return in the morning. Some crew are staying out at the park and they will do the late night checks.
Thanks to Phil Hirst, Lisa Davenport, Hugh and of course Pedens for getting them here in such good condition.
I did have some tears of dis-belief when we followed the trailers into the Park as they arrived from the airport- but hey I think thats ok, dont you?
Catch up tomorrow when they have had a full day with us.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Awaiting news...

Just awaiting news of touchdown but all was well on loading. They were all loaded well and were settled at 3.15am this morning.
Garry and I are about to leave for the airport and flying out with other TeamGBR members tomorrow. Will update when I hear news of arrival.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010


In Liege and all settled- beginning loading at 1am (12am GMT), flight due to leave at 6am.

Shes Gone!

So we took Java down to Dover yesterday and they loaded and left Parkers at around 7.30am this morning and last I heard they were in Belgium. All the horses looked good and ready to go and it seemed that all knew the protocol. I await news of their loading and will report back!
Those of you who know Java will more than understand how special this little pony is. Well this time last year I posted a message on the forum to let everyone know she had left for Italy and it is amazing that here I am again, frog in throat just as before letting you all know she has now left for Kentucky! I will keep you all posted on progress but for now take a look at the photos we took during her first leg of her furthest journey yet!
Enjoy- and of course Jack came too and waved and said bye-bye to all the horses as they loaded!

Monday, 13 September 2010

Nearly packed!

So, here we go! Finally the day of our first stage of getting to Kentucky dawns. Just a few more things to do- packing lists, quarantine feeds and horse to wash. So early morning tomorrow, drop Jack at nursery and to work. We plan to hit the road at about 10am and head onto Dover to drop Java off at her overnight stables with her team mates.
Final session today went well- walk (well jogging really), trot, canter just to check everything is working correctly. So finally the wait is nearly over- and everything seems well!
I have boxes, bags and more boxes in side my trunk, with lists everywhere of what is in each box/ bag. Its a funny thing really as you do in fact take much less with you than when you are competing here. All our crewing stuff will be purchased there due to limited space.
Took my saddle apart and changed my girth straps to a patriotic white whilst Jack scrubbed the saddle clean with water and soap- what a fantastic job he did! I do have a picture but am having trouble downloading it- modern technology ehh!!!!!! I will keep trying as it will bring a smile to you all.
So off we go-nearly!


Friday, 10 September 2010

One more session to go...

So yesterday we cantered the 1st loop (32km) and set up a mock Vet Gate. The sun was out and it was perfect weather for training. Using the field I mentioned in an earlier post I managed to make one circuit 5km. Starting at 18kph we increased up to 22kph and she felt really strong. You really feel her get into her cruising pace after about 10km and then onwards and upwards! Well at least that is the plan!
So other than a short interval session tomorrow thats it- training here is done. I do really want to be there now in stables. The sleepless nights are getting a bit of a drag now. 1am, 2am running through VGs, the start, and of course the finish!
I was informed yesterday that the kit which was transported by boat arrived safely 10 days ago, which is good. We will send the remaining kit with the horse.
So we are getting remarkably close really. One week today and I will be on a plane with Garry and the other riders and a few grooms. Gosh...
I have out the link on for the ride information so that you can have a look at the route, VG and timings.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010


Well I have to say, never before have I received the amount and content of information that we have been sent today. Maps, times, speeds etc, everything you could wish for from the organising committee. So the homework begins, well continues! The course has changed from the routes we were shown from last year which is better as the 1st loop has altered from 27km to 37km. Obviously someone decided that it may deteriorate the field somewhat with a VG less than 20miles from the start. The course is technical and I believe will have a higher attrition rate than expected, but time will tell. More info can be found on the EGB website regarding the course.
We have also been sent a detailed itinerary of the horse travel teeling us how and when things will happen. I do have to say I have never recieved so much info before. So those of you who want to wake up in the middle of the night on Wednesday 16th (ha ha!!!) the horses begin loading at 2am European time and take off at 6am. I may be waking up!!!!!!
Anyway must go as last training session tomorrow with her ladyship! Will let you know tomorrow how it went.
See you tomorrow.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

I Think She's Ready!

So I think my little Java is ready to get the job done. So we cantered on Friday. The plan: 16km canter @ approx 22kph. MMmm. Miss Java started very nicely and we trotted around the 3km stubble field which has become very sandy since combining. However from that point it deteriated. She wanted to go faster and I wanted to start at around 18kph building up to a finishing pace of around 24kph. But Oh No... we should obviously be starting at 24kph! So Java being quite difficult to ride on occassions, and so it bagan- The Clash of The Titans!!!!!! After the 3rd loop of riding with all my mite trying not to use my hands and instead ride her from my backside I decided it was safer for everyone if we went back to school so picked a corner and did exactly that. Round and round in circles, changing reins and half halting, Java chomping at the bit getting crosser and crosser but I finally got her back in work mode and managed to get a nice canter back around the field and decided to call it a day. Mind you we went round and round in circles for so long that we still did 16km! I think its time and she is ready! She is like a raging bull- but in a good way with posistive vibes. I do think that when they are training like this they do get to the point where they question how long is it going to be before I get to put all this hard work into action. Bless her- she is not designed to stand in a field and have a chilled life! It would never have been right to keep her in a field even after her near miss with the almighty!
So its nearly only a week to go until we head for Dover where she will stay overnight at Parkers, who will be transporting them to Liege, where they will stay again in stables. I believe they will be loading onto the plane at around 3am and flying off on their 8hr flight on the big bird across the pond. They should arrive in Cincinnati on the same day (16th) and enter Post Arrival Quarantine (PAQ) for approximately 48hours. A set of bloodtests will be done on each horse and the results of these have to be received before they are signed out of PAQ and transported the final 70 miles to their home for the following 10days, The Kentucky Horse Park.
We should arrive prior to the horses on the 18th if everything goes to plan. Which of course it will!

Well done to everyone who completed the Robin Hood ride this weekend and Thank you to the organising committee. Comissorasions to those who didnt. It was tough on the horses.
See you later.
PS keep your questions coming! 

Friday, 3 September 2010


Ok I have had an idea! If anyone out there would like to throw questions in my direction I will do my best to answer them and post them on the blog. Any questions of interest about WEG training, preparation for travel and race or even what my favourite colour is!!!!! This is a blog for you guys out there so get thinking!
Talk soon!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Back to Work!!!!

Good evening guys! Well after another sleepless night Jack finally woke up this morning after a few worrying days and seemed well enough to venture out so I could go and work Java. Non the worse for her unplanned few days off she shouted over the gate to me, which was quite nice. I have to admit, after not mucking out for 3 days I got quite excited when I drove into the yard and saw that her stable needed doing!!!!
Opting for a fairly easy session in the school we worked for 30 minutes on transitions and circles/ bending. After our Yogi session we were left with plenty of ideas for exercises which we did a number of. I have come to realise that these exercises are so essential when it comes to training after a long time of knowing but avoiding the situation.  Think of a race ride or qualifier. Having a soft balanced horse through increase/ decrease of pace, through turns and differing terrain dramatically reduces the risk of injury and although you can not prevent all risks you can certainly improve your chances! So we worked quietly in the school for 30 minutes and then Java enjoyed a sports massage.
Jack has stayed with granny tonight and already I have had a phone call to let me know that he has eaten all his dinner (finally after 3 days of hardly a bean) and that he is tucked up in bed having said good night to the combine and tractors coming home for the night across the road. So hopefully a good nights sleep and an early start tomorrow. My id stickers arrived today for my big metal travel trunk that will accompany Java to the US along with a contents list. So I suppose over the next few days it would be an idea to begin thinking about what is going inside it. Must remember to fit the saddle in!!!!!
See you tomorrow.