We are finally settled in at the U.S. training camp in Belgium, after a whirlwind week at the festival and then a trek to Europe. I thought the level of horses and riding at the festival was great.
I was particularly thrilled for Laura Graves, who has been part of Debbie McDonald’s “dressage training camp” in Florida, Kentucky, and New Jersey (along with Katherine Bateson and me). Her ride gave me goosebumps, to see it all come together for her at the right moment. I was so overjoyed to see her earn a place on the WEG team. Not only is it exciting to have such a talented, upcoming horse for our country, but Laura is also just a wonderful person, kind horsewoman and team player.
I was happy with Wizard and thought he put in good efforts for me in every test, getting progressively stronger and bolder with each ride. We finished in fourth place overall, meaning we made the cut (top eight riders) to head to Europe for the summer to train and compete. I am so excited and thankful for this opportunity.
This will be the third time Wizard had taken me to Europe: once in 2010, then the London Olympics in 2012 and now to try for a spot on the WEG team. That is more than I could have ever imagined he would give me, and I’m just trying to enjoy every ride and every opportunity I have with him.
All the horses made the trip from JFK Airport in New York to Amsterdam quite well. Tim Dutta was incredibly gracious and took care of all the travel for the U.S. horses. They were treated like the rock stars that they are.In Amsterdam, they were able to get off their pallets and into box stalls, to relax and have a good roll. They rested there for several hours as the paperwork was gotten into order. Then we loaded up again and hauled to Belgium. We are stabled at Stoeterij de Begijnhoeve, which is an incredibly gorgeous, state-of-the art facility. It is a breeding and training farm, with many adorable foals frisking around in the pastures outside.
Our first competition for the continuation of team selection is the CDI at Fritzens in Austria. We leave July 1. I have never been to Fritzens, but hear it is a fantastic show set way up in the mountains of Austria, and I can’t wait to get there.