Friday, April 16, 2010
Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event Lead-Up
We’re down to the final week leading up to America’s biggest and best three-day event in Lexington, Kentucky. Somehow it looks like I’ve managed to get all three horses in peak condition.
Rock on Rose, (pictured at right), has moved back to Chesterland and I’ve been riding her under Bruce’s watchful eye; she seems very fit and happy in her work and I’m eager to get her down to KY. Bruce has opted just to have me gallop Lusty two times from The Fork to KY as we both feel she’s fighting fit and she’s such an athlete, we don’t want to over train her by galloping too much. Her dressage work I feel is consistently improving day by day; the trick with her is to actually ride her a couple times a day, morning and night, just for half an hour at a time. She’s one of these mares you can’t really drill to get the best out of her, you have to do it piece by piece.
Remington, (pictured at left, on the right), the only warmblood out of the trio, his main focus is the fitness work. I feel I’ve got him as fit as humanly possible: he’s been swimming twice a week and has got the hang of that and he’ll do three fast canter workouts up Nelson’s Hill in the three weeks leading up to Kentucky. It gives me great joy to compete Remington at Kentucky as he’s been the one horse that no one expected to do anything in his career – except for Densey Juvonen, his owner. It’s been a wonderful experience being involved in the journey of Remington’s eventing career. Ironically he was basically the first horse that an owner sent to me to train and compete when I arrived in America a couple of years ago and he’s the horse that was never meant to be, as he was originally imported as a dressage horse, tried his hand at a bit of foxhunting, failed a few pre-purchase exams when he was supposed to be sold, and lo and behold here we are about to tackle one of the greatest equestrian events in the world.
Neville (pictured above, on the left), is looking hot to trot: like Lusty I’ve been gently grinding away with the dressage work. He seems really fit and is galloping up Nelson’s Hill with ease at the moment. He is the only horse that I’m riding that has actually done a four-star before (a couple years ago he finished in ninth and I feel he’s way ahead of where he was then). He’s a failed race horse from Kembla Range racetrack south of Sydney, also ready to take on the big time.
Even though I’m the only one riding the horses at Kentucky it’s been a true team effort between my super groom Shannon Kinsley, my assistant riders Lillian Heard, Caitlin Silliman and Sarah Gumblier, the coaches/lovers Silva Martin and Phillip Dutton and Bruce Davidson (only Silva in the lover department!), blacksmith Dougie Neilson, and the veterinarians that have helped out along the way, Kevin Keane, Mary Griffin, Tom Reed and Mike Ross. Thanks also to our outstanding sponsors and last but not least, to the owners who are good enough to trust me with their most prized possessions and to train and compete their horses, Ron and Densey Juvonen and Bruce Davidson. Thanks also to the most important pieces of the puzzle, Lusty, Nev and Remi.