We are brimming with excitement at the arrival of Neville, Otis and Remington as part of the American team of horses at Eddy Stibbe's yard tonight in Naunton, Gloucester, England. The horses have been traveling for 33 hours since we left Cochranville, PA yesterday morning and they were more than overjoyed to have a roll in their beautiful, fluffy stalls here at Lavendar Hill Stud this evening after getting off the trucks that brought them from the airport. All of the horses traveled really well.
Because only one groom was permitted to fly with the horses, the rest of us grooms flew ahead of the horses to set up the stalls and assure that everything was in place for the horse's arrival after their long trip. We ended up having a bit of trouble getting through customs at the airport, leading to an almost three-hour detainment of the entire American portion of our group. But in the end, after a nerve-wracking wait, we managed to talk our way into the UK, convincing the immigration officers that we were indeed here for the Olympics.
We will be based out of Eddy Stibbe's state-of-the-art Lavendar Hill Stud here in England. The farm is picture perfect, including large indoor and outdoor riding rings with superb footing, luscious pastures and stalls bigger than I have ever seen. I think Neville's stall might be bigger than his turnout space at home! The farm is situated just outside the quaint British village of Naunton, complete with cobblestone streets and garden patio dining. Because the horses had not yet arrived and we were short of work this afternoon, we had lunch at a lovely restaurant in town today, chatted with a few locals, and were impressed by their kindness and their excitement over having us here to inhabit their town for the next six weeks. These horses will be living the life of luxury for the next several weeks, and I have to say that the riders and grooms will be as well!
There is already a strong sense of teamwork among the grooms and riders who are here. Team Leaders Sara Ike and Fiona Tibone have done an excellent job of organizing everything from housing for grooms to feed deliveries for horses. Things are running like a well oiled machine, everyone is getting on well, and we are excited for the weeks ahead!