|Photo of Phillip Dutton and Trading Aces courtesy EventingNation.com|
For the first time I attempted to do The Fork Horse Trials as a spectator/owner/coach, and it was a very different perspective for this great event. First and foremost, I’ve gotta say, Phillip Dutton is one of the greatest blokes in the world to risk his neck competing my three horses without having ridden them prior to the event. He’s a humble champion, always helping everyone out behind the scenes and he did a fantastic job on all three of my horses.
Shamwari was fantastic in dressage; he had a course error in show jumping and then schooled well around the three-star cross-country. Trading Aces was equally brilliant, and Phillip and I decided to run him full throttle around cross-country and he handled it well, and won the advanced by a mile. The one I was probably most impressed with this weekend was Otis Barbotiere; there’s no question he’s fitter, sounder and stronger than ever. He was unbelievable in all three phases and I can’t tell you how excited I am to have him back in the mix.
My team of four-star girls that I coach: Caitlin Silliman, Lillian Heard and Erin Sylvester, all were awesome. All three of these girls are class riders who all had the perfect outing in the run-up to Rolex. I’m very pleased for all of them because I feel like they’re all in line to do well in a couple of weeks.
Lastly I want to send my condolences to one of my best friends, Will Coleman, who sadly lost his horse Conair after a fall on cross-country. I’ve watched Will pour 110% of his energy into Joey since getting the ride on him last year and it was brilliant to watch how much the horse had improved. It was just a tragedy, not only for Will but the people who supported the horse. I can tell you, it takes an unbelievable amount of energy, effort and support to gain the ride on a horse of that caliber.