Saturday, September 18, 2010

Boyd Featured in Pre-WEG Article

Boyd and Phillip were featured in an article by the Agence France-Presse out of Washington, DC, which went out to magazines, newspapers and TV and radio, reaching tens of millions of people around the world. Click here to read the article!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Training Camp at Chattahoochee Hills

One of the lakes on the grounds on an early morning hack with Remington

So far so good in the training camp here at Chattahoochee Hills in Fairburn, Georgia. Oded Shimoni has been here working on the dressage with both Neville and Remi the last few days. We’ve also been doing lots of video analyses of the dressage tests we’ve ridden with Mark Phillips. Tomorrow we have a gallop booked in and everyone has been working hard at improving the footing, aggravating it and putting footing down on the track – Carl Bouckaert has a carpet factory and his son-in-law and daughter, Michael and Nathalie Pollard, have a company that makes footing with the remnants.

Mark presenting me with my red coat at dinner last night

We had a team dinner last night where Mark Phillips presented me with my pink coat (which is red). I’m the only one on the American team riding in a red coat for the first time, and that was quite a nice surprise. It’s also still a long ways from the WEG and I know a lot of things can still go wrong with either horse, so even though I’ve got the coat I’ve still got a lot of work ahead of me before I can use it.

Watching a dressage lesson with Karen O'Connor and Becky Holder

All the riders are getting along together very well – there’s a fantastic team spirit in the camp. My next-door neighbor Karen O’Connor has been taking care of me like I was the child she never had. I’ve seen a softer side of Karen which includes cooking me up a cup of coffee every morning and washing my clothes for me.

Hotel Martin: we’re living it up!

I’ve gone for a camping stall in accommodations here at Chattahoochee. While other riders are living the good life in high end hotels, I’ve turned my trailer into a five-star camping facility. I’m keeping myself busy through the day riding Charla and Summer, swimming in the lake and doing running and yoga and watching the other training sessions.

Photos thanks to English Super Groom Andrea Beech!


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Team USA!

Photo copyright Amber Heintzberger

During the meeting today to announce the US Eventing team heading to the World Equestrian Games I felt like I was on a TV reality show with everyone lined up. Head of the selectors Mike Huber had a prepared speech and read out the names of the team members first, in alphabetical order, and then the alternates. I had a big sigh of relief when my name was called out twice, for the team with Neville Bardos and reserve with Remington XXV. I also felt terrible for the riders who weren’t picked. After the announcement we all gave each other a big hug and then went in to have a private meeting with Mark Phillips to decide schedules for the next couple of weeks.

There was a big question mark in the air whether Neville or Remi would get picked: in my opinion they’re both in cracking form at the moment. I feel like Remi’s five points better in the dressage, Neville’s about 5 time penalties quicker cross-country, and they’re about on par for the show jumping. The selectors never pulled me aside and asked my preference. To be quite frank I’m not sure which one is the best choice, which is a great position to be in.

I have to give a big thank-you to Densey Juvonen, the owner of Remington, who was ecstatic that Neville got picked. We’ve decided that Remington will travel to France to compete at Pau later this year if he’s not required to step in at the final hour for the WEG. Ron and Densey have been so supportive to both Silva and I throughout this whole campaign to get to the WEG over the past two years that I feel like they’re a huge part of Neville’s success as well. They’ve been great supporters of not only their own horse but his wind-sucking stable mate Neville Bardos and they’ll still be in Kentucky cheering us on.

Last night Buck Davidson and I went to an Atlanta Braves game to unwind before the big announcement. Now it's on to the final weeks as I prepare for my first opportunity to represent Team USA!


Monday, September 13, 2010

WEG Team Selection Veterinary Inspection

Both Neville and Remington endured a long and tedious examination by Drs. Cathy Kohn, Brendan Furlong, PJ McMahon and Sarah Gold.

It was a long and vigorous exam in front of all the selectors and coaches. It included trot-ups, flexion tests and ultrasounds to check for hidden secrets amongst the horses. Both the boys vetted well and there were no surprises with either of them as they had to endure a similar examination two weeks ago after the Richland CIC.

At the moment everyone is sitting back and waiting for the big decision tomorrow afternoon. There’s an erie, somber feeling through the barn and it’s very interesting and exciting to try and work out who’s staying and who’s going.

American Eventing Championships and Final Outing for WEG Team Selection

Anne Hennessey's Summer Breeze relaxing in the stables

Summer Breeze had an exceptional result at the Novice Championship at the American Eventing Championships at Carl Bouckaert's farm in Chattahoochee Hills, GA – it was the toughest novice course she’s seen by far and she galloped around perfectly. She came out on Saturday and show jumped a brilliant round, much to the delight of her loving owner Anne Hennessey. After this I feel like she’s ready to move up, so I’ll be looking for a training level event to take her to at the end of the year.

The other main mare in my life, Ron and Densey Juvonen's Charla also had a brilliant weekend at the preliminary horse championship. She rocketed around the cross-country inside the time and show jumped her usual clear round, finishing fourth out of an astounding sixty-four entries. Again I think Charla has proved herself this year and wants to look at doing an intermediate some time in the near future.

Getting expert advice from Katie Prudent and Mark Phillips
while Andrea Beech puts the finishing touches on Neville Bardos

The two advanced boys, Remington XXV and Neville Bardos, were excused by the US Selectors from doing the cross-country. They did a mandatory gallop on Saturday morning under the watchful eyes of the selectors and vets. In Sunday’s show jumping our super coaching from Katie Prudent paid off, and we got a hand from Katie with a little warm-up before our rounds. She had them jump through a couple of little grids and some complicated exercises to wake them up and make them think.
Remington XXV

Remington jumped the best round of his life, pulling out a clear round inside the time.

Neville Bardos

The Bardos wasn’t too far off the pace and pulled a rail in the triple but I was pleased with the way they both jumped.

Relaxing with Mark Phillips and Henri Prudent after Neville's round

Today, Monday, my partner in crime Andrea Beech, (top class English working student/groom), and I have a big day of getting through the vet inspection before the team is announced on Tuesday. This consists of flexion tests, longeing on a tight circle and then enduring x-rays and ultrasounds to make sure the horses are in tip top shape.


Photos copyright Amber Heintzberger 2010 - not to be reproduced without permission. Email