Saturday, March 31, 2007
Friday, March 30, 2007
In my sport of 3-day eventing, it is traditionally understood that the British riders, the Australian riders, and the New Zealanders kick everybody's butts on the international scene. Of late, the Germans and the French have really come to the forefront, and we Americans are typically strong and successful contenders.
But as historical eventing powerhouses, the Brits, Aussies, and Kiwis are the riders that have given us some of the most amazing partnerships: Mark Todd (NZ) and Charisma, Virginia Leng (GBR) and Priceless, Lucinda Green (GBR) and Be Fair, Blythe Tait (NZ) and Ready Teddy, Andrew Hoy (AUS) and Master Monarch, and Phillip Dutton (previously of AUS, now riding for the USA) and any horse he's ever really competed. These are just to name a few.
This weekend, U.S. based New Zealander Donna Smith, featured in the picture I posted above, (who most recently rode for NZ at last year's World Equestrian Games in Aachen) is coming to the farm of one of my friends in Eastern-most TN (on the border of VA) to teach a two-day clinic. I have been unable to ride for the past month due to contracting Mycoplasma ("Walking Pneumonia") about the same time that I'd gone to this same farm to ride with former Rolex-winner and Adelaide-winner, Nick Larkin (also from, you guessed it, New Zealand) back in early February. I'm very excited to get to go and watch several of my friends ride with Donna, and to, hopefully, glean some wisdom and knowledge that I can bring back home with me and share with my steadfast little partner, Eddie (Good Willing). And, as an aside, I have to say that Eddie is in-no-way complaining about our recent lay-up and wouldn't mind it a bit if our competition schedule was delayed still yet a bit further this year. He's a sweet one, but there is no Rolex in our future, dare I say.
So, I'm off to visit friends in Bristol and spend tomorrow and part of Sunday basking in the glow of good riders, good horses, and great instruction. For someone who doesn't believe that at least 50% of your work as a rider actually happens on the ground (through study, reading, listening, and education) then that person is only half the rider that many others truly are. I'm looking forward to learning everything I can this weekend, and then returning to my horses to get my spring season started off on the right foot.