At two pm we were just passing the horse park on our trip home, which took fourteen hours….you do the math.  Before we could leave there were SO many things to do.  First pack the hotel room which had seen us run in, shower, sleep, muss it up and leave again for ten straight days.  It looked like a bomb had hit it.  So, about an hour later….  Then there was breakfast at the Marriott.  Even with a very bad hangover, Selena wasn’t prepared to miss out on our last breakfast there.  Breakfast came with the room, all of which was cleverly arranged a long time ahead by our team’s super chef, Graeme Thom.  The Canadians had the best accommodation of any team thanks to Graeme.  Selena even found time to swim and use the hot tub, an exercise that was beneficial to mind and body, and breakfast was divine.  Then Selena took the bicycle Pamela had used to cover the vast amounts of tarmac at the horse park.  We were very kindly lent it by Kimberly Martinez who used to be (and still looks like) a little sprout I gave lessons to, now she has two little sprouts of her own!  While Selena drove over to drop off the bike, Pamela was packing like mad and I was over in the trade fair thanking many of our sponsors who had booths there, and saying our goodbyes. 

It’s a bit like the Oscars….there really are so many people to thank when something like this comes together.  David OConnor the coach, Randy the farrier, Deb Furness the awesome stable manager, Jo-Anne the massage therapist, Dougie Hannum equine therapist, Graeme Thom the best chef d’equipe at the WEG and Christiana Ober the team vet are primary of course, but there are a whole bunch of people who stand behind Selena with products, feed, financial support and by just ‘being there’ when we need them.

In no particular order I have to thank Purina Canada who have supplied Colombo with their wonderful products, in particular ‘Trimax’ which is not only good for perfomance, but obviously very tasty.  We have always had trouble getting Colombo to eat at shows but at the WEG, he couldn’t get enough of the Trimax and the beautiful timothy hay that we were able to access while we were there.

Omega Alpha, who supply the whole Canadian Team with joint supplements in particular, and in addition, many other items from their 32 (and expanding) product line.  Patti Hanco is the Equine Representative, and we were sorry that she was unable to be there for the Canadian’s big weekend.  Colombo uses Omega Alpha’s SinewX, GastroFX, and Probiotic8 to name but a few.  I know that some of the horses used ‘Chill’ and Selena, Pamela and I also took their human products to keep ourselves strong and healthy on the lead up to, and during the games.

FITS, supplied all the girls with the exception of Stephanie who already has a sponsor for riding clothing, with breeches and shirts.  They all looked gorgeous in their FITS, and Sheryl Rudolph, who is the brains and artistic direction behind the FITS label is a wonderful supporter.  She backs us all the way and has the best smile you could imagine.  The breeches are the most comfortable I have ever worn, I kid you not! 

Selena is now lucky enough to be sponsored by Haygain.  This is a hay steamer that leaves your hay with a high moisture content, more readily digestable and of course dust and mould free when you feed it.  The steamer sits in the aisle and does it’s job quickly and efficiently.  It would be magic with COPD horses, but we are excited to use it for Colombo as part of our program to keep him in the shape he is in for as long as we can.  In particular, we are very keen to use it when any of the horses are traveling.  The hay smells so good when it finishes steaming!  The Haygain team at the WEGs had sold out by Sunday and had to take the truck back to the warehouse to load up more steamers. The half bales were walking out as fast as they came in.  Lots of owners out there whose horses either have breathing problems or don’t want to get breathing problems!  For us it’s also the extra moisture and digestibility that makes it so appealing.

Our longest running sponsor is UNIMIN, the vitamin supplement that was designed to work for Ontario and Eastern seaboard horses.  Replacing and topping up on the vitamins and minerals that are deficient in our area.  Cheryl McKenna the owner and rep for the company has sponsored Selena with a year’s supply for one horse for over sixteen years.  We love this stuff and have every horse we own on it at all times. 

We give both Colombo and A First Romance 10 cc of APF every morning and when in heavy work, shipping or showing, they get another ten cc in the evening.  This stuff was designed for the Russian athlete program during the cold war and came over here after the fall of the Berlin Wall.  It is produced by Auburn Laboratories and it’s amazing. Primarily an immune booster, it also settles the digestive tract and is getting rid of sarcoids on Solo’s (aka A First Romance) neck.  He had two growing sarcoids eight months ago when APF started sponsorship of him at Rolex this year, now he has two shrinking sarcoids.  How cool is that?  We gave double dozes to Colombo during AECs, when the stress of the 700 horses, 100 degree temperatures and the continuous haze of red dust caused him to break out in hives.  It works like magic by boosting his stressed system immediately. 

We were glad we had loaded our Anivac machine when the temperatures got too low to want to bath the horses in the wash racks.  We were able to use the Anivac to wash him and have him come up sparkly without soaking him and having to dry him off in cold misery.  We use it every year at the Royal Winter Fair and fight over whether it goes to Ocala or stays at home.  So far it has done one year South and one year North.  The Anivac cleansing solution has the added benefit of helping ward off the Florida fungus.  This neat little traveling machine uses oxygen cleaner which was also used to prep the stalls at the WEG, we are desperately hoping to install one of the permanent machines in our new barn where we hope to showcase our sponsor’s products.

Bahrs Saddlery and Passier donated Selena’s Passier Military 2, cross country saddle and we ride in them all the time.  They are great saddles and I know that many of you who have tried them out here at Hawkridge or our other barns, now have one of your own.  Selena calls it her safety seat.  

At Rolex Charles Owen kindly gave Selena a beautifully fitted hat. She wears it constantly, the COs are soooo comfy.

Selena bought her dressage boots from LM Boots a couple of years ago at the Royal Winter Fair (another shopping extravaganza just around the corner).  At the WEG, LM which is now known as La Mundial, became Selena’s sponsor for riding boots.  The boots are fully custom and she already knows from her dressage boots how comfortable they are.  I ordered a  pair of La Mundial dressage boots for myself and I can’t wait till they get here.

Draper Equine have been unbelievable good to us for nearly three years.  We started with them giving us a saddle pad to try, to see if it helped Colombo’s back which is uber sensitive.  Well it certainly did, and he has never ever been ridden without a Draper pad since that day.  The fibres have crystals in them and help with circulation.  We now use Draper coolers, Draper leg wraps under our bandages and of course Draper saddle pads on both Colombo and A First Romance.  At the WEG, Jessica Phoenix tried one of our pads out on Tucker and she is now a believer!  They make an incredible difference to Colombo’s comfort level during and after work.  At the Olympics and at the WEG she had to wear the team pads but our Draper pad is on underneath, we were not going to take any risks at such an important time in Colombo’s career. 

JoJo socks came on board at WEGs, they are going to look after Selena’s feet with their brand of socks which come in all sorts of funky designs.  They sold out in the first week of their long boot socks which had the Altech World Equestrian Games logo.  Selena wore hers right away and I was happy we had bought some as gifts early in the week while they were still available.  The Trade Fair was doing roaring trade all round.  I did not hear any complaints despite the unbelievable expense of a booth at the WEG.

Royal Stirrups were worn in all three phases, being safe, lightweight and secure against Selena’s boots.  We have used these stirrups for three years now and used the sheepskin fleecy saddle adjusting pad on Solo (with his Draper) to ensure that the saddles which are fitted to Colombo, don’t press anywhere on Solo’s back.  The two horses are somewhat similar in shape and width but Solo has a higher wither.  Next year we plan to compete on Heron Hill’s Wilhelmina at the two star level, fitting her for saddles is going to mean finding some new saddles altogether.  As a seven year old she has matured with a big warmblood back and Colombo’s saddles are not going to do it no matter what we put under them! 

Ice Horse, the Canadian company that makes the wonderful icing equipment that was used to cool the horses in Hong Kong and at Rolex this year, has supplied Selena with really nice Ice Horse leg boots which were used to good effect at the WEG.  Selena hopes to increase her involvement with the Ice Horse product range.

Zoe Ross of London England who made a three year financial commitment to helping Selena achieve her goals.

Geraldine and Sean Dennis for ‘being there’ and for being instrumental in the purchase of Solo and launching him on his career.

The team who stayed home, Anne Marie Duarte, Janice Joad, Lisa Howard, Jenifer Ross and Jackie Bradshaw.  They pulled together so that Pamela Nunn could leave her usual post as barn manager and be our super secret weapon groom, and I could go and be part of a wonderful experience.

And of course none of it would have been possible if Elaine and Michael Davies had not believed in Selena and sponsored her to ride their horse.  I cannot thank them enough for all they have done for Selena and Colombo.  In addition to paying Colombo’s way, they also sponsor Selena with the truck that pulls our rig, without them none of it would have happened.

Thank you too to everybody out there who emailed, texted, phoned, facebooked and twittered for Selena.  We were not able to respond to all of  you but we both really appreciated all the messages that came our way.  Also all those Canadian who hollered, hooted and partied in Kentucky.  It was a fine day to be Canadian!