Yay! Hawley, Gamal, Natalia & Ginny arrived safely today! I took Colombo for a nice trot on the hills with Stephanie and Andrew Hoy. (Yeah, good company here.) Colombo was keen to have his head up and look around. To be fair, it’s an incredible view at the top of the hill. Green landscape with rolling hills and ploughed fields as far as the eye can see.  I took him back to the ring and schooled a little on the flat. I didn’t drill him because I know he hasn’t done dressage in a long time due to me being in Canada prior to his flight and then, of course, jet lag for him after his long journey. So, it was our first day back together in a while. Did a few trot poles, a little piaffe (eventer attempt you understand) and worked on the canter quality in counter canter and true canter, using lateral flexion.  He was very obedient, so I stopped – didn’t want to over-do it since I plan to gallop on Sunday. 

We all went on an afternoon adventure in our “people carrier” aka minivan, to Aston Farms. That’s where the American riders are based while they’re here.  Stephanie had forgotten her laptop on the horse van and a few of our buckets somehow ended up with the USA stuff as well so we went to pick them up.

Well, first I have to tell you I don’t get to drive stick shift. I know how, but there’s definitely a lack of practise. The last time I drove stick was here in England when I borrowed a friend’s car and drove from the New Forrest to London city to visit family. That was a few years ago, not only that, but I was alone in the car. So, I was a little more than anxious to drive with five other girls in the car. I KNEW they were going to laugh at some point.  Well we made it down the road and the sat nav (GPS) cut out on us so we sat at the side of the road for a while trying to will it back to life.

We decided to try turning right and head into Marlborough…luckily the GPS kicked back to life so we were on our way. I admit I stalled it three times on the way there, going from standstill to first was a challenge. Natalia asked me how fast I was going at one poin  and I said “I am doing 55 mph and that’s five over the limit” that got a few giggles as well. We stopped off at a gas station and stocked up on yummy chocolate and candies.

We made it to Aston Farms, owned by Captain Mark Phillips, and met up with Max and Kathleen.  We toured around a little having a look at the dressage horses and the beautiful stone work on the barns that Mandiba and Reggie were in.  I also went and said a quick hello to the Good Witch who had arrived on the same van as Ginny.  We got our buckets and computer and got back on the road so we would be home in time to feed the ponies. By the way I didn’t stall once on the way home!

When we got home everyone was very thankful for the lift…kindly donated by Haygain hay steamers.  I fed Mr. C and went in the house. Catherine had guests so we were expecting to go to the pub for dinner…but oh no.  Catherine had organized and incredible feast of vegetarian lasagne, potatoes, salad, bread, BBQ chicken, corn and sausages.  Then to top it all off when you just don’t think you can eat any more…rhubarb crumble with fresh strawberries sliced on top. YEAH!!!

Hawley, Gamal, Anne Marie and I were the only ones who made it out to the pub down the road for a drink. It’s a really classy pub with a fantastic menu so we ALL plan to hit it up on Monday night.  After our drinks we headed back and fed the horses late night on our way through. Colombo is eating really well! Hurray!