Woody, Anne Marie and I started our day July 5th at 4:00 a.m. and were on the road to The Plains, VA by 5:00 a.m. It was quite an easy drive, with a little rain near the end. We were hauling our new trailer and Woody had the luxury of a box stall for the nine-hour trip. We were the first ones to arrive and were greeted by Max’s smiling face. I was a little worried Woody would have to be alone there until the evening when Jessica Phoenix planned on arriving, but luckily Holly Jacks arrived about an hour after us.

I took Woody for a long walk and some grass while AM got his stall ready. We set up half our tack stall (we are sharing with Lisa Marie) and then fed Woody some grain and searched for our hotel. Of course, the rain followed us from Ontario and it began to pour so we hid in the air conditioning for a while before heading off to Ruby Tuesday’s for dinner. Nothing like a good salad bar after a long day in the truck.

When we arrived back at the barn I took Woody for another walk and Jessica arrived with her three mounts, Rotti, Blue Eyes and Abbey GS. Woody was happy to have some of his teammates there as were we. ❤

On July 6th, in the morning, it briefly stopped pouring so we all went out for a hack around the property. You wouldn’t believe the amount of rain that poured over night! At the very end of the property (luckily where there is no jumps) was a flood that was running quickly along the base of the field. The footing in the parking lot was quite hard so I’m glad we’ve received rain. Having said that the footing on course is usually perfect!

After that we all ventured off in Jessica’s truck to the Middleburg tack exchange. It was fantastic with loads of new and used tack and equipment. I bought two sets of good shipping boots (some of ours are ancient and tatty) for $45 USD!

For those of you who know AM, we got her TWO pairs of waterproof boots, a new pair of Bogs and a used pair of Dubarry’s. Then Jess took us to a fabulous bakery/cafe across the street for yummy spinach & feta croissants plus my favorite…snickerdoodle cookies????

Last pit stop was Safeway for stocking up on Gatorade and water for the weekend.

Once back at the barn, AM took Woody for his “in barns” – i.e. check the horse’s pulse, temp and respirations as well as look over the FEI passports to make sure they’re valid etc.

Ring familiarization was around 2:00 p.m., so Woody and I headed down to the ring around 2:30 p.m. On our hack over to the main arena, a huge tree broke and fell in the woods near the fence line. Woody spun around and galloped half way back to the barns before I could stop him. AM was driving over on the dirt bike and thought she had spooked him LOL! When I got to the arena (finally) I explained what had happened.

The sun came out briefly and roasted us for a few minutes. Thank goodness it went back behind the clouds. It’s hot and humid enough without the sun glaring down on you. This year the ring is on the opposite side from last year. Superb footing even after all that torrential rain. I noticed they have a giant screen there, which I suspect will show the rider/horse info and scores like they have at Rolex and Badminton. It can be quite a distraction, so I spent a long time walking around the outside of the ring before I went in to work him. Woody was very suspicious walking back to the barns past the “scene of the fallen tree incident” so hopefully the big screen in the main arena will no longer be of concern to him.

The riders meeting was at 3:30 p.m. in the air conditioned riders lounge. They really know how to treat us here, offering snacks, drinks, meals and refuge from the humidity. Don’t worry about the horses; they are in new stabling with new footing and fans blowing on them in their stalls. I have to thank Max for the customized stall cards. ❤

This evening we went to the party at Beverley Equestrian Center, where they made the team draws for the order of go. It is the most beautiful stables I’ve ever seen. ???? Darrin is such a gracious host, sponsor and organizer of this wonderful event, as well as a fellow eventer. Mega thanks to the organizing committee for hosting such a fantastic event for everyone involved horses, riders, owners, sponsors and spectators are in for a real treat. ????????

Looking forward to tomorrow’s jog at 10 a.m., then I ride on Woody as well as a cross country course walk before it’s time to cheer on Jessica and Holly as they do their dressage later in the day.