And so it begins, or is it the finish? It seems like we have been “on the road” to the WEG since Colombo left Hong Kong. It’s a huge excitement to be here, at an Olympics just for horses. The Dressage Queens, the Endurance, the Reiners are all here. Show jumpers are arriving daily as are the driving horses. I haven’t spotted the vaulters or the para dressage yet but I know that some of them arrive tomorrow.
There are famous people all over the place and after the initial day of “oh look there’s so and so and who ji ma flip” I have managed to walk round looking all cool and pretending I rub shoulders with all these people on a regular basis. Actually I am hiding behind my sun glasses and oggling my head off. The riders all eat in at a fabulous buffet area and I am allowed to eat there too. Every day is a wonderful people watching day. Some riders I have no idea who they are, and some are straight off the magazines. Having all the Europeans come to play in North America is soooo exciting. I have to tell you….while Pam was out walking Mr C, William Fox-Pitt asked who the horse was and admired him…AND remembered him from Rolex…AND commented on how well he looked…eek. After this, Selena had a nightmare that she was showing Colombo to W.Fox-Pitt for sale! She was really glad to wake up from that one!
Today was the trot up and in my opinion (of course I am not biased) the Canadians were the best dressed team there. A lot of people commented on how well they were turned out, and we have to give credit to Hawley who was the styling and fashion director for the team. The whole team went shopping in Ocala and came back with great outfits. Black trousers and shoes, a big red leather belt, white shirts, a white jacket and a red scarf. They looked great. Kyle had a white shirt with a red tie and of course Kyle always looks good anyway. Best of all, they not only looked good, they all trotted good. Madison Park who can get a little chirpy at the trot up was an angel as was Mr. C who has also had some unplanned moves at previous trot ups.
David, the coach, was beaming, Christiana, the team vet was relaxed, and Graeme, the chef was his usual calm self, so you know it was all good.
Jimmy Woffard gave Selena a big hug and told her that he knew when she was fifteen and wearing a big bright retainer that she was going to be here some day. And yes, he did remember the big bright retainer. The man has an amazing memory.
Selena is the trailblazer for the Canadian Team. Her dressage test takes place at 10.38 tomorrow morning. It’s all terribly exciting and it will be a relief to get the show on the road after a week (or two years) of build up. Jimmy Woffard says getting there and being sound is the hardest part and that’s behind her now. Perhaps he hadn’t walked the course…. The course is big and beautiful. I only saw one fence that I personally recognised from a previous Rolex, and that was one of those awful great walls with a humungus ditch in front. Selena just gave it a nod while I felt faint. Later in the course there are a few fences set out like the vicarage V at Burghley, with the fence sitting diagonally across huge ditches. Selena is squeaking about those. Personally the one she gave the ‘nod’ to would be giving me nightmares. There are some tough jumping questions near the end that are going to be big tests of fitness. The course is 11 minutes and 14 seconds long. Just a little farther than Rolex this Spring.
Tonight was the red and white party which was multi discipline. People were speechifying and cheering the athletes on, asking for autographs and telling the athletes how proud they were of them. I considered an emotional moment but managed to let it go.
Tomorrow is tomorrow, tonight Selena and I are having supper in our hotel room and trying to pretend it’s just “another day at the office”.