Sunday, December 19, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Today was yet another great day in Frankfurt! I got up and went to the barn early. Nina and I had our morning snuggle while I mucked her and did her buckets etc. She likes her ears scratched while she rests her head on you. Later this morning, I had a really great school on Nina, and it was exciting to be schooling next to the horses and riders competing in the Prix St. George! I had a lot of fun and I think Nina also did. I love playing around on her because she really loves to work so much. Tomorrow, we are fourth in for the b-final freestyles. The class starts at 9:45am. It will be a really cool way to finish off young riders together riding in the Festhalle in Germany. We've come a long way since I got her as a four year old and didn't even know how to sit the trot on a warmblood - videos of that are pretty funny. Regardless of how it goes tomorrow, this experience has been a once in a lifetime opportunity and it is so awesome to have been a part of. The things Nina and I have got to see together since being in Germany, and the places she's taken me competing over the years have been incredible and I wouldn't want to experience this with anyone but her, my teammate. She really is awesome and tries her heart out for me so I think it is just so cool we get to do this competition and trip together. Our time here as flown by and I can't believe tomorrow is our last day here. I wish we could stay longer! Germany is so beautiful and the shear number of quality horses and riders you see here on a daily basis is such a great educational opportunity. Isabell Werth's ride today was inspiring! She doesn't give away a point. I could watch her, and a lot of others ride all day.
Also, big shout out to Meagan who did really well in this competition! She came seventh tonight in the A-final freestyles and rode really well! The ambiance in the ring tonight from the stands being packed was insane so unreal job Meagan!
After the young rider freestyles, there was a young horse class that was a ton of fun to watch. We don't have classes like this in Canada so it was great to see. The top 3 horses came back for tonight and rode around to music of their choice and showed off the horse. There were lots of extensions and tempis etc. The crowd was in to it clapping and everyone was hooting and hollering. The 3 horses were just stunning too. This was definitely more my dads type of class because he is loud by nature and is used to cheering my brother on in hockey. He doesn't like that you can't cheer loudly during a dressage test if something was really nice lol.
Anyways, what a great night. I love that I got to see some of the young riders go tonight because I haven't really been able to watch, just given that I was competing at the same time. Good job to everyone who rode tonight. The arena was pretty scary given that it was packed all the way up to the top levels, and everyone rode really well. When you come to an event like this, you realize how important having a routine is. Never having been to a venue like this, or having travelled by plane, it is really difficult for your horse to understand what is going on and settle into the swing of things. They don't know what the routine is and what to expect, and then you ask them to be brilliant and perform their best in a packed, scary arena, with music blasting. Not to mention the fact that there are horse topiaries with mouths open leaping out at you! Everyone tonight did a great job riding with the electric ambiance of the Festhalle.
Yesterday afternoon and and night were amazing!!! We had some "minor" taxi issues though lol. We were late getting back from shopping yesterday afternoon and so we still had to go to the barn and feed Nina her dinner. She likes prompt room service ;). When we got to the barn she snickered at me and got really excited when I went to "her salad bar" (aka the stack of hay bales we have). We call it her salad bar because it used to be outside her stall and she would just pick away at the hay from every bale while I braided her. She likes to have choice. So anyways, we fed the princess her dinner and changed her blankets because she was really warm (they kept the doors closed all day so the barn area really heated up).
When we got back to the hotel, the shuttle bus had already left to go to the Romer (the historical city hall of Frankfurt). Tom, my parents, and I all did a speedy 5 second change and planned on just hopping in a cab and getting over there for shortly after 5pm. The Mayor's welcome speeches to us were supposed to start around 5pm as well. Well let me tell you, we weren't just "hopping" into any cab in a real hurry. The hotel called for a cab while the doorman was outside trying to wave down a cab for us just in case it was faster. 20 minutes later we are all sitting inside the hotel still waiting for a cab to just drive by the hotel. I guess Germany isn't used to the amount of snow they have received in the last little while, so everyone was concerned about the safety of the roads and all opted to take cab!!! When one cab finally showed up, we all hopped in and told the driver we wanted to go to city hall. He suddenly decided "he was done work for the night", gave us the boot, and drove off with his cab light on looking for new fare. About half an hour later, another cab showed up. We didn't even get the chance to get in this one before the driver, who was leaning over the driver seat to yell at us through the open passenger door, said he didn't want to go to city hall. He then took off while the doorman was holding onto the back door handle trying to get him to stop. When he stopped, a gentleman who was next in line for a cab said he needed to get to the airport. Apparently this was an alright destination and he got to hop in the cab ahead of us. Eventually we did find a cab driver to take us though, and we unfortunately only got there in time to see how beautiful the Christmas Market in Frankfurt was looking out the window at City Hall before we had to climb on the shuttle bus to go back to the hotel. I would have loved to have heard the speeches and been there for the draw for freestyle times. The City Hall in Frankfurt is stunning! There was one room that had paintings of all of the past Kings framed and it went around this entire room. There were wooden chairs that looked like thrones beneath them. The history in the City Hall was neat to see.
The dinner reception yesterday evening was a lot of fun. Schenker is the title sponsor of the Young Rider World Cup and so Josef Lederer was present for the dinner and reception along with all the judges, Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff, Klaus Rath, and all the riders and their support crew. To be able to get together with fellow riders your age from all over the world, especially in Europe which is beautiful, is such an incredible opportunity. You get to see what riders your age are doing, different training techniques, and most importantly of all you get to hang out with new friends and have some fun doing what you love. All of us (young riders) gave little thank you speeches to everyone who made it possible for this event to take place and who made it possible for us to come to Europe to be a part of it. This event really is an incredible experience. To get to see the quality of horses here and riders and experience it at this venue is amazing. Everyone who is part of making this show happen, is so welcoming. The dinner was also awesome last night and it was just generally a ton of fun to sit and chat with all the other riders. Victoria from Brazil speaks 5 languages!!! She was translating most of the evening! Mr. Lederer made the most hilarious speech. I think I speak on behalf of all the riders when I say that we are so grateful to him for dedicating his time and getting Schenker on board for sponsoring this event. Apparently we also have to thank his wife, who was responsible for getting him interested in dressage and helping the youth of the sport develop.
After dinner, I headed back to the barn with Meagan to do night check and get in some quality snuggle time with Nina. I may have snuck her a bunch of treats but whose counting. She likes to have minty fresh breath for her kisses! ;)
Friday, December 17, 2010
SO today didn't go quite as planned lol. She is still a little scared which is frustrating but understandable. I got in there and rode every stride out of her today and it turned out better. She is running on nervous energy and isn't relaxing yet. I wish I spoke horse to help her get her confidence up! I rode her this morning in the main ring and it went well. I was really positive going into the warm up today, but the second the braids went in later this morning and we started warming up, she knew what was coming lol. She wouldn't come round today really and didn't want to go to the contact. I really put my leg on on the short sides to keep her going forward because she wanted to suck back behind me a bit. The overall picture was better today though so it is getting better. We got 4% higher which is good and she was better through today and the test was better, but Nina was still really nervous. I think right now she is exhausted and is running on nerves which is totally understandable. Hopefully she catches up on sleep the rest of the day with her new boyfriend, Bentley :). I gave her lots of bananas and mints (her favourite).