Hey everyone!


Wow what a month! I think its easier if i start from the start...


After Austria i came home to Italy for a weeks rest. Bella jumped so well in Austria i was feeling happy and confident and looking forward to the selection series in Germany the following month.


After returning to Italy Michelle and i left again for another horse hunting trip through Germany, France and Holland..After 5 days, the very last horse i tried we decided we wanted! Nicknamed Chino, he is a bay gelding by Araconit out of a Le Champion mare. Chino is broken and has a fantastic attitude to his work. He is showing a huge amount of potential and i really enjoy working with him! For all of our new young horses keep in touch with their details & their progress under "Young Horses" on the web site.


In the meantime i had also been looking at properties in Belgium and Holland as RST International had decided to rent a property and i really wanted to take up this opportunity in Belgium or Holland. This was logical because the business is registered in Belgium & I spent 6 months there last year and i really felt like i was in the middle of the showjumping world!


I found what we wanted very quickly as it just "happened" that Lieven Van De Crean had a dressage rider moving out which made available just what we were looking for so....Two days later i was on the road again to Belgium to re locate at Lieven Van De Crean stables in Dilsen on the Belgium/Dutch border.


RST International now rent a complete stable block of 17 boxes, wash bay, solariums, tackroom, groom quarters, safe wooden fenced fields, walker, indoor/outdoor and derby arenas & a full set of professional jumps. My house is located across the courtyard from my stables & is a typical Belgium 2 storey with kitchen, office, lounge & 4 bedrooms (plenty of room for visitors!) See the pictures in the gallery! My house, stables & groom quarters are all quite self contained but the arenas are shared. The facility has a great friendly atmosphere and the riders and grooms have made me feel very much at home. Again we are multi national with riders from South Africa, Belgium, Scotland & Australia.


I arrived & set up home a couple of weeks before the first selection show so i took Bella training in Roggel in Holland and one week later in De Warre in Belgium. He was feeling fantastic and very confident.


Michelle arrived back in Europe again (thank goodness she is fine with the constant country hopping from one side of the world to another) three days before Hachenburg so we had a chance to train with Bella at home. Thursday morning we packed up and drove to Germany to prepare for the warm up class 150 on Friday. Bella felt fresh and confident, just having one down in this class. As Bella matures he is becoming even more "allergic" to wood & he gets quite cross with himself if he touches a rail. For sure if he does touch a rail I need to be ready for the buck that comes straight after.


The track on saturday was quite technical , 150cm, with about 66 riders. Bella jumped very well producing one of 14 clear rounds that also included Australian riders Chris and James. Vivant jumped well so Chris opted to stay out of the jump off saving him for the GP on Sunday. I decided i keep a cool head and keep Bella feeling confident in the jumpoff so i wasnt really slow but not fast enough to win! He jumped even more confidently then the first round to finish clear and placed 4th!


Sunday morning arrived and i continued on the normal plan for Bella, working him lightly in the morning even after his two big rounds on Saturday. The GP was a big but not super technical 155cm track and i felt confident he could handle it. A tall vertical to start with 8 normal strides to an oxer toward home. Then turning inside to a tall plank and a steady dog leg 7 strides to a big swedish oxer, then traveling around to the right side of the arena to the triple combination, oxer vertical oxer followed by a slightly curved line in 5 to a vertical. Continue on the right to a big oxer away from gate and a big 4 to a tall vertical and a tight awkward left turn to a big oxer and a steady 6 down to another oxer vertical combination. Then turning back to right coming home and very tall vertical, steady 7 to open water and either 6 or 7 to finish toward gate over another tall vertical.


I picked up a good rhythm and just did one part at a time. He jumped everything super, a little green in combination but he kept a very cool head and was super careful to jump a clear round but with 2 time faults. After the end of the first round there were only 7 clears so we qualified for the jump off which i felt extremely confident about and thought it would be great to get him back out there and grow more confidence.


Of course it worked out to plan and Bella put in a faultless second round and finished again in 4th place! I am so pleased with his weekend and feeling confident for Paderborn in two weeks. Also congratulations to Chuggy for his 5th place on Vivant and to the other Australian riders who all did us proud!


Time to head home and rest Bella for a couple of days and concentrate again on the babies! Gordon and Chino are coming along beautifully and i really enjoy working with them. Chino has the coolest mind and never seems to be fazed even though he knows nothing! Gordon is alittle more sensitive or naughty.....but is giving a great feeling of having plenty of power when he jumps...


Blesse is in the process of breaking in but just last week jumped out of the field ( showing a great jump but bad judgement as she is now banned from the field!!)and slightly hurt her fetlock and is now looking at 1 months rest.. She is progressing well though and is under the saddle at the trot.


On Sunday we had Paul A visit with Marie (his coach).... it was great to show other Aussies around my home & to introduce him to my babies.... I think they got a very clear message that I am not heading back to Australia any time soon (apart from flying visits !!)


Yesterday we were given the opportunity to look at 2 fillies & 2 colts. I am really excited about their breeding, some top class stallions over great GP mares, these are the stars for the future! To keep you up to date I have listed them all down.


It is very exciting to be able to find young horses & know that I have the space & the training facilities to educate them from breaking to

competitions. Of course I cant keep them all & RST International has been established as a business that trains young horses that, when sold ,will have exceptional breeding, exceptional education for their age, have correct conformation & clean vet checks.


Enough for now....I will write the next blog after Paderborn






30 August 2010


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