Last weekend I competed at the CSI2* at Drachten NL. It was really strange to be at a competition without Bella who is on a well deserved break after a fantastic indoor season.

I took the French stallion Nouma d’Auzay who I ride now for his owners. In addition I rode one of my young horses Gordon Vd.Riloo in the YH classes.

I was very pleased with Gordon who jumped well over all 3 starts although the paddock is a challenge with him. He is easily distracted & can become very horse shy at the moment & the paddock at indoor shows can be very busy.

Nouma started very well but became tired very quickly as he is not jump fit at the moment. I will also need to form a partnership with him as he is quite different to ride than Bella.

Today is the last week in the Someren stables & we are starting to pack for the move to our new home at Haras De Wisbecq in Belgium.

Have a look at the Video of Gordon at Drachten CSI2*,YH in his first 6yo class:

I will write another update after we move to Wisbecq

Take care!




16 January 2012

Drachten and my last week at Someren stables!


Twenty one nations are celebrating their Olympic qualification today, 9 January, which marks the 200-day countdown to London 2012 and 100 years of equestrian sport in the Olympic movement.

Eleven countries have now secured the opportunity to join the nine nations already qualified at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2010 in Kentucky and hosts Great Britain at London 2012 through a series of nail-biting qualifiers held around the world for their Olympic Group.

Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland, the USA and Ukraine will join hosts Great Britain in team Jumping.

Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden and the USA have qualified to compete in team Dressage.

Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden and the USA have also secured their opportunity to compete in team Eventing.

The total number of teams competing at the 2012 Olympic Games will be confirmed on 1 March when additional composite teams in Dressage and Eventing made up of three individuals from the same nation are finalised through the FEI Olympic Riders Ranking.

Nations qualifying to send individual riders will also be confirmed on 1 March and riders then have until 17 June to achieve the necessary minimum eligibility criteria to compete at London 2012.

“We have had the most exciting build-up during the qualification period, with Canada, Germany, Sweden and the USA qualifying for team places alongside host nation Great Britain in all three Olympic equestrian disciplines,” explained Catrin Norinder, Olympic Director at the FEI. “There are still composite team places for two disciplines to secure and of course it’s all to play for with the individual riders. We’re building up to a thrilling 100-year anniversary for equestrian sport in the Olympics, when 200 riders and horses will compete for individual and team gold, silver and bronze medals in Eventing, Dressage and Jumping.”

The Opening Ceremony of the Games of the XXX Olympiad on 27 July will be followed by 12 days of equestrian competition and, for the first time in Olympic history, the final equestrian event will be the Dressage Grand Prix Freestyle to Music held on 9 August.

Equestrian sport has been part of the Olympic movement since the 1912 Games in Stockholm (SWE) and the FEI is working closely with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and LOCOG to maximise coverage of the competition in Greenwich Park.


2012 London Olympics. 200 days to go !!!!

13 January 2012

A lot of things have happened since i last had time to write a always apologizing they are few and far between but it gets so busy here...;) The pictures with this blog are from the show itself at Mechelen plus a few depicting daily life in the stables

This was my first indoor season in europe as Bella was injured in this time last year....he had a fantastic indoor season & did really well. Looking back at how much he has improved i think it was the right thing to do to castrate him....but dont worry there is semen still in stock...available anytime in Europe but we are STILL working with AQIS to get approval for Australia. This is a very frustrating experience as we have missed the whole Australian breeding season..but the semen is waiting here & will be shipped when we get the approval.... I cant wait to have my own Bella baby to start working with!

Vienna and Salzburg CSI **** were fantastic shows and a credit to the organizers. The real challenges at those shows were the very small narrow practice ring in Vienna & the vaulting horses...Bella could not believe what he was seeing & initially became very distracted! The atmosphere is so different indoors, but each start he has been improving. Salzburg he was clear with one down in the jump off of the GP to finish 9th place, gaining more elusive Rolex Ranking points (these points are so important to help get entries accepted into the shows). So, finishing my preparation in Salzburg for his first World Cup in Europe, he was feeling very good and with three weeks before his next start he had plenty of time to relax and build up again for his last indoor show and the biggest yet... the CSI-W 5* at Mechelen in Belgium. I was certainly excited to be starting at this show & grateful that I had been awarded the FEI Wildcard entry to allow me to start.

The week before Mechelen my parents arrived in Europe and i also flew to Nantes, France to a possible new GP horse and support horse for Bella. I had been lucky enough to meet Patrik Blaenckert (the breeder & owner of Nouma d'Auzay) through a new friend, journalist Daniel Siebre. Daniel knew that Patrik was looking for a new rider to base Nouma after the breeding season.

After spending 2 days at Patriks trying Nouma we seem to suit each other so I will now be his rider. Nouma has since arrived safely in the stables here in the Nederlands and begun work. He will have his first start at the CSI2* Drechten(NL) in a week. We will get to know each other for a few weeks & then hopefully he can be a big GP horse for me as well as Bella. Having 2 GP horses will be exciting.

To prepare for my first European World Cup I headed over to Haras de Wisbecq for some jump schooling with a new acquaintance Stanny Van Paesschen. Michelle was unable to come over to Europe for the World Cup show & I wanted to have some help with my preparation so decided to ask Stanny. He has seen me ride Bella before & knew me enough to be able to help. The two days schooling with Stanny over Christmas had both Bella & I feeling strong and confident before Mechelen.

We headed into Mechelen on the 27th & the show was already well underway as it was a World Cup also for Dressage & Driving. Working Bella in the paddock left me wondering if I had done enough. The atmosphere was so "big".

These shows have so much happening in such a confined area... with lights, music, crowds.

I started first in the 150 WC warm up class with two down, Bella dropped a little in an oxer out of the corner, jumping it a little like a vertical & I didnt react quickly enough and the 4 strides after to the next vertical became over long and I had also that 8 faults for my first start but I felt that we had no was more about experience for both of i was happy and he felt very fresh, normal for the first day at a new show.

Day two and we started in the Mechelen Grand Prix. At 155 it was a technical track but nothing that had me nervous or worried, Bella had been jumping these tracks for the last month in Austria. Well in form Bella finished the first round clear and still fresh. The jump off was also good but he just had the back pole going into the combination as I turned up to it too close.

So our first indoor 5* GP we had 0,4 & finished in 13th place for Rolex Ranking points. After jumping the GP I felt confident for the World Cup and excited about riding Bella who was feeling more seasoned with every start.

One of the best parts about Mechelen was to catch up with Phil Stephens & and Katherine Quilty from Victoria. Thanks to James PR who had some spare "owners tickets" Phil & Katherine were able to get into the stands with Mum & Dad to watch the jumping. The show was sold out so the tickets were essential. I know they thoroughly enjoyed themselves, the crowd, atmosphere & the jumping.... Phil walked the World Cup track with me... (& Jessica Kuerten, Ludo Phillapaerts, Gregory Wathelet, Kevin Staut etc etc)..... and gave some great advice! Just kick and pull, you'll be right!

So...for our first European World Cup, I was 13th in the draw & I watched the first few horses go.... not so good with 15 faults, 20 faults & a the time it was my turn there was still no clear rounds....Bella was good in the paddock & felt great when he came into the ring. He is certainly much more focussed in the ring now. We jumped clear until the second to last fence which we had was completely my fault, running him too close to the base of the big oxer & he tapped out the back rail. We finished the class in 13th place (I think 13 was my lucky number for that weekend!) gained both Rolex ranking as well as World Cup points.I am so proud of his effort and attitude & focus in such a class. Bella has well earned his month break where he is banned from being ridden in the arena! Only woods, track and relaxing walks..;)..I am excited to say that when the FEI Rolex Ranking came out this week I have now moved up to 296....each step up helps make it easier to get the show entries accepted.

Thursday we put 6 young horses on the truck & took them to the indoor at Asten. It is only 5 minutes away from the stables & has a full course with all the fill set up. Each horse can jump around a few times at the height that is right for that horse. It is a perfect training ground before they start at a "proper show". I am very happy with the progress of the young horses & Gordon will have his first CSI start next week & Chino a fortnight later.

Today we took Nouma & Gordon to Roggel for training also. It was good to assess Noumas character a little bit more. He has a lot of blood & is a very quick horse so I need to just take him quietly. He jumped 2 nice clear rounds at 140 & was well behaved. Gordon was also very good & I think will progress very quickly in his 6 & 7yo seasons.He is certainly showing all the promise needed for a big GP horse.

Hopefully I will have time for another update after the show next week..... when I will talk about the plans for the start of the outdoor show season, more about Nouma as I will know him better.. and on the big move to Belgium..;)

Amy !



12 January 2012

Mechelen Update!

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