Horses fly out mid-morning from Ocala on a charter flight..how cool is that? Lucky grooms get to go with Dr. Ober and the horses. I always wanted to fly with the horses and see what it’s like. We (the riders, David, Debbie and I) fly out from Orlando mid-morning also. We switch planes in Huston, Texas and meet up with our farrier, Randy, who continues on with us. I get motion sickness, so I will be taking some gravol and sleeping the whole way.
When we got to Mexico, we went through the process at customs of getting our accreditation. Then we headed to the hotel where we dropped off our bags. Luckily we had time to go visit the horses and grooms. Horses all travelled well according to Anne Marie. Woody’s ears touched the roof of the plane, but he didn’t care because there was food.
We had team dinner at a restaurant right outside our hotel called Tintoretto. It was delicious and everyone enjoyed their meals very much. We all plan to eat there a lot;) Easy and close with great food what more could you ask for?
Took our team vehicles to the barns at 8:00 a.m. and met up with the grooms there. Three cheers for the grooms who get up early and look after the horses’ breakfast!
Let me tell you a little bit about driving in Mexco. We are so lucky our team organized us drivers because there seems to be no rules to the roads. It’s nerve wracking at times. When you get out of the city there are quite a few horses here and there, and I do mean it when I say that. Loose horses in between the roads! Some horses tethered to the ground by ropes around their necks. They all seem in good condition though, and happy.
The drivers we have are great. They are very patient when trying to teach me to speak the language. All the people are very relaxed and friendly.
We went for a team hack in the morning. Not a lot of space to hack around, so we stuck to one field, then we took them over to the warm-up rings to show them around a bit. In the afternoon we watched some of the men’s pentathlon. I had taken pictures of the swimming and fencing phases of pentathlon earlier in the day.
Watching the show jumping was quite exciting, especially with the whole team. Some great horses! They have to do 15 show jumps on a horse they have “drawn” for i.e. they have never ridden it before. The fences are between 3’6-3’11ft, I think. It’s four penalties for every second over the optimum time and knock downs. 100 penalties for rider fall, but you are allowed to get back on if you want. I didn’t know what the penalties were for skipping a jump, but we did see a few riders have stops at a fence and then go to the next one…interesting.
It was Jessica’s birthday, so we went to a nearby deli & bakery to grab some dinner. We all went in and bought what we wanted breads, cheeses, meats, pickles etc… then took our goodies to share on a nice veranda out front the hotel to have a picnic. Was so fun and perfect weather. We even had bite-sized cakes with candles for Jess to blow out. Good times!
7:00 a.m., we catch the shuttle to Hipica (the barns) for an 8:00 a.m. ring time. We had the chance to ride around the main arena, which was nice for the horses. The fog early in the am was intense, couldn’t see my teammates ‘til they were right in front of me. It’s dark here at 7:00 a.m. still. After a quick team jog, we (grooms, riders, Fleur and Dr. Ober) went to see the athlete’s village. We had lunch there too. Was awesome to see the athletes walking about. So fit!!! There was a tequila tasting bar…UGH…I caved to peer pressure and tried the silver…it was as I expected, BLAH! Bought mum a present in the souvenir shop. Then we headed off to see some of the dressage. Dressage Team Canada qualified for the Olympics yesterday. WOO HOO!!!
Dressage is at a site downtown, very posh. We had the chance to see Steffen Peters (USA) and Tom Dvorak (CDN) ride. Both riding beautiful horses, in a lovely ring with the sun shining. Steffen’s horse was so fluid and a big mover, he scored and 80% yesterday. I think it was 78% today. Tom’s mare was tall and stunning with her chrome legs and face. She had one heck of a trot too! Unfortunately, he went of course so I’m not sure if he beat USA? We couldn’t wait to see their scores. Back to the farm we went to tuck our ponies in and then off to the hotel. I suffer from motion sickness, so when we got back to the hotel I headed up to my room and started uploading the day’s pictures. I FINALY got to catch up with mum online, which was nice. It’s VERY hard being here without her. We work so hard so that I may compete like this and share the dream. So, not having her here is a bit of a struggle, especially without WI FI or the ability to call her whenever I want. I wish she could be here.
I ordered take out from Tintoretto, yum penne quatro quesos (4 cheese sauce) and espinaca Y arandanos (spinach & cranberry) salad. So, now I am stuffed and all typed out. So enjoy the pictures on facebook and read along as Canada goes for gold at the Panamericanos!!!
Today, I made it down to breakfast in the hotel at 7:00 a.m. I had strawberry yogurt, they have AMAZING granola in a bowl you can “shovel” into your yogurt…yum! Then we all packed into a Nissan minivan sorta thing…new driver. Language barrier is funny for both sides. We laugh and the driver laughs as we try to explain what we are talking about with our hands. Everyone here seems to be very jovial so far. It was jumping day today, hurray!
First was Rebecca with Rocky (Roquefort), I didn’t get to see much of her school as I was getting read,y but what I saw looked great! Then “the west coasters” ate it up. Hawley and James looked fantastic as they angled across two huge verticals on a short two stride. Both of those little horses fly! James horse is named Gustav aka Goose and Hawley’s horse is named Chunky aka 5 O’Clock somewhere.
Then it was my turn with Jessica and Pavarotti. We both wanted to do something gymnastic, that’s why we got to ride together. Started off with a vertical and two placing poles on either side. Woody only hit it once when we got a bit tight. Boy did he ever jump it the next time through! Then we did a line with an oxer two strides, vertical, one stride oxer. Woody was jumping great with a little bit of a drift to the left towards the end of the grid. I didn’t want to ruin his shape over the fence by trying to straighten him. So, David asked me to keep my eye more focused on the “straight line” as I finished the grid. TA DA it worked! We did it one more time bigger and he was fantastic! Pavarotti always looks AMAZING jumping with Jess so I don’t need to tell you that he is Mexican jumping bean ready to go.
After we jumped, we did another team jog – I mean really, we wouldn’t know what to do if there wasn’t a team jog 🙂 HA HA just kidding Dr. Ober. Thank you so much for always keeping a sharp eye on our horses. We couldn’t do it without you. So, after the jog a few of the riders headed off to a mall in Guadalajara (that included Dr. Ober and I) to have lunch and sniff around. WOWZA what a mall. After we had lunch at PF Changs we started our adventure in one of the fanciest malls I’ve ever been to. Coach, Hilfiger, Prada to name a few of the huge stores we passed. Lots of shoes…Mmmmm shoes are my weakness. When we went to the department store (which I can’t spell or pronounce) and saw the shoes there I picked out my favourite pair. Sparkly pumps a mere 8779 pesos ($879 approx).
Hawley picked out her favourite pair of pumps 14000 pesos (aka $1400 USA) HA can you believe it? Good taste eh? Needless to say I made it out of the mall without buying anything other than lunch.
Back to the barn we went for a short flat school with David in the main arena. I was so pleased with Woody his canter to walk is really becoming second nature. Now David says I need to focus on the walk to canter more as well. Had a light bulb moment with how to teach him proper turn on the haunches…coach said give him a quick half halt on the third step. Really helped us. Hawley and Rebecca did much the same as me. James and Jessica worked in a dressage ring with David they both looked very fancy!
Chillie hosted a BBQ so I went to hang out with everyone and thanked them very much for a good time. I didn’t eat anything obviously as I am a vegetarian. I made sure Anne Marie went with Amanda (Jessica’s groom) to get some dinner at a restaurant down the road before I went back to the hotel with the others. I enjoy hanging out in my hotel room and using the WI FI so I ordered Linguini Pomodoro and salad from Tintoretto, then walked down to the deli where I could get some candy…Mmmm coke bottles chewy candies are the best especially when you can hide them in your hotel room and share them with no one!! LOL. Can you tell I was an only child?
So tomorrow we get to walk the course and we have a riders meeting at 10:30 a.m. Let the games begin.