Julia Hargreaves: Dec/11

Julia Hargreaves December 2011 Update

A lot has happened since my last update. Starting with moving into the centre of Valkenswaard. My parents have kindly rented a 2 bedroom apartment on the main street! It's a bit of a change from the little country house we were renting with chickens and sheep in the back yard! But since everyone deserted me a few months ago, it's nice to feel like I have people around me. I have a Canadian girl staying with me at the moment. Her name is Ashley. We co-exist very well actually, we have already gotten to the point where minimal conversation is needed in the mornings and at night we always seem to want to do the same things. I think she will be staying till January.

I have been doing more riding at Stal Tops, including working with a few of their young horses and taking them to shows. I also have the Willis family’s new purchase, a great little Quick Star 6-year-old mare to train and campaign. Probably the hardest thing I am coming up against over here is how hard it is to get entries accepted into the shows. Most of the time you can only take two, if you’re lucky enough to get in in the first place. And the great news on that front is that I have been accepted as the wild card entry for the CSI 5* at La Coruna in Spain in December.

I have done two shows since Moorselle. The first was a small 2* show in Wierden, about 2-3 hours from home. It was an interesting show for me. Elton got the star. He was in the 1.30 classes and was 4 faults the first day and clear on the second. I was very happy with him, so I let him have Sunday off. Paris was his normal self... adorable. And Vedor, well... apparently we are going to take a little more time to get ourselves together this season. I'm not worried, we've made a lot of changes so it is to be expected.

Next we were off to the CSI 4* in Vienna in Austria. I don't know about anyone else, but when I hear Vienna I immediately think of a holiday destination in the sun. I don't really know why. For anyone else that shares this feeling, you are mistaken. I am now sporting a pretty fierce flu thanks to the freezing conditions and lack of warm clothing.

I should have known it was going to be a pretty entertaining weekend, as it all started at the airport. I was waiting to board my plane in Brussels when I got a phone call from my groom saying my class had been brought forward 6 hours, to 1:30PM. Which was a little off-putting as I was going to land in Vienna no earlier than 12:30PM. Stressing started... We landed in Vienna a little after 12:30, and I was trying to hurry up the most laid back coach I've ever had (Deusser), I tell you, I have not met anyone that walks so slow. I get to the show, run to the stables, throw the inserts to my boots on the ground and what do you know, I've never tried to put my boots on so close after flying... my stupid legs had swelled up. I had no chance. I had to roll my breeches up, take my socks off, and pinch my skin as I zipped them up. That was nice. Off we went to the warm up.

You know when you go into underground parking lots and the ceiling is so low that you are scared of driving your car in there? Try jumping in one. The warm-up was a whole new experience. It ran along the side of the arena behind the grandstand, the width was 5 metres, so basically you had to canter up to the end... stop... turn around, pick up canter and jump the vertical. The oxer had a different section, no bigger than a 20m circle. With big pillars everywhere that you had to dodge. It was a nice way to warm up a sensitive one! Not. I was thinking, lucky I have the old faithful first up (Paris) to get me going. But even Paris was not delighted with the conditions. After spending a few minutes near the exit with him telling me he thought we should go back to the stables, we managed to get into the ring where he was perfect... You learn quick in Vienna that warm-up jumps are extremely overrated and that you're safer to go straight into the ring after a few small jumps.

The show in Vienna is famous for parties. Obviously I took no part in this section. But I heard they were excellent (:

Back home now, have a few weeks before a small 2* show in Belgium. I won’t be taking the boys to this one, but Cammy, the Willis's 6-year-old mare and a couple of Tops horses. The 2 following weekends I have 2 shows in Spain with the boys. Porto 3* and then La Coruna 5*. Hoping that Vedor and I are back to our normal selves by then. Still deciding on what I'm going to do after that. Whether I head home or stick around for Mechelen.

That's all for now, I'm going to go buy some cold & flu tablets and try and get better!! Till next time...

Julia X


Julia_Elton-Z1s Julia_Elton-Z2s

Julia_Vedor-C1 Julia_Vedor-C4

Julia_Vedor-6 Julia_Paris-9