Julia Hargreaves: Jan/12: A
January 2012 News (A)
I have finally made it back to Valkenswaard... After just a couple dramas, which I didn't want to blog about, but now that I'm not an illegal immigrant, here I am!
I flew out of Amsterdam last year a couple of days before Christmas. I was in pretty bad shape after being groomless for a couple months and then conveniently getting a throat infection and a chest infection at the same time... I was pretty depressed to be honest, it was time to get home. At the airport I was taken in for questioning at the passport check. (I went over without a visa, you are only allowed to stay in Europe for 90 days at a time without one... I stayed 7 months. Who knew!
Truthfully I didn't think I was doing the wrong thing as I was moving around a lot to do shows in different countries) So after about an hour of interrogation I looked at the time and saw that I was probably going to miss my flight. They had just told me that I won't be allowed back into Europe for 3-6 months (this did NOT really sit well with me) so I tried to make light of the situation, you know, soften the mood by making a few light-hearted comments about staying on..... within 5 minutes I was being escorted to the plane to make sure I did leave the country. I tell you, some Europeans just don't have a sense of humour.
Something I always love about coming home is the final 20 minutes of the flight when you go over Sydney Harbour.. It really is special. The rest of the journey was pretty tough, I was having serious trouble breathing amongst other things. Luckily I was greeted by my wonderful parents, best friend Jamie Winning and two pretty cool kids, Georgie Harvey and Suzie Willis who even made a welcome home sign!
Before I flew home I did a final show in La Coruna, Spain. This was a 5***** show and I managed to score the a wild card. It was in a beautiful setting, with an indoor that overlooked the ocean! I was still pretty sick, but the ponies looked after me extremely well. Both Paris and Elton jumped the 1.45 classes, both clear most days, just one or two rails throughout the show. Vedor started twice. Clear the first day and 2 down in the 1.55 winning round class. This may not sound very good, but I was very happy with him considering we hadn't been going that great previously... And I was pretty nervous I must say!
Oh yeah, almost forgot, finally got a groom a few days before we headed to Spain... John Dickson was his name. English. He was great! Until he left in the middle of the night 2 days after I arrived in Sydney..I had prepaid him cash for a month, figure that one out! Huge thank you to Stal Tops, Jake, Paul and Charline Remy in particular for getting me out of trouble there! All those people looked after my horses at some point during the month I was away. I was very lucky. I have brought Anna Dalton back with me. Blast from the past, Anna groomed for me in the 2005-2006 time. It's very nice having someone with me I know and can trust.
I was home for just under a month, long story short, I was incredibly lucky with the Netherlands consulate who approved my visa 2 weeks after I applied for it, no questions asked. Followed by a smooth sail back into Europe... Which is FREEZING by the way. But luckily I have some of the greatest sponsors ever keeping me warm, thanks KINGSLAND! My other sponsors CopRice also provided me with great team clothing, and feed. and NatureVet loaded me down with more supplements for the horses.
While I was in Sydney the Elite Squad and Shadow Team for London was announced, and yes, I’m on it! Yay! There are several shows to get to before the final selection trials in May, so it’s back to work with a vengeance. Fortunately the horses look fit and well, and Vedor has benefited hugely from the services of his new farrier. Not a lot to complain about really! We have a small national show in a couple weeks, followed by a 3*** show in Germany. I will keep you posted (: bye for now... Julia