Julia Hargreaves: Apr/12
June 2012 News
Well... I can't remember when I last blogged, but I do know that a lot has happened since! Plenty of ups and downs and lots of sleepless nights! Luckily the end result was worth the blood, sweat and tears! So Vedor and I are off to the Olympics! I really can't believe that it's happening to be honest. I feel like the luckiest person alive! I have an unbelievable horse and incredible support crew. Anna has been fantastic. She always manages to keep me cool, calm and collected... mainly because that is exactly Anna! She also has been a huge help with the whole management side, which to be honest, I really struggle with. Vedor also has taken a liking to Anna, and being the quirky man he is, this was a very important thing for me. So I'm looking forward to this adventure with the 2 of them(:I must also thank my wonderful parents.
I know this campaign has not been easy for them, whether they are with me, or have an ocean between us. They always cop the brunt when things aren't going to plan, and manage to pick me back up and push me along. I am also very aware of the impact I've had on their bank accounts, I hope to pay them back in the not so distant future!
So, I'm going to skip a few things and go straight to the selection shows. Starting with the bog hole of Belgium, otherwise known as Lummen. The show in Lummen has a history of being wet, and it definitely lived up to its reputation. The first day was not terrible, ground was ok. The rain didn't really set in till after the Nations Cup luckily. Vedor was excellent, he is feeling more like how he felt in Australia. I guess it's taken him a long time to adjust to Europe. Even though he was born here. I do strongly believe that the flight from Aus to Europe can really take its toll on the horses. When I really think about it, Vedor didn't really start to shine in Australia till about 1 and a half years after arrival. So hopefully this is all in good timing.
In the Nations Cup we jumped a five fault round. The rider definitely earned all 5 of those, as poor Vedor didn't want to touch a fence!! I rode a little weak into the triple combination... and then just sat there... good decision Julia. So we had the middle element down. For the Grand Prix the conditions were appalling, and I assure you none of the Australians would've started if it weren't a selection event. But off we all went. The conditions effected some horses more than others. Actually. Paul and Nic seemed to be the only ones that looked comfortable. He had a unlucky fence in the combination, but the horse looked the best I've seen him. Vedor had the 1st fence down. I felt him change as soon as I trotted him into the arena and through the bog. After warming up on sand I felt him tense up immediately and I knew that he wasn't very happy with the situation, but like usual, he looked after me and finished on 8 faults. He finished the course very well, I think he started to feel safe about halfway through. It was really great to catch up with all the Aussies there, and see the rival combinations.
Vedor didn't do a great deal between the 2 selection events. He managed to get a virus 2 weeks from the final selection event... not ideal. So he didn't even get worked the 2 weeks leading up. We had him on a ventilator twice a day every day. Bourg En Bresse was a real sign to me of how special he really is, as he wasn't 100%, hadn't competed since Lummen, and had maybe 1 jumping session and 2 weeks of coughing and no work. He went into the ring like a total professional. I honestly thought I was riding the best horse in the world! I could've ridden backwards and he was going to jump a clear round! So that performance had us qualified for the grand prix. I like to think that I cope quite well under pressure, I don't normally feel it. But for some reason I was feeling it on Sunday (strange?). I was quite tense and I let Vedor down. We finished on 9 faults, which is not a great result, but on the point system it had us on the team. so... I was the happiest 9 faulter ever!
The plan now until the Olympics starts this weekend in Fontainebleau, France. I take Vedor and Paris there. It's a nice 4**** show. The following weekend I head to Monte Carlo GCT with Paris and Coulisa (one of Denis' horses). There I will compete in the invitational. Next I have a weekend off, where I will go learn a thing or two watching the big guys in Aachen... can't wait!! Geesteren is next with the rest of the Aussies. I'll have all my horses there.
Then finally Chantilly GCT, not 100% sure on what horses I am taking there. And then some 2nd rate show in London.
That's everything for the moment, thanks to all my supporters and sponsors in Australia I hope to do you proud in London.