Louisa Hill: Aug/12
What an incredibly exciting few months I've had. Amazing the fantastic places and experiences horses have taken me through my life!!
I left New Zealand in April for Munich with "AJ" to prepare for London. I was based with my trainer Andreas Mueller there with the aim of having enough time to get AJ used to the northern hemisphere time zone, let AJ get over the travel and have as much time as possible for training. Unfortunately, after about 3 weeks of getting there AJ went into a strange state of fatigue which is very unusual for him.Things weren't bad on blood test and although missing his "CopRice", he was eating and drinking. Just very hard to train and work on gaining fitness and condition after the flight. As the vet said, some of them can take a year to get over the flight. This was very frustrating as it continued through to the Olympics where just before he had to go onto antibiotics and the vets and London( who are such great performance vets and knowing the importance of having the horse 100% right for what we want them to do instead of the 90% that I had) found he needed a month of treatment for low lying lung and airway problems. This unfortunately meant I could only ride my test to the 90% I had as I had to stay within what he was capable of doing. Obviously this was somewhat disappointing but you have to do the best with what you have on the day. Apart from a couple of silly but expensive mistakes and feeling that maybe I should have got a few more marks,when I finished my test I was delighted and felt we did the best we could have done under the circumstances. The lovely smile from Stephen Clarke (one of the judges) and the noise from the crowd made this one of the most special moments in my life. Representing your country at the Olympics is the most incredible experiences one can have.
I think London did a fantastic job of putting on this huge sporting events. Seeing athletes from such countries as Afghanistan and Syria and the first woman athlete from Saudi Arabia is what makes this sporting event so unique. It's about being there and being the best in your country and I felt humbled and priviliged to have been a part of it twice in my life. It was all over far too quickly!!
AJ was meant to have gone into quarantine immediately but because he isn't 100% it is too risky to put him on the plane home. I also think it would be mean to put him through another long flight because he probably is the sort of horse that it would take him another year to get over that one so he has gone to Patrik Kittel's lovely stable in Germany and has started his month of treatment, is in light work and goes in the water/walker a couple of times a week to start improving his fitness. I am nearly home and as quickly as possible back to work to try and pay for him to stay there and see if I can go backwards and forwards for training looking towards Normandy at WEG in 2014.
After what we have done, I think you need to have your horse based there and acclimatised to the different hemisphere (maybe a year in advance) campaign your horse at the many shows they have and be in a stimulating environment where you are stimulated and can keep learning. We are going to see if we can meet these steps towards my goal.
I thank the many people that helped me on this incredible journey with special thanks to CopRice. Without your help over the last 5 years, I would never have got AJ to Grand Prix let alone the Olympics. I am so grateful!!!!
Lou & AJ xx