A Busy Time
I have been rather slack with the blog updates of late, so I will endeavour to update you all on everything that has happened in the last weeks. With the buzz of the looming Olympics, the summer season and outdoor shows, there has been a lot happening here.
So, firstly the thing that everybody is talking about…RIO!
After a rather lengthy wait, the team for Rio was finally announced! As we had expected, Lotus and I unfortunately didn’t make the team. Obviously, we were extremely disappointed as it was a fantastic opportunity that everybody of course is aiming for. There have been many people that have been instrumental in helping Lotus and I get so far toward our goal, and we can now tick off our bucket list that we made it to the longlist!
It was an amazing experience to compete at International Shows against the world’s best in Para Dressage, and a great way to begin our career in the world of FEI dressage. I can’t thank the people enough who have been working hard behind the scenes, the people that have donated toward our entry fees and general expenses here in Europe, and the moral support crew who reminded me that although we missed out on Rio, we have only been riding Dressage for 6 months, and we must learn to be patient! However, we have refocused our efforts on training and the goal in our sights is now WEG. With the recent announcement that Canada will no longer host the games, we don’t know where it will be though…
Now the plan is to stay here in Germany and train with Lotus. There are some tough decisions to make that are certainly keeping me awake at night at the moment (watch this space). Emotionally, it is a tough game, and sometimes you need to make the hard choices.
There are so many people to thank, but a quick list!
- My mum and dad for working hard in Australia, keeping me going and supporting us no matter what
- My brother, James, who texts me everyday and reminds me to keep training hard
- My fiancee, Matt, working 15 hour days to keep paying the bills
- My best friend, who has never stopped reminding me to love what I do!
- To everybody who has donated money to get us to the qualifiers. THANK YOU!
and of course, to beautiful Lotus for whinnying at me everyday I come to the stables and for trying hard each day.
Lotus has been training well, and we have started on sequence changes. Apparently I ride better without stirrups, so I have been training without them for several weeks now. The development in my seat has been incredible, although my thighs are definitely burning after each day. We had a bit of fun last week with Alina from AM Sportpferde coming to take some pictures of Lotus and I among some other horses at the stables. Lotus was more than happy to show her skills off in front of the camera.
A sneak peak of one of our pictures from AM Sportpferde.
The weather has also improved to the point where the shorts have been broken out of the cupboard in order to rid myself of my still-winter-white legs. We magically hit the 30 degree mark this week, and the Germans are melting left, right and center.
Afternoon summer storms at the stables.
It has been a busy time at the stables, with the outdoor show season in full swing. Lotus and I attended the local show a few weeks ago which was a mere 2-minute drive from the stable. For a “local” show, there were a few hundred horses! Lotus was not on the ball that day, and spent the majority of her time on the walk to the warm up spooking at everything that moved.
A small pony was wearing a zebra-patterned rug near the arena which according to Lotus, embodied all things worthy of a horror film. She tucked her tail between her little legs and went to bolt for home. She settled enough for a decent warm up, but unfortunately she was quite distracted in the test and we made expensive mistakes. We now have a plan for the next few months with training and show schedules that I am looking forward to.
Lotus enjoying one of her Sunday 'lickit' treat.
I have been taking advantage of the summer season and setting off on my own adventures around Germany as I get more confident in navigating my way around. My best friend, Emma, flew in this week to visit me for 10 days and I was most chuffed I made it to Dusseldorf airport in one piece!
It has been wonderful to have some company again after living mostly on my own for nearly 5 months. I haven’t seen Emma in over a year, and it is like time hasn’t passed at all. After being privy to the entire rollercoaster of buying a horse in Germany, Emma was finally able to meet Lotus in the flesh!
Lotus loving her new friend.
It’s been great for me to show Emma around Germany, and the town I now call home. It is truly like the adventures of dumb and dumber (with me mainly being dumber) as we have managed to get ourselves lost in the endless staircase of an underground carpark (creepy movie, anyone?) and encourage each other to spend money on MORE horse stuff we don’t need on our tack store adventure which involved an entire afternoon driving around in 35 degrees in my flying little red polo (that has no air conditioning as it went kaput last week!) and visiting every tack store within 45 mins of home.
Brunch with the bestie!
The highlight of the week has definitely been Emma asking if they have German Shepherds in Germany…
Emma heads home next week and I have a few days before Mum and Dad arrive in August for a quick visit. I am extremely excited, as it has been nearly 9 months since I have seen my Dad and I don’t think he is truly convinced that I am capable of living on my own. The frequent calls of ‘I just cut the end of my finger off!’ and ‘today I saw this berry bush growing in my backyard. I didn’t know what it was so I ate it!’ most certainly do not help (the berries actually turned out to be currants). We have ventured around the markets, showed around Munster city and sampled every cake in Germany!
Beautiful flowers from the markets.
I am looking forward to Mum and Dad seeing how much Lotus has grown and changed in the many months since they have seen her. Her trot work has improved out of sight, and she is really coming into self-carriage now as she develops the muscles needed.
University has started again, much to my dismay. I am edging my way to the finish line, with just 8 subjects left to go. Never without drama, my exams that I sat in May were somehow lost in the vast amount of space between Germany and Australia. As of yesterday, 4 weeks in to the new semester, my exams were finally located and I was able to get my results. I was not too impressed at the possibility of having to sit them again.
I have also been given the opportunity to ride another horse at the stables in addition to Lotus. I am enjoying this immensely as it fills my day a little bit more, improves my skills but also gives me more of a reason to procrastinate from uni. It was also super groom Jules' birthday last week at the stables, for which I tested my baking skills and made a cake! I was rather chuffed I didn't set the kitchen on fire.
Jules' birthday cake.
It has been a bit of a sad time recently as my dear, special boy Johnny passed away last Friday in his paddock at home. I was absolutely heartbroken when Mum and Dad broke the news, and not seeing his little face when I come home will be devastating. Johnny first came to our family 10 years ago, and together, we won our very first rug at the Berrima ODE in 2008. Johnny was one of those immensely special horses that had a huge heart and tried his very best. Although it was a shock to lose him so suddenly, I am glad he was able to go in peace with his best friend, Janie, by his side. He is now buried in his favourite spot under his favourite tree.
Johnny and I at Canberra ODE, 2012.
I will try and update a little bit more regularly!
Until next time,
Mil and Lotus
One of Emma's 'Tourist' shots of the church here in Roxel. Built in 1200, it still amazes me even though I drive past it everyday.