Reed Kessler: A Quick Trip to London

July 25, 2012–Katie, my mother and I got to the hotel in Amsterdam late Sunday night around midnight. I woke up early and met with the team to fly to London for the day for team processing. McLain Ward got stopped at passport control for an unpaid parking ticket from Rotterdam in 2009! He jokingly tried to tell Lizzy Chesson, the show jumping high performance director ,that he parked illegally trying to drop George off closer to the show, but I think he just wanted his ticket paid! It was a short 50-minute flight to London city airport. When we arrived representatives of the the U.S. Olympic staff picked us up to take us to processing.

Photo courtesy Reed Kessler
Duffel bags full of U.S. team gear. | Photo courtesy Reed Kessler

First, we all had a lot of clothing to try on! There were four duffel bags full of Nike and Ralph Lauren clothing for each of us. Beezie Madden and I shared a room and had a lot of fun going through it all. Everything was so nice but there were a few things that were a bit strange. For example, there was a pair of sweatpants that were really loose in the waist with elastic bands on the ankles that made them basically Hammerpants. Beezie looked at me trying to figure out what the heck was going on and said, “No offense, but that’s not the most flattering thing you’ve put on so far.” I was in stitches, and? it was a lot of fun. It took us about an hour and a half to get through it all! I would have thought us girls would take the longest, but apparently Rich took even another 30 minutes. Lizzy said he was very overwhelmed by all the fashion.

Next, I got to order my Olympic ring! I chose a white gold one. They are so beautiful! Can’t wait to wear it. They took my picture for accreditation and then I headed off to the Ralph Lauren fittings for opening and closing ceremonies. I really like the shirt-dress we get to wear for closings, I can see myself wearing that again after the Games! I did however look very funny in the hats. I’m not really a hat person!

We took a team picture and then headed to lunch. We had lunch near the Olympic park. George asked if my boyfriend, Tim, was here. He said he was hoping I would sneak away for an hour so I would be the decoy and he could sneak away himself! Lizzy was not amused! After lunch, we headed back to the airport. McLain somehow managed to get stopped again by security and got a very, very thorough pat-down. His face was priceless. Once we arrived back in Amsterdam, we drove the 1.5 hours to Staphorst to our hotel the Waanders. We had a nice dinner and went to bed exhausted.

Reed Kessler in one of her Olympic outfits. | Photo courtesy Reed Kessler

This morning, we all started riding at 9:00 a.m. Johan’s is beautiful. He has a huge grass jumping field and a long sand ring. I started on Cylana in the grass, then did most of my flatting in the sand. She felt great! All the team horses looked fantastic. After I rode her, Tim Ober did a little chiropractic work on her neck. After two big cracks, she was yawning and relaxed. That’s unusual for her to do with someone in her stall! I watched George ride Mika a bit, then got on Onisha.

I immediately regretted riding her in a snaffle. She was insane and just wanted to run. Naturally, Katie then took away my stirrups. Not the most fun lesson I’ve ever had! A combination of Onisha’s two least favorite things: rails on the ground/small jumps and no stirrups! Katie set a really tight bounce of poles on the ground which Onisha kept jumping as an oxer the entire time causing me to continuously land on her back like a sack of potatoes, infuriating her even more. Katie also set a small vertical with a flat rectangular black tarp/box thing under it. Onisha was jumping 15 feet over it landing at a dead run (very entertaining for onlookers). After enough torture, I got to ride Goose with stirrups. Huzzah!

Later in the afternoon, I found a nice little gym around the corner and finally got to have a good workout. The town is really cute and best part of Holland is that everyone speaks English!

For more about Reed Kessler’s Olympic show jumping experience, go to the show jumping coverage.

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