July 13, 2012–Well, we made it across the big pond! Everybody arrived safely and we are getting settled into our new routines. The horses all arrived in excellent shape, and I think they are really enjoying the cool weather, after two weeks of near 100 degree heat and humidity in New Jersey. Wizard is fresh and happy and was eager to get to work.
The first day was rest and recover from the trip, for both the horses and the riders. Then we had a light day of long and low and stretching work, and today was our first real schooling session. Wizard feels fantastic and I can honestly say that I think he is going better than he ever has! We are staying in the little countryside town of Hadleigh, about two hours north of London. The barn we are staying at is Linda Keenan’s gorgeous Layham Hall. It is a beautiful facility with great arenas, and miles and miles of scenic rolling hills adjoining it. Wizard is thoroughly enjoying his post-work trail rides through the lush countryside here.
The riders and grooms are all staying at a charming bed and breakfast in town, and I have been biking to and from the barn every day. We have all been having a wonderful time together, with lots of fun dinners out and plenty of laughing going on. Every afternoon we have rider fitness sessions, a.k.a. “bootcamp,” led by Steffen Peters. It is not only great exercise, but also great fun and a good team building experience. Everyone, even the grooms and veterinary staff, participates. If nothing else, we are all laughing so hard the whole time that we get a good ab workout!
Anne Gribbons, our team coach, arrived yesterday and tomorrow we start official training sessions with her. So far, we have been lucky enough to be able to ride outside every day, but the weather is supposed to turn a bit wetter here soon so we may be moving to the indoor for tomorrow’s training sessions.
Arizona Young Rider Brandi Roenick, who trains with Steffen Peters and won the Young Rider Championships at the Festival of Champions, made this video of clips of the U.S. team riders. I hope you enjoy it!
For more from Adrienne’s coach, Olympian Debbie McDonald, check out Riding Through, a book that details Debbie’s system for dressage success.
Read more about Adrienne’s Olympic experience in the Olympic dressage coverage.