Saturday, July 28, 2007

Day Six, Riding in the Shadow of a Palace

Day six

Today we started the day off early with buck and I riding reggie and alex some dressage in the indoor arena. After about thirty minutes of splendid work, I decided to call it a day on Al. We waited for buck to finish up with reggie, cooled the horses down, and then eagerly waited to hear the schedule captain mark Phillips had planned for us. After watching two jumping lessons of some local Brits preparing for next weeks infamous gatcombe course, mark took mom, buck and I to the gatcombe event site to check out the footing to make sure the footing was safe for our horses to school the water fence. This year is especially important for gatcombe as it is the 25th anniversary. Mark and his ex wife, the royal princess ann, heir to the throne and mother of the world eventing champion, Zara Phillips, began the show twenty five years ago which takes place in rural minchinhampton, accompanied with rolling hills and rich, succulant pasture land. The backdrop is of course, the royal estate where her majesty, the princess royal, resides. Buck and I hacked the horses over to gatcombe and met mark, mom, and kathleen at the water fence. After trotting a few circles in the water, mark prompted buck to jump into the prelim side of the water complex. After a quick gallop, buck coaxed the hesitant reggie into the water which deserved a pat on the neck. Next up, was al and I. Always a bold water horse, al seemed a little surprised about jumping into the water without any warm up, he didn't disappoint a a bounded into the water. After a few more jumps on the water, mark, buck and I were satisfied with our ponies' performances and decided to hack home. We put the boys to bed, fitted with bandages and blankets, fed them their dinner and kissed them goodnight. They will be needing as much rest as they can get with the rather ominous schedule that lay ahead. From the barn, Jackie, mom and I headed to dinner at the alliston home where we dined with john and peter, their friend and fellow four star rider emily, dan, buck and kathleen.
Jokes, both bad and good, were passed around the table accompanied by mouthfuls of cake and laughter. The night commenced with a pictionary game between the old people and the young ( pardon my generalizations). Needless to say, being older doesn't necessarily make you wiser as the youth trampled over their opponent. I, personally think it was luck and vision that was on our side ( I was really lacking in the artistry department)!
Tomorrow is another fun day planned as both buck and myself will be receiving private dressage lessons from the captain himself. As I look back on the day, I can't help but think how cool it is that just a few hours ago, I was galloping through one of the worlds most prestigious event sites, with a royal palace in my eyesight. What's more, all of this is accompanied with those who are most dear to me, and of course my equine partner, Anthony patch! See you tomorrow!!!

(As always, click on any photo to view larger.)