Before the sun could completely rise, the horses had eaten their breakfast, been for their walks, and were now in the process of being tacked up. As 8:00 rolled around, buck and I were mounted up and slowly meandering toward the jump ring. The horses were as brilliant ( as they say here in England) as they could possibly be. We jumped skinnies, corners, oxers, and triple lines. We jumped oxers backwards and did bending lines that only the most courageous would dare to tackle. There was nothing that were daunting these two boys!
After the jump session, buck and I hacked over to a valley where we were to gallop the horses up and down three times. The gallop turned out to be more like a march race; however, not a race between reggie and al, but one between al and the massive herd of sheep that inhabited the lush pastureland. I could finally take a deep breath only as we returned to the barn as al was far from amused by his foreign encounter. Buck and I handed the boys to kathleen and Jackie while we headed for the nearest venue that sold ice. When we returned back to the barn, the US vet, Christiana Ober had arrived and had already taken the boys blood samples, administered their weekly adequan and legend, and alloted 15 doses of Gastrogaurd to each horse.
Mom and I then took dr. Ober to a nearby veterinary clinic to pick up fluids that would be administered to the horses before they take off on the runway. When we returned from the clinic, I was met with one of the most unforgettable sights that any aspiring young Olympian has ever had the priviledge of seeing. I saw the reigning world champions of eventing: mark Phillips' daughter, zara Phillips and her impressive multicolored mount, toytown. Like a starstruck teenager, I cowly approached her and asked to pet her horse. I thought I had nearly died and gone to heaven, which humored many an onlooker. I nearly passed out when I discovered that zara was jump schooling toytown in the ring I had jumped in earlier in the day. set fences for her, completely awestruck at having the chance to be in the presence of one if the most competitive and reputable eventing combinations on the world!
When I finally descended from the cloud I was on, mom and I took the blood work back to the vet clinic where we were completely flabbergasted by an email my mom received that informed us of the death of my moms friends mother. Apparently she had died while trying to land her plane in Washington state. My hearfelt condolences and prayers go out to shelley and her family. Her mother, as adventurous as any, will now be in heaven parading through the clouds with my best friend and one true partner, eight saint James place. Both of them will be truly missed.
This evening, graeme took all us girls to dinner. We ate at The Fleece, a local pub near the town of stroud. Dinner was packed with laughter and horse talk, and although I still haven't had a satisfying meal yet, I thoroughly enjoyed the dining experience.
And so, our last evening in England has now marked the beginning of a new experience into the unknown. Tomorrow I will write a concise message before we take off to Olympic test event in hong kong, china.