The FA Cup Semi Final saw Aston Villa be victorious booking their ticket to the final in May, and lots of amusing jokes about Steven Gerrard’s revised birthday plans. It seems only yesterday that half of Wembley was adorned by sea of red and white with Stoke in the 2011 final. Where does the time go? The final stages of the FA Cup are always a gentle reminder that the Premier League season is drawing to a close for another year. The campaign for the FA Cup trophy begins as early as August as the Premier League season gets under way for the 2015/2016 season. At least not before Asmir and I get a chance to get away for a short break to enjoy some time off.
Usually Asmir’s International commitments for Bosnia in the summer break can make finding time for a holiday a little challenging, but even more so when we are now factoring in my competition commitments. We have tried to sit down to make plans and this year, it seems that I will be the one complicating matters as my schedule is incredibly busy with shows through May and June. A silver lining is that Asmir can make a rare appearance at my shows, as his schedule doesn’t always allow for him to attend during the football season.
Viva Las Vegas
Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro retained their World Cup title for the second year running, doing the double taking wins in both the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Freestyle. This crucial result means Charlotte still maintains history as the only rider to hold the Olympic, World, European and World Cup titles, not to mention she also holds all three world cup records! It could be a very very long time indeed before we get to witness such an exceptional partnership between horse and rider. Valegro is no ordinary horse and in our equestrian community, he is our ‘Pelé’ and will be remembered for all eternity.
It’s a strange thought of world class Dressage, famous for its conservative and traditional appearance, taking place just a stones throw away from the famously bright, excessive and over the top Las Vegas strip. Is this really the ‘utopia’ for adults? It is only fair if the kids can have Disneyworld. One would think the two just wouldn’t compliment each other, but how wrong I was! Hosting the FEI World Cup Finals was the gargantuan Thomas & Mack Centre that usually houses avid college basketball fans. It was bursting at the seams as equestrian enthusiasts from all over the world descended to middle of the Nevada desert.
A Hop, Skip and a Jump to Holland
If you are someone who dreads just thought of packing for yourself or the kids for that long awaited holiday, then you can only imagine what packing the ‘suitcase’ for a horse entails. The time has come for my imminent departure to Holland to take part in my first International competition representing Great Britain. As you can imagine this is a long awaited ‘dream come true’ that I couldn’t be more excited about (and not least forgetting a little trepidation which is normal).
And so it begins, the Tetris style packing to ensure that every square centimetre is adequately occupied with essential gear. This includes heavy bags of feed, shavings bales and hay to ensure plentiful supply for the duration of the travel and show. Topped off with vital equipment such as tack, rugs, buckets, competition gear and stable equipment that has to be squeezed in. And not forgetting the space for the horses to travel in too. Then comes the ‘people packing’ of our clothes, equipment and food and eventually you can collapse with an exhausted sigh of relief that you have achieved your first challenge preparing for the competition and you haven’t even left the yard! The real work begins when you get to the show…….
I look forward to sharing my experiences of Holland and the trip with you next time!