Thursday, July 31, 2008

Beijing or Bust, Even in Coach

It is Wednesday the 30th of July. The world travelers are off on the start of their grand adventure (talking about the horses here). They left the quarantine site at about 5 this morning. All done without the grooms present, quite the accomplishment for a bunch of Olympic riders left on their own.

They have a stop in Dubai to refuel and then on to Hong Kong. We learned today that waiting at the airport for the horses are two sets of lorries. One set transports the horses in air conditioned luxury and the second set follows each lorry in case there is a mechanical breakdown of the first lorry.

It was back to Aston Farm where Amy had an appointment with a photographer that was freelancing for Business Week. They are doing an article on Nike. Amy has been helping design some equestrian riding boots for them. The magazine needed some pictures of her wearing and using the boots. So America’s next super models (Amy and Leyland) were put through their paces for about an hour and a half. Leyland was so over it about 5 minutes into the “shoot,” (I think his rider was over it a lot sooner than that!). Of course the biggest challenge is getting non-horse people with big camera flash equipment to move calmly around a 1,000 pound furry ADHD child. All in all, Leyland took his new found star-status in stride. Amy even commented that he was more rideable during her jump school immediately after the picture shoot. Great, Pogi is already a ham when it comes to cameras, and now there is another one in the household. I’ll tell you the story of the Nike boots later.

We received a phone call at 5 in the morning (31st) that all the horses had arrived in Hong Kong, apparently fit as fiddles… not really sure what that saying means, but nonetheless all appears well with the ponies. Another step down. Given that we are flying coach to Hong Kong, I am not sure that we will arrive in as good of condition. I guess it helps to be British and fly BA, since the Brits are flying business class to HK. I guess as Americans we should be lucky that we are not flying in the hold of the British Air flight.

We are quickly wrapping up packing and all the assorted last minute details of going. We are leaving the young Leyland in the hands of Katrine, Amy’s groom. Katrine has the completely not-so-glorious job of staying behind and keeping Leyland going so that he can compete in a 3* event in Scotland upon Amy’s return. It may be less glamorous than traveling to China, but I can say that going to the Olympics would not be feasible if there wasn’t anyone able to care for and keep Leyland in work while Amy was gone. So my thanks are with Katrine for keeping things going!

I will wrap up this short blog and say, see you soon. If you could only imagine the impatience of 4-star riders going to the Olympics, then you would understand the joy I am feeling about now…

I would like to pass on some well wishes to both Amy’s and my fathers.

Take care.

- Greg


diana said...

Wow I just found this blog and read it all, thanks so much! What is it with ice in the UK (we were in Scotland once).
I met Amy briefly at the Safety Summit (in the bar with Karen, to watch Big Brown's Belmont) and it is so great to read what is going on.
The very best luck to you all, what an amazing experience! Diana

Heather said...

Thanks Greg for the update & details. It's awesome to hear about the Hong Kong adventure trail of our hometown girl. Wish Amy our best & good luck to you....
Heather M. - Olson's Tack Shop