Arriving at Aston Farm

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Been a tough long few months for the O'Connor Event Team - we have been trying to get our feet back on the ground after some very sad and tragic times. I lost my two year old dog, Busted, to a brain tumor in March, we lost Tigger Too at Jersey Fresh and most recently and the toughest was Teddy in late May.
Karen talked months ago about trying to come to England for the US Teams mandatory outing at Barbury Castle instead of doing the mandatory outing in the US at Jim Cogdell's Fork Stables. The best in the world will be competing at Barbury and it was a great opportunity to test yourself. Amy Tryon has been based with us since January and she was coming over to do Barbury. It made sense to make the journey together. An added bonus - Clark Montgomery, a longtime student of ours, is based over here now and was just put on the short list with his horse Up Spirit. We are all here at Aston Farm, UK home of Mark and Sandy Phillips.
The trip was uneventful - actually, I can't really say that! Mandiba, Poggio and Leyland galloped early the morning of the 19th so we could get to the airport in New York in plenty of time. We barely made the flight out of JFK due to a truck fire that shut down the highway. Karen, Katrine (Amy's groom) and I got to the airport with 2 minutes to spare as the USDA vet has to inspect the horses a certain number of hours before the flight leaves to make sure they are not sick. We left Katrine with the horses in the USDA stalls while Karen and I drove as fast as the trailer would let us to the KLM cargo bay to get the equipment off loaded and weighed - If the equipment missed the flight - we wouldn't get it until Monday at best. All made it with no time to spare and our agent, Tim Dutta, was having a heart attack - Karen's response: "I made it inside the time Tim, I'm an event rider!"
Flight was good, the horses traveled well and soon we were happily unloading the horses into their big straw fill stalls for a much deserved roll and nap. The horses had a few easy days and a big trot yesterday. Karen and Amy arrive tomorrow afternoon - just in time to gear up for Barbury next week.
The weather is cool here and most of the local buzz is about Wimbledon - you can see every match on the TV, all 5 channels. I am craving a good cup of coffee and some French Vanilla creamer as well as my puppy "Boston" who is the daughter of my old dog.
More to report soon - off to watch Clark at a dressage show tomorrow.
best,
Max