Cross Country recap...

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I've just put Mandiba and Comet on the lorry to head for the airport with US vet Dr. Sarah Gold - such mixed emotions; the trip is over, but we are on our way home!!! Sad to see the lorry leave - in a way I wished we could do it all over again, but I wouldn't take the experience back for anything.....
So - back to Sunday - After Phillip's dressage, we were packing up to go to Bea's River where the cross country was taking place. Equipment was out by 11am and the horses were out the door by 2pm. All horses were loaded in 20 minutes due to the amazing organization of the crew from Pedens, shipping company from the UK that is in charge of all flights, lorries, and transportation for the Olympics and Para Olympics. Off we went and all horses were unloaded in the same orderly fashion. The one night stalls were in an air conditioned temporary building with WIDE isles - all of our trucks were neatly outside our stalls - the stalls were big and bright; again the organizers left nothing undone. Stable manager Dougie Hanom had us all bedded and water buckets hung - We love you Dougie!!!
Emma and I shared a "Bunk-a-Bin" where we were sleeping for the night - I am bit old for bunk beds... but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do...
Early to bed - been a long day and a HUGE day tomorrow.
All my life I have dreamed of going to the Olympics. I have worked hard, learned so much, blood, sweet, tears - but that cross country morning - I would have traded places with any one in the world to not feel as nervous and sick as I did that morning! Emma and I wished our horses were first to go instead of last two for the team...
The course was MUCH bigger than everyone expected... Athens was said to be a 2 star plus, where this was more of a four star. 39 jumping efforts in 8 minutes - yikes.
The amazing Mark Todd was first on the course - I have walked by him so many times on the venue and have even been introduced to him - and I still get speechless when I see him.... very embarrassing. He ran around the track well over the time, but clear over the fences to start the day out well.
Amy and Poggie were ready to attack the course - the course ended up attacking him. He got a bit close to the 10th fence and hung a leg throwing Amy to the ground... and now with the "one fall and out" rule change - that means elimination.
Next for us was Gina - we all worried about Mac's size with the heat. Mother Nature was very kind to us that day with lower temps and overcast skies... and Mac and Gina again showed not much was going to stop them. Great news back to the barns lifted the spirits....
Becky was ready to be fast and clean. She'd been watching the monitor all day and had a plan. She was getting it done - until she made the turn to the dragon and never saw her line... Comet stopped. To make matters worse, Becky got lost trying to do the option and got herself a technical stop to add to the first 20...
Baby horse had to step up. Karen was hoping that she could take some options and get home clean and slow. With Becky and Amy out - she had to try and go the fast ways if the team had any chance of keeping their head above water.
He really stepped up - but not enough - youngest horse in the field, I can't blame him. Karen rode amazingly... he came home with two stops. It is not his turn.
Phillip went out and did what he always does - ran clean and as fast as he could. Owner Bruce (I wont try and spell his last name) had his lucky stick that he found at Rolex this year... clearly it worked. Emma and I sighed that our "kids" came home safely.
Back at the barns, the volume was loud - fluids were run, legs were iced, tack was repacked - horses were back to Sha Tin on a 3pm lorry - trunks ready by 1:30 - no rest for the weary.
Spirits were low in Camp USA - all went to well to go so badly. How did it happen? A question we will be asking ourselves for a while.
On a fun note - The US show jumpers came out to walk the course the day before and got up early to be "spotters" for us on the course. They watched the first few horses go to report back to Mark Phillips to let him know how the course was riding to help the team - We thank them so much!!! I think Laura Kraut and Will Simpson may change sports!
Transport back to the venue was as easy going to Bea's River. Next was jog time for the horses with vet Brendon Furlong and farrier Steve Teachman to see what we needed to do to get us through the next vet check, which wasn't until 4pm the next day. Brendon's wife, Wendy, was also there doing acupuncture on the horses as well - we have a great support staff!!! Horses all looked great.
We tried to put the horses to bed early for a good nights sleep - it was going to be a long day on Tuesday - jog at 4pm and jumping not starting until 7:15pm. Emma and I wandered out to watch the US jumpers have practice time jumping in the big ring - well worth the watch... such fabulous horses and riders.
More soon on the rest of the story!