I can´t believe the Olympics are all over for another four years. Such an amazing event and I am so lucky to have been a part of it. Greenwich Park, where the Equestrian was staged, was fantastic. The stables and arenas were situated amongst the trees and somewhat confused local residents- especially the squirrels! London did such a great job of putting on these Olympics. As an athlete, you feel so spoilt with everything that is laid on for us. Being there when the NZ eventing team won bronze was a real highlight. They are such professionals and so good at what they do. They work so hard and deserved their success.
Equestrian is difficult in that you have two athletes to have in top shape. Unfortunately for me, the flight took a lot out of my horse and he also had respiratory problems which meant he was not fit enough to do a test where I could reach my goal. I made a few very expensive mistakes which can happen as horses certainly aren´t machines and the fatigue meant he didn´t show what he can do. I was delighted with what we did do under the circumstances and finishing my test in that fantastic setting and with the applause from the crowd knowing I had just represented my country at the Olympics was so very special.
New Zealand is such a long way away from the level of the sport we saw in London. It was truly inspirational being able to watch those top combinations train and compete each day. The top horses are incredible and the riders are genius. They make it look so easy which is always the proof of a master at your sport- like the rowers and gymnasts.
My horse is not well enough to fly home and so has come to the stable of Patrik Kittel in Germany. It is a horsey 5 Star hotel with spas and water walkers for the horses as well as a lovely team of Swedish grooms and riders. Patrik is amazing to watch ride. He has something very special in his riding and he truly loves his horses. AJ (my horse) will stay here while he starts his treatment- because of doping, he couldn´t start it until after the Olympics. As well as all the other amazing facilities at Greenwich, a great vet clinic was also there with top sport vets, who really understand the need of having your horse 100% right, donating their time and expertise to be a part of this sporting event. We did a lot of tests on AJ and got to the bottom of the problem and worked out what he needs in the way of treatment. It is all fixable which is the good news. I would like to see if somehow I can raise the money to keep AJ here in training and try and come back and forward for training myself with the view of doing World Equestrian Games in two years’ time in Normandy. They are hard decisions to make as I have also been offered to sell him which of course would solve my money worries but then I would have no horse!! I think it’s too hard on them flying that long way and having to adjust from Southern Hemisphere to Northern. Also, trying to do dressage from New Zealand is very difficult without the trainers, competitions and top level combinations to motivate and inspire you. The main problem is that anything you do with horses is expensive- sometimes I wish I did a sport like running where only running shoes that were easy to transport, store and replace if something happens to them were involved!! However, dressage is the sport I love and it is the daily challenge of trying to learn it that motivates me and although I´m not getting any younger, I am looking ahead to see what new adventures are in store for me and my special horse. My sport has taken me on so many fantastic journeys and I´m so grateful to have been a part of the London Games- must be one of the best Games ever!!