Currently on the long-list for the U.S. Show Jumping Team, Lauren Hough is blazing a trail through Europe on her way to the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
The last two months have been spectacular.
The Global Champions Tour is the foundation of my schedule and a better series of events cannot be found. With unparalleled sponsorship the series provides a platform for top riders to compete for excellent prize money at wonderful venues with excellent footing and crowds of interested spectators. My European marathon of horse showing began in Valencia, Spain the first leg of the GCT. It's a neat venue as they drain a huge man made water feature at a city park to create the ring. The atmosphere is always festive and the spectators enthusiastic. For me the show was a good start to a long series of shows. Both my horses were strong competitors, Prezioso S placed third in the 5* Trofeo Iberia Aerea de Espana and Casadora placed third in the 5* Trofeo Masssimo Dutti. (Photo Credit: JL Parker)
A quick flight home for me to train and then off to Hamburg, Germany to meet Quick Study, Available Versace and a young horse Winand. I had a consistent show with top placings in every class we entered but luck was on my side as I was the last to go in the GCT Grand Prix at Hamburg and Quick Study and I were able to clinch the win with the only double clear round. That was a great win, friends Edwina Alexaner and Laura Kraut, who placed second and third, joined me on the podium as we celebrated with a huge champagne bottle presented by the sponsors.
Quickly back "home" to Rodrigo Pessoa's, where we are based in Belgiu, and then a flight to Rome and on to Turino. As much as I love Italy I always seem to loose my luggage there. But I was prepared and recovered my luggage in plenty of time. Turino is a neat town and a lovely venue. It is also a new venue for the GCT set against the beautiful mountains of Italy. Casadora and Prezioso S were consistent performers getting ribbons in several classes.
Back on a plane for Belgium and "home". This week I get an extra day at the farm as we are driving to Norten Hardenberg a more local show in the Germany. The ring at this show sits below a huge castle on a hill really amazing backdrop. It was a good week for me winning the €10,000 Preis der Hardenberg-Wilthen AG and placing second in the €50,000 Norten Hardenberg Grand Prix riding Casadora. The two young horses I brought placed well in every class they entered as well.
Another week of showing nearby and low key which is nice. Balve is a traditional old show with a fantastic crowd and a beautiful setting. The weather was hot this week in Germany, but the horses were good and and placed in many classes.
I am off to GCT Cannes a venue I like very much. It is held in a small park surrounded by apartment buildings that are on the pennisula over looking the mediterainian. There is actually a childrens swing set just in front of our stalls. It is very tight but the stands are full every night (the classes run at night) including Thursday the opening night. The high caliber of sponsorship and spectators makes this such a exciting event with unique qualities. The horses were great this week.
Home once again but not for long. Rotterdam is a Nations Cup event and I am on the US Team. This is an important show for me and for my country. The US stands in 6th place mid way through the series and we are battling to be able to compete in next years Nations Cup Series and the following years Olympics. Only the top 6 teams from 2010 will be able to compete in 2011. I am also challenging my fellow countrymen for a spot on the US Team at the WEG. The three tours comprised of a long list of riders chosen in selection trials this winter are competing for the 5 positions on the team.
Its been a cold and rainy week and thursday was not a good day for me but I will put that behind me and focus on the task ahead. George decided that I will go first for the US in the Nation Cup Class. Beezie Madden's horse was under the weather and Candice King and Skara Glen's Devos moved up to take their place.
It was a good day the team pulled together, with Beezie helping from the ground, we managed to win the Nations Cup!
A few days of R & R on my way to Monaco and feeling refreshed.
Global Champions Tour, destination Monte Carl. This is an interesting show. The venue is a parking lot at a marina on a beautiful harbor. The ring is small and things are tight but its amazing what you can do with a parking lot. The town is fun and the spectators lively. The Triumph Project is the primary sponsor and benefactor of this event. The Triumph Project is an awareness campaign funded by the Davis McCullough Foundation to enlighten the world through unified efforts both in the United States and abroad of the betrayal of our equine ally.The Triumph Project sponsored a Pro Am event, Bart Soetaers and I won the class which was a rousing success with the crowd. Prezioso S and Casadora were consistent and placed in each or their classes.
Home again, Home again. Then off to Estoril.