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April 22, 2013

Look Out Sweden, Reed Kessler Has Arrived In Gothenburg!

The team that works out together wins together! U.S. riders (from left) Reed Kessler, Charlie Jayne and Ashlee Bond got in a work-out together as the week of the Rolex FEI World Cup Finals began.

Hi everybody, it is a pleasure to be the guest blogger for the Chronicle this week here in Gothenburg, Sweden, for the Rolex FEI World Cup Final!

I came over here on April 7, spent a few days in Chantilly, then headed into Paris for the Saut Hermes. I took Ligist (Goose) and Cylana to Paris. The show was spectacular—the pinnacle of a European five-star. It is an amazing city, an incredible venue, great sport, great prize money, great crowd, etc.

It took a couple of days to adjust to being in a small indoor again after 12 weeks in the huge arena [at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival] in Wellington, Fla. But by the last day we were in the groove again—I finished second in the grand prix just .2 seconds behind Ludger Beerbaum. It was a great jump-off with 14 in it and to finish just behind Ludger and ahead of Rolf-Goran Bengtsson was very exciting. I definitely left feeling prepared for Gothenburg!

I spent one more day shopping in Paris (we didn't have too much free time to shop during the show, and you can't go to Paris and not take a tour down the Faubourg...) then I headed home to Nancy, France, on the TGV (the fast train). We spent one week in Rosiers Aux Salines at the farm Katie and Henri Prudent own along with the Gaspard family. One of my closest friends, Marlene, was back from school, and it was so fun to spend a few days with her. We went into Nancy to meet up with some of her friends in the Place Stanislas, which is so pretty, and she also cooked for us all one night.

It was pretty quiet with just the two horses to ride, so I spent a lot of time catching up on my reading, sleep and TV shows! I finished Helter Skelter, Water For Elephants and started Fahrenheit 451. I also finally watched the new season of "Dexter" (I love "Dexter" and my other favorite show is "Psych") and countless movies including Sleepless in Seattle, Charlie Bartlett, Pretty Woman and a few others.

It is a pretty quiet village, and while it is nice to have a few easy days, by the end of an entire week you have watched a LOT of movies...

We shipped the horses over to the Haras just around the corner where there is a big indoor. We only jumped the one day as the horses showed in Paris and were pretty in form. After a bit of practice they felt ready for action. Cylana was definitely not tired and was ready to hit the road!

The horses left Saturday morning and shipped 10 hours to Guido Klatte's farm in Germany. All the horses from the U.S. riders met there and then shipped together up to Sweden on Sunday. Everyone seemed to ship well, and it was a pretty smooth trip. I flew in yesterday to Luxembourg, then to Munich, and on to Gothenburg! After checking in I met up with fellow American World Cup finalist and London teammate Charlie Jayne. We found a nice Italian place for dinner that was close by.

This morning I headed over the Scandinavium, which is attached to our hotel, but we still have to walk outside to get in, and it was pretty cold! I rode the horses at 10 a.m. Cylana was WILD but in a good way, definitely feeling good after the long trip! We tried to explain to Goose that he is back home in Sweden where he grew up, but he is a little dopey by nature and doesn't seem to remember...

After riding, Ashlee Bond, her fiancé Sage Clarke, Charlie, and I headed to the gym for a “team” workout. I thought it would be in the hotel, but it is actually past the horse show, so if we want to work out we have to walk by the show in our running pants—yikes! After a good work-out, we headed back, changed and went to adventure around the city. We walked down the main street where there are a lot of cute restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Of course we decided to have lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe!

After lunch we decided to do some shopping and got some very funny stuff. I got a USA bikini (always representin') and USA onesies!!!!! I love a good onesie. We kept walking all the way to the water and got some pretty great pictures being touristy with statues, etc. All in all a pretty fun day!!!

The Rolex FEI World Cup Show Jumping Final and the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final take place from April 25-28—check in with the Chronicle for all the coverage and highlights!