October found me flying back to Germany to watch my 3-year-old stallion, Romanesque (Blue Hors Romanov—Elfentanz, Fidertanz), finish the final days of testing in the 70 Day Test at Neustadt (Dosse) near Berlin.
I think my last few blogs caught you up on the important things that happened over the summer in Europe. I put my horses on a plane back to New York at the beginning of August and settled in at home in New Jersey for a few blissful months of training, showing and spending time with my dogs and my husband.
Life with horses is a never-ending learning process, and training a successful international Grand Prix horse is no exception. You can teach a horse to perform the test at home relatively quickly, but experience will teach you that you don’t really have a competitive Grand Prix horse until you master the art of riding him at a show the way you ride him at home. This takes time. Many factors come into play, and you might be surprised how intricate the polishing of a Grand Prix horse can become.
After making the decision to stay in Europe and not pursue a spot on the U.S. team last summer, I set about dealing with some issues that came up with Mane Stream Hotmail while I was still in Europe.
If you recall his unusual history, I had purchased Hotmail, aka Scottsdale, in 2012 as a 10-year-old third level dressage horse, hoping to advance him to Prix St. Georges and sell him in Florida within a short time.
This is going to be a long story, Rita, so brew a fresh pot of coffee and dig in for Part 1.
I learned something last spring from a client and good friend of mine. When I was agonizing over the decision whether to go to Europe straight from Florida at the beginning of April, she said to me, “That’s the nature of the game. When you have the horse and you have the opportunity, you have to drop everything and go.”
I became known in Germany for my breeding horses long before anyone recognized me as a competitive rider.
In 1997 I bought my first broodmare from a well-established breeder of both Oldenburg and Hanoverian horses, Ewald Grotelueschen in Wardenburg, Germany. He had a famous mare line originating from the old blood Efendi and Goldstern that he had crossed with Figaro, a descendent of the famous Furioso II.
Please don’t be insulted that you found out I went to Europe with Hotmail via social media. It was a snap decision, and there was no time amid massive and frenetic logistical planning to call even my closest friends. My own mother did not know until today!
Grand Prix horses are made, not born. And my horse Mane Stream Hotmail is no exception.
Pieces of this story you already know. Mane Stream Hotmail came to me in late spring of 2012. He was 10 years old, a bit stiff and resistant in places, but not without charm. He was a third level horse who was scoring 62 percent in Denmark at national shows on a good day.
If you happen to follow the Chinese zodiac, you already know that we are about to enter the Year of the Horse 2014 at the end of January. All I can say is, “Hasta La Vista, Baby!” to the Year of the Snake 2013! That was a tough year for me, Rita, full of incredible highs and devastating lows. Quite frankly, I prefer the middle way.
Now I happen to think that every year is the Year of the Horse, but I am very excited about the beginning of this one.