The August 2020 Update: It Takes A Village at Windurra USA

I’ve obviously had a frustrating year this year, with a couple of surgeries on my hips and groin muscle. My body has had years and years of wear and tear and I had to get a bit of repair work: I had scar tissue that had calcified and turned into bone that they had to extract, and while they had me opened up they shaved off some bone spurs as well. Basically it’s been like a sharp sword tearing the muscle for the past five years and I just kept working through the pain.

I have been doing consistent physical therapy and had started riding again, but I overdid it and had to back off.  Basically I feel like an old, beat-up car that has gone into the mechanic and had a service. Once I come through this, I should feel like I’m 20 years old again!

The silver lining is this has been such a weird year with canceled events; if there was ever a time to sit an eventing season out, this would be it. Ironically, if I had been lucky enough to make the Olympics this year I might not have been physically able to give my best performance. But saying all that, I’m feeling better than ever: I met with the doc yesterday and I can start riding next week. Overall I’m feeling way better than I did earlier this year.

I’ve been lucky to be surrounded, obviously, by some very good riders. My group of assistant riders at Windurra have been doing an outstanding job keeping all the horses in work, and I’ve been working Silva overtime schooling three or four horses on the flat for me each day. Phillip Dutton is piloting a number of my horses around competitions for me to great success and Irish show jumper Oliver McCarthy has been schooling some horses over fences at home.

Peter Wylde has also taken on competing some of my top-level horses in the jumpers. Last Wednesday Peter was kind enough to ride both Long Island T and Tsetserleg TSF in the 1.20 and 1.30 jumpers at Princeton Show Jumping in NJ. I have to say it was a privilege and pleasure to watch Peter school the horses, warm them up and compete them.

Both horses are good jumpers, but it’s hard to consistently get good rounds out of them and Peter performed an absolute masterclass with them. He’s a soft, smooth, accurate rider and obviously one of the best show jumpers in the world. He’s been coming and riding them for the past couple of months and does a masterful job in their schooling, training and at the competition.

Ludwig and Thomas both jumped clear rounds in the 1.20 and 1.30 and it was wonderful getting feedback from Peter on the exact warmup each horse needs and how to ride them in the ring. He also made some changes in their equipment, regarding which bits and boots to use, and that really helped them out. I think when I get going again the horses will be so much further along in their training.


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