The start – On April 3 I started on my adventure to Normandy to spend 8 weeks with our Australian show jumping rider Amy Graham. I was a bit worried I wouldn’t be ready to leave Thursday night due to the Sydney Royal World Cup Qualifier, having being postponed to the Wednesday morning due to torrential rain the day before. I had some quick trips to Horseland Terrey Hills ( as you do ) to buy some winter clothes for Europe! After a mad rush – leaving those last minute notes for everyone, especially those looking after the horses, I made it to the airport. My flight to Paris was so long. However the first leg from Sydney to Abu Dhabi surprisingly had the Furusyya Nations Cup showjumping on the sports channel, which made the trip one hour shorter!
After arriving in Paris and being picked up by Amy we made our way to meet the other riders from Haras Du Ry in Sancourt – an international show. I was immediately greeted by mud, more mud and cold. Amy tried to tell me that shows were not usually that muddy (I was unconvinced about this).
The differences I noticed about the shows compared to Australia:
• the technicality of the courses. Everything was related and nothing was a simple line- not just for the big classes but also the amateur classes.
• the full lunches they offered inside the bar and of course the wifi, which is apparently available at most shows. Paige told me that Sancourt was a smaller international show, and that I would be even more impressed with the food and wifi speed at some of the other international shows.
On the way back from Sancourt to Haras Du Ry, Amy mentioned that the next day she was heading to a young horse show. These shows run every Tuesday and change venue each week in their area. They incorporate formation classes for horses that are in their first year of competition and aim to help them gain confidence in the ring. There are typically 2 horses in the ring at one time, and they jump around fence 1-8 then wait for the next horse to go, then continue their second round fences 5-12 with an optional water jump at the end. Each jump has a ground rail and courses include some simple lines and a double. I really like the idea of allowing the young horses extra time in the ring to show them jumps and allow them time to relax before starting. The fact that there were 200 horses in the formation class is a different story.
We are all very excited here that Amy is going to compete at Saut Hermes in Paris. This is a 5* show held in the Grand Palais on the Champs-Elysee. I have seen so many photos of this amazing venue and cannot wait to be cheering on the Aussies!