Thanks to Athletux, we’re thrilled to bring you a host of guest bloggers from Galway Downs this coming week. Kristin Schmolze, one of those guest bloggers, is entered in the CCI3* with Ballylaffin Bracken. Kristin and Ballylaffin Bracken, a 13-year-old, 17.3 Irish Sport Horse gelding finished Rolex this year in 25th. After a long trip from the East Coast, Kristin and “Rox” have arrived in California. Many thanks to Kristin for writing, and thank you for reading.
Kristin Schmolze and Ballylaffin Bracken at Rolex, photo by Jenni Autry.
Welcome to sunny southern California! We’ve arrived at Galway Downs and all of the East Coast horses have settled in beautifully! As always, Robert Kellerhouse and numerous west coast riders and friends are always here to lend a hand, show amazing hospitality, and let us borrow a wheel barrow among other necessities! While having to travel and pack ‘lightly’ for a plane ride, we start to realize how much we take for granted all of our creature comforts at horse shows, like saddle racks!!
We are here on site rather early for a Three-Day and everyone is hard at work preparing for next weekend’s events. I was able to hack out on the track this morning and get a glimpse of some of the cross-country, from the parts I could see, it looks big and fun! It is still in the early stages of decoration and numbering, so it’s hard to see it all from a distance, though over the next few days it will transform into the beautifully-designed and decorated CCI*** track that we have traveled across the country to take a shot at!
Our East Coast contingent started with 7 horses leaving NJ, PA and VA out of Baltimore in the wee hours of Saturday morning. [Video of plane
] Due to some very unfortunate circumstances, Caitlin Silliman’s partner, Remington, was having a difficult time on the first leg of the flight and Caitlin along with her owners and the knowledgeable crew at Tex Sutton decided to take Remi off the plane during the stop over in Louisville to ensure his safety and let him travel back home by truck. A crushing decision for everyone to make, but an easy decision when it comes to your horse’s welfare. Hats off to Caitlin for making the right choice by her horse and being the true horseman that she always is! I am sure going to miss her out here in California though!
Today (Sunday), we have been able to take things a bit slowly as we all recover from the long trip and time change. The horses have enjoyed some light hacking as they get familiarized with their surroundings. A day to organize, make a plan for the week, and watch some polo!!
Ballylaffin Bracken (Rox), always loves getting to a horse show (I believe it is mainly so he can see his fans and have his picture taken!), and he has settled right into his stall as if he’s been here for weeks! He felt great today on his rides and is enjoying hacking (and spooking) around the show grounds…I think he is trying to tell me, “Mom stop worrying about my fitness, I’m FIT!!”
I’m excited to be blogging for EN this week and look forward to bringing you more from behind the scenes in CA soon!
Go Eventing! Go Galway Downs!