Midweekherald.co.uk - Full Article
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
junior European Event rider Dace Sainsbury writes: After final preparations were made ready for our trip to Belgium I could not help but check and re check that I had packed everything that I could possibly need for a week away.
Finally I felt prepared, so on Tuesday morning Samantha, James, my Mum and I set off for Dover. Apart from a slight detour that almost resulted in us being packed off into the eurotunnel, we safely reached the lairage in time for our 4pm ‘final’ vet check to ensure the horses were fit and ready for the lengthy travel to Belgium and of course the competition.
So, after all the inevitable delays in logistics we finally boarded the ferry on Wednesday morning. As it was the first time I had ever travelled Ballota on a ferry I was very nervous about the whole procedure but the team and the management assured me that there wasd nothing to worry about and she would still be in one piece on the other side. We were very lucky to have had a very smooth ferry crossing and the offloading procedure was relatively painless, within no time at all we were negotiating our way around Calais and were full steam ahead to the venue at Mont Le Soie. It has to be said that despite mydoubts about James’ capability in driving abroad he did not make a mistake the whole trip.
We arrived at Mont Le Soie at around 8pm. One more vet check for the horses, food for human and horses and then bed. The hotel was astounding and the hospitality was beyond expectations for a group of over 40 British riders, crews and management and were happoy to accomodate our late dinners and early breakfasts.
The next few days were crammed full of pre-ride exercise, vet checks, team tactics, vet checks, setting up vet gates, vet checks and generally getting to know each other and each others horses better. We had a fantastic time and the weather was beautiful, but by Friday evening, the eve of the competition, I can only speak for myself when I say my nerves were at breaking point and it took a lot of diversion tactics from my support crew to keep me smiling!
Four AM Saturday morning, the hotel was alive with riders and crews readying themselves for the day ahead...
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