Another glorious day at Pratoni del Vivaro with sunshine in the valley and the majestic sight of the wooded mountains as a backdrop which is so synonymous with this venue. Kiwis won gold here in 1998 when the World Championships were last held here but although much has changed since then, much has also stayed the same.
We have the same laid back Italian attitude with a mini construction site going on all around us as hospitality suites are still being built, tracks are being laid and banners being put up. We have brand new all weather arenas, quite a plethora of them, and lots of new fencing all around them. We also have the grass showjumping arena that Tim and Spartaco so enjoyed jumping on at the event here last autumn which will be saved for Sunday and behind all of these we can see the cross country track winding up and down the hills.
It’s a long old way from training camp in Marlborough to Pratoni del Vivaro, around 2,000kms. The horses left Marlborough around 5pm on Friday afternoon and travelled to Gigi’s yard in Guildford before stabling for a few hours. The 5 grooms loaded all the gear into Gigi’s 15 horse articulated truck and then got up at 2.30am for the departure for Dover. They were held over in Calais at the vet check point whilst carnets, health papers and passports were poured over and eventually stamped a couple of hours after was really necessary. The French do love their power trips when armed with a small cap and large stamp.
Chantilly on Saturday late afternoon them Milan which they left in the small hours and arrived at the venue just after 9am. All five horses (and five grooms!) travelled superbly and passed all the health tests on arrival.
Stables were set up and decorated with the Kiwi flags and stable drapes and by the time we arrived on Monday afternoon the horses looked at home and the crew went off for a hack in the beautiful grounds. It turned out that most of the grounds were off limits and the hack strip was pretty limited. Jonelle went off piste with McClaren (Mac) and made her own hack track but she did get hunted down pretty quickly and redirected to civilisation!
The team horses and riders looked simply fabulous at the jog. They sailed up and down the strip and all breezed up past the ground jury and pass with flying colours. Always a good start to a Championship week!
All results on :
Dressage times for Team NZ: Monica Spencer/ Artist Thursday 10.57. Clarke Johnstone/Menlo Park Thursday 3.27. Jonelle and McClaren Friday 11.52. Tim and Falco Friday 4.30 and our individual, Amanda Pottinger and Just Kidding goes on Friday at 9.54.