Scroll down and look to the left for a small photo of Lauren in Bejing - click on the pic and it will take you to another couple of photos - you can click on each photo to enlarge. Doesn't she look GREAT?!
Thanks you all for your wonderful comments and support. I have been ill for the past couple of days and had to fly to Beijing for closing ceremonies. I have so many wonderful things to write about, I just need to wrap my head around the last month before I continue my blog. Its all been a whirl wind of an experience and feel quit dizzy.
Im sure Ill have some new posts in the next couple of days.
The past three days have been a blur for me, but I thought I would do my best to give you some of the details that I remember- well at least from my view. Saturday started out with some odd hick ups, first I had tried to have a bath and the water system in the hotel was acting up, I had set the water to a nice luke warm and left it to fill up. When I came to get into the tub I had just assumed it was still that temp. I dropped my feet in the tub and they bounced right back out. The water was scalding hot. Interesting way to add colour to your skin.....thankfully no blisters
I then went down to the internet to try and email Parelli and the internet was down, so I thought I would try and use my cell phone to call out, it seems my USA Verizon cell phone only wants to call home to Canada. Next option was to try the pay phones on the 2nd floor- this too proved to be difficult as the pay phone took my credit card and kept it. I had to actually go down to the 1st floor and get someone to come and remove my credit card from the phone. I then tried to call out by punching my credit card into the pay phone- this seemed to work until it told me my credit card had been frozen. I used my cell phone to call the 1-800# for the credit card and I was put on hold for 10 min- Can you image the roaming fee’s I’m looking at…… and finally I get to speak to someone and as they are confirming my personal info my the phone goes dead!!!!! The Phone couldn’t possibly go dead during the 10 min of listening to elevator music- oh no just when I start to talk to a real person. Mildly frustrated at this point and apparently lacking common sense I go back to the pay phone and proceed to stick a different credit card into the phone. Well I’m not really sure what I was expecting – but off course the card was held captive to. So again looking rather foolish I ended up back down on the first floor seeking assistance. In the end I did finally get to make a call, and it was with a calling card- every 2 seconds of call time equals 1 CAD dollar.
I then got all dressed and ready to go to the stable to ride Maile. I arrived at the elevator to discover it was on strike. The elevator won’t come and get me- and one of the 4 elevators had its alarm going off. Being on the 15th floor all of a sudden isn’t so comforting……..One of the British assistants took the 15 flights of stairs down to get help. It took 10 minutes, and finally I was riding the elevator- believe me I questions getting on the elevator as being trapped on the 15th floor sounded allot better than being trapped in an elevator.
Power mobility- So I told you about the fire in my lap from Ashley’s scooter, then when I tried to re-charge my power chair I had a smoke show, and finally left with only my red scooter it to is not happy with the power options and every time we try to plug it in it sparks. We have 3 different types of converters and for some reason none of the work. So Between Ashley and I we have used up all the power mobility and are back to our manual mobility.
My ride went well, Maile was still all stocked up- but her legs looked better once we were done our ride. We made it through another day of schooling, and we were still good to go for competing the next day. When I went back to the barn my ride time was up on the board-------silence, fear, and panic. I had just spent the last 10 days being uncertain if I was going to compete and I was emotionally ok with that. But now I had to change my frame of mind “I was going to be in that ring”
Day one of Competition,
I woke up very nervous. I don’t get nervous like this and I didn’t know how to deal with it. I was jittery and needed to move, I felt like exploding and couldn’t focus. I started my day at 6 am with stretching and therapy done to my neck and shoulder. I then got all dressed in my competition whites, put my red cloths over them and braided my hair. Everything was then put in a bag and I was off to get something to eat. Feeling like I was running behind (I wasn’t) I zipped through the Cafeteria grabbing whatever I could that didn’t require utensils. I ended up with a giant carb. breakfast- 2 croissants, one blue berry muffin and a banana. Not exactly a breakfast of champions. While on the shuttle bus I tried to close my eyes and visualize my ride- instead of seeing my ride- my mid would wonder to the most irrelevant thoughts- did I turn my flat iron off?, did I make my bed (I never make my bed), how many calories are in 2 croissants, did I remember to put on my beige underwear so they don’t show up under my white riding pants?
At the barn Maile was all braided, clean and looked stunning, Andrea the National coach had sat on her for 10 minutes in the morning to help loosen her up and get her relaxed. When Andrea asked how I was doing it all just burst out, tears and with a week voice I said “I don’t know what to do I am so nervous and I just don’t know how to handle it” In 8 years I have never felt like this and it was going to make me crazy. I ended up with Lots of hugs, reassurances and I put myself to work to keep busy. Riding hat, riding boots, stock tie, riding gloves, water, knee roll’s, straps, and then I went to a quit place and tried to focus again. Ten minutes before my test I was in the indoor warm up ring – everything feels good, I still feel like throwing up, my mind is still fuzzy, but Maile feels great. 4 min before we move to the outdoor 5 min ring and doing some medium trots, some halts and put my riding jacket on.
8:49 Lauren and Maile enter the main competition arena. We trot around the outside of the ring past all the judges booths and Maile all of sudden becomes elevated and very expressive- too expressive anymore and we were about to look like Arabian with legs and tails out of control. I quietly spoke to Maile “good girl, take it easy, you’re good and don’t need all this extra stuff, let’s both of us just relax”. We did a practice halt, both took a deep breath and the bell went. 1 minute to get in the ring. AS I looked up and around to line myself up with the center line it finally all came to me- MY FOCUS was back. I could see it now. Talk about last minute timing.
The ride was over before I knew it, I didn’t even hear the lovely music in the back ground. One moment Maile and I were heading down the center line to being our Team test and the next min. we were halting and saluting at the end of the test. The ride was steady and accurate. There were 5 judges and 4 scored me in the high 60”s with the German judge giving me 65%. I was the 2nd rider in which leaves a torturous 2 hours to sit and wait, I’m not sure if it is better to watch the other riders so you know if you have been beaten or to just go away and come and find out the results in the end. Either way the wait is awful. I was interviewed by two people- I was good and didn’t mention any of the no no’s (pollution, human rights, Tibet). I held on to the first place position till the second to last rider. I was shocked to see how many low scores there were. The Arena has been causing problems for lots of riders as it is quite scary. Horses were spooking right left and center, some of the horse and rider combinations caused quite the scare for spectators. To discover I was second left me speechless. Maile and I were first to ride for the team Canada score and we had given them a great start.
Its has been a emotional roller coaster today-
I'm going to keep this sweet and simple- TODAY after 8 years of training for this moment Maile and I won a silver medal. It hasn't really set in yet but I've got the medal around my neck to prove it.
I was up at 5 this morning and am exhausted so my plan is to now sleep for a couple of hours and then get back to the emailing.
Thanks for all the support!
This will be short as I have to get back to watch my fellow team mate compete. Maile is all heart and All I can do is thank her for the strength she is showing. We scored a 67.6- all 4 judges had me in the 68 and 69's however the 5 judge from Germany scored me in the 65's. I placed 2nd!!!- It was a solid test, and all the other riders had many mistakes- there collective marks were better then mine however they went off course and or were not accurate. If Maile couldn't go on after today I would be content- I've given Canada a good start. Thanks for all the great energy,
Seeing my name on the board with an actual ride time made me stop in my tracks. Actual to be honest I kind of feel like being sick.....this does not happen often.
So it is actually going to happen, Maileand I are going to compete at 8:49 am on Sunday the 7th of September. All the worries, stress, paper work, hours of figuring everything out, looking at stats,vet's, horse shows, over analyzing, re analyzing, crying, laughing, and sleepless nights--- will come down to 6 minutes in a ring with 5 judges from around the world.
I am the first Canadian rider to compete, I plan to start us off with a bang. Maile and I had a good training session today- still not her strong self but man does she have heart and try. She is so smart, and want's to do her best for you.....it makes me tear up knowing how hard she is trying- especially since I know she isn't feeling 100%. In the morning weather her legs are wrapped or not she comes out of the stall with legs that are swollen like logs- no definition at all. Kind of looks like me at the end of the day, I think we are having sympathy pains for one another. So Maile has a daily ritual of standing in the misters with 2 cold hoses running down her legs. My daily ritual is to try and get my feet elevated- Im not doing so good at that- but our therapist try's to scare me into being better about it.
It is September the 5thand Maile went through the vet examination today. This is a trot up that all competitors horses must do. The vets inspect the horse in the walk and trot to make sure they are 100% sound. We have been worried about this inspection as Maile has a mild string Halt. I am happy to say that she passed and has been given permission to compete.
As well the Canadian team was named today, we have 5 riders and only 4 are aloud to compete in the team portion of the competition. All 5 will get to do their individual test. Since Maile has been so sick I was not certain if we would be named to the team, well and I am happy to say we were named to the team today.
SO I have one more day to prepare Maile, oh my......no stress about now.....how does 4 years of thinking about Beijing 2008 turn into counting the hours.....it really is amazing how time fly's. I wish I could get many lost moments back and use them more wisely.
To be honest I have felt very numb over the past week, not wanting to think about what could be or how this week would end. With it all being so close I now feel like Im ready to explode.