Pro Groom Kerri - The Road to Rio in Europe - The Team Work Makes the Dream Work!
Things have been quiet for Rosie, Ali and myself since we returned from Compiegne. Rosie got a little time off after the show which included new shoes. The whole team has now arrived in Belgium. Laura, Steffen, and Guenter are headed to Rosendaal this weekend while the rest of us stay home and prepare for Rotterdam at the end of the month. Rosendaal is onl an hour from our farm in Retie, so we are planning on going and supporting our fellow USA teammates. This is my first time on a tour like this but I have to say, our team spirit and support is incredibly high! Everyone is willing to help each other and we really seem to have to good time laughing and joking around. We also have 3 grooms who are guys which is AWESOME, including the famous Eddie (who if you didn't know was FEI Groom of the Year!) Makes the heavy lifting a little easier, especially since we have the world’s heaviest hay bales. Since we spend all day, everyday together, it's so fantastic that everyone is getting along! Team work makes the dream work!
Not to toot my own horn or anything but Ali and the other riders really couldn't do it without their team. Ali LOVES her horses and is extremely hands on but I know having me to do the morning feedings, night checks, hand grazing, tacking, organizing (because I'm slightly OCD and I know Ali loves that about me ????, it's also what makes me a good groom), etc, makes her life a little easier. I came in late to the game and am continuously learning, but I'm blessed to be working with Ali, who is one of the hardest working people I know.
Ali and Gracie snuggling
Rosie not so sure about his new flying friend trying to take a ride without paying the toll (which consists of sugar cubes)...
Rosie's party trick
Fritz and Claudine Kundrun are her biggest supporters and the most essential people to the whole team! They support her in so many ways and are amazing! They not only support Ali, but are big supporters of the sport of dressage and people like them, are the reason people like Ali can make their dreams a reality. I have to thank them as well for being so welcoming and generous to me. Ali's coach Michael is so important as he's her eyes on the ground and keeps her mentally in the game. If you watch him stand at the in gate when Ali's in the ring, you will know how badly he wants her to succeed and it is SO important to know that someone else believes you can do it as well.
Ali could not do it without Adrienne, who stays at home and keeps all the other horses working. Adrienne will work all summer long straight with minimal help and no days off. She's a rockstar for that! Our vet, Carolyn, is another active key player. She's traveling to Europe just to check on Rosie and give him any TLC he needs. She's at every competition she can be at just to watch them show and have water or Ali and sugar cubes for Rosie when they walk out of the ring.
Rosie want a carrot?
Gracie enjoying the perks of all the rain
Our farriers (John and Jeremy), our entire team here in Retie with us and everyone else whose involved past and present (the list could go on forever!) is SO IMPORTANT. It really takes a village and it is a privilege to be part of Ali's village along with all the other riders with us this summer.
All of my friends thought it was so cool that I'm spending the summer in Europe, but for a different reason than me. Little did they understand I wouldn't be seeing much outside of a barn. To be clear, this isn't a complaint but an honest statement. I'm not here as a tourist. I won't be seeing what most tourists come to Europe to see. I'm touring with the nicest Grand Prix dressage horses in the USA and seeing some of the nicest dressage horses in the world. I think it is so cool I'm spending my summer in Europe! The toughest part is probably that I'm not riding myself.
It rains A LOT. At least I have fashionable boots.
The team spirit is so high right now. We're taking it one show at a time so we'll be cheering on our riders this weekend and hoping for personal bests for them! I'll be sure to share my braiding secret in a future blog for those who expressed interest!
GO TEAM USA!
Find the rest of Kerri's Journey here: