Monday, October 31, 2011

Last Flight to Galway Downs

The last few weeks have been incredibly busy coordinating three separate flight to Galway on Tex Sutton's Air Horse One. There is something about horses flying that is just so incredibly cool, that each time we coordinate a flight it leaves me both a little bit breathless and in awe until all touch down safely and arrive at their new temporary stable or return home.

I have to thank Tex Sutton for being so incredibly accommodating and easy to work with. Their outstanding staff makes the logistics of these flights manageable. And to put matters in perspective PRO has coordinated flights for 58 horses in the last two years. Just think of the organization it takes to get 6-19 horses on a plane, with riders, grooms and assorted gear.

The information needed is something like this:

Vital Info:
Horse, coggins, health certificate, owner name, rider name, size, sex, vices, special needs

Packing List:
Feed (1-2 bag limit), blankets/sheets, 1 trunk, 2 duffle bags per horse with assorted tack and gear

Load In/ Load Out:
Directions to airport cargo for load in
Provide driver names to security staff
Provide list of horses on each rig to Tex Sutton
Arrange for Pick up of horses, people and gear upon arrival

Notices to human cargo:
Bring coats, hats, gloves etc. (plane is very cold)
Bring headphones (plane is very loud)

None of this is accomplished without a ridiculous amount of telephone calls, emails and text messages going back and forth. When three flights are going to the same location with one week and then leaving again, it's just enough to make!

So if the videos or photographs are not exactly the quality that you had in mind, don't shoot the messengers but instead thank the riders and grooms who have been kind enough to try and take them in all kinds of conditions so people can see what's going on behind the scenes for everyone.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Professional Management Tips: Preparation

Imtiaz Anees represented India at the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. He lives in Moreland, Georgia where runs Springtown Stables. Imtiaz is a member of PRO who has a special interest in what makes professional success achievable for individuals pursuing careers in diverse fields. Imtiaz acts as a business mentor to young riders and he will be sharing his professional management tips and advice for riders of all levels on the PRO Blog.

Preparation is one of your best allies. Successful people don't wing it. Take time to make a plan, write down a schedule for the week, month and year. Put down the shows you want to do, then cross country schools, lessons, gallops, jump and hack days. Don't forget days off. Of course it might change due to weather, school, work, lost shoe or lameness issues. But we can't plan enough.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The California Eventing Scene is Hot, Hot, Hot by James Alliston

The past few weeks have been busy on the California eventing scene with the events at Twin Rivers and Woodside in quick succession. Twin Rivers in Paso Robles kicked off on Thursday with the west coast Young Event Horse Finals. I rode Wimbledon in the 4 year old class and was feeling suitably terrified and under prepared upon walking the course. However, Wimbledon rose to the challenge and ended up with a third not too far behind the winners, Tamra Smith and Fleeceworks Cinco. Much to my amusement Wimbledon went on to win the Novice Horse division by 0.1 ahead of the lovely five-year old champions Maxance McManamy and Astro. I must say Max took the defeat in good spirits though and I am sure she is consoled by her haul of prizes that included a saddle in the young horse championship. To see the incredible prizes and sponsorship of this class is fantastic and makes it a real incentive and target for the future.

Jumbo’s Jake and Parker had their first run since Rolex and both went very well for 2nd and 4th in the Advanced. I was leading going into the show-jumping but a rail down cost me the win by 0.3 penalties to Canadian Sandra Donnelly so it was an exciting climax. Embarrassingly, I thought maybe I had still sneaked it as my friends had been telling me all day that I had a rail in hand but they were misinformed! A few minutes prior to this Parker jumped a clear round despite my stirrup breaking halfway round the course. This was a first for me and I give great credit to Parker for nursing me home without penalty.

Next up was a welcome return to international competition at Woodside. This show was huge with a ton of entries from all over and Robert Kellerhouse and his team did a great job of making this a real special event and handling the deluge of rain on Thursday. With a shifting of the timetable so the upper levels did cross-country on Sunday I would have to say the ground was as good as I have ever seen it anywhere in California. Also, the show jumping on Saturday seemed to attract a large and enthusiastic crowd throughout the day and the cheers of a clear round could be heard across the showground which was really cool.

On a personal note this show could not have gone a lot better for my horses. Jake led from the start to win the three star and Parker put in a massive effort for third in the same class. Parker’s 52 in the dressage shattered his international personal best by 10 marks and much to my delight and India’s (owner of Jumbo’s Jake) bemusement a few people even mistook him for Jake while I was warming up! Many thanks for this result go to dressage maestro and cool dude Gerd Reuter for flying out to California and teaching everybody in September. Derek Di Grazia’s cross country course had been given a major facelift with a lot of changes and new fences at all levels and proved a real test but both my boys jumped great and I’d have to say the result must go down as a career highlight for me so far. Elsewhere, at the same show Tivoli took 3rd in the Intermediate, Peggy Moore’s O’Reilly Factor took 3rd in her Prelim debut and four-year old Lagos won the Novice on his eventing debut.

Now we have a few quiet weeks but next on the radar is Galway where Jake and Parker will contest the 3 star, Tivoli the 2 star and Mojo the one star. My parents are traveling over from England to watch which is always entertaining as California will soon find out.

Photo of India McEvoy's Jumbos Jake at Woodside