USA Dressage Horses on the Way!

Olympic News From Debbie McDonald

While here in Aachen in the Olympic quarantine facility, I get up early to ride, watch the other countries school, and then we have lunch. God forbid we miss a meal! That seems to be what we all look forward too. Then I will ride for another hour in the afternoon. I don’t work her (Brentina) hard mostly walking but it is great when we get to go into the grass field.

Brentina really does love that time of day. We all hang out in the barn and chat before you know it; it is time to think about dinner. If any of you have ever been to Germany then you know how long it takes to have a meal. Not to mention how much longer with large groups. By the time we get home haven't had the energy to write. I know it is a poor excuse, so now I will try to catch you all up to date.

We have had a good time here in Aachen but it is time to move on and get our job done. You can only be contained for so long without wanting to scream. The horses are ready and we have all practiced under the lights and feel excited about our next adventure. Last night all the horses were hydrated for today's long journey to Hong Kong. We hear that so far all the other teams have arrived without a problem and that things have run smooth and fast.

The last load of horses we heard was off the trailer and in there stalls in less than an hour. They have a police escort and have no traffic to hold them up, the trailers are all air conditioned as well. We are also traveling with the Swedish and Australian teams, if I am not mistaken; I think we are the last of the Dressage teams to get there. Dr. Mitchell and Rafa (Ravel’s groom) are traveling with the horses as well as professional grooms. They would not allow all the grooms to fly so Ruben did not get to go with "Mama". But she is in great hands!

The plane will stop for fuel in Dubai but they say that the whole trip from leaving Amsterdam will be 12 hours. That does not count the eight hours they spent on the trailer before they loaded onto the plane. But we thought ahead and had a box stall in the trailer for all the horses so they could move around and get their heads down. The horses have been in the air for 4 hours and they keep giving us updates that they are doing great.

When we arrive in Hong Kong we will be taken by someone from USEF to get our credentials and then go to see the horses. We hear that the weather is pretty brutal but even so we are very excited to get there. Everyone keep your fingers crossed that they all arrive safe, sound and healthy.

I also thought that I should be honest and let you know that I did not spend one day at the gym. Just couldn’t go to a German Gym. I have been to one before and it just wasn’t for me. Bob and I walked but Bob got so into the walking that he would go in between the rainstorms.

For any of you that know Bob this is not NORMAL! I shouldn’t be mean; he has been so wonderful and fun on this trip.

I will give you all an update when I am able to get online at the hotel. I hear that there is no wireless so not sure if I will be able to do it. We are all under some rules about what we can write and take pictures of.

I wish I had the ability to snap some shots and mail them off but just not computer savvy enough for that. Miss everyone and thank you for thinking good thoughts for the US Team!
Love Debbie