Today in Belgium - Relaxing Before Aachen

Friday, June 26, 2009

We are still in relaxation mode her at Casa Raf/Astrid. In fact JJ and Raf are off on a four wheeler exploring the forest. We went shopping in the Belgian village  of Mol. All the summer sales have begun. In the village there was a pony ride vendor, and I wanted to take one on the Haflinger but Astrid begged me not to embarrass her. We are enjoying the most beautiful weather, warm dry sunshine. I wish I had my bike here, as the trails and bike roads are perfect for riding through the countryside with the thatched rooftops, lush gardens, deep colored flowers, and horses, horses, horses, everywhere.


Cycling is popular recreation for summertime, where large groups travel together, stop at cafes, and continue on through villages. There are maps marking the way along the trails. You rarely see an overweight person here, no matter what the age.

We had a typical euro breakfast with fresh bread from the local bakery, and eggs from Raf and Astrid's chickens. I am still adjusting to the time change, staying up until 2am and waking this morning at 11am. It is so peaceful here, and beautiful. The horses that live here have an ideal life. JJ and Raf have been working building the new stalls. I suggested to Astrid that many Americans are buying young horses and foals, and keeping them in Europe. Anyone interested in discussing renting a stall her can contact Astrid

Maybe I will do a little foal shopping myself!

Astrid and I are typing away on our websites while watching CNN and the news of Michael Jackson. The loss of Farah Fawcett for me personally has a deeper impact, and I plan to send a donation in her name to her foundation - Farrah Fawcett Foundation, PO Box 6478, Beverly Hills, CA 90212. We watched her documentary Farrah’s Story which gave me a new appreciation of her inner strength and the way she took charge of her destiny and the press.

The news of Isabell Werth of course has sent new shock waves, but personally, I have always admired her and still do. We had a wonderful personal interview with her in 1999, one of the first Astrid did, at bad Honnef - There are some broken images as we are redoing our websites now, but it shows how real and honest she was with us at that time. Astrid was so nervous as we sat down with Isabell, her voice was tremoring, but Isabell did not bat an eye or flash any indication she was noticing that, and sat with us for almost two hours.
photo: JJ, Raf and Astrid having breakfast outside

Her most recent statement presents an important point – “I wish the rules were revised as quickly as possible in a way that allows reasonable treatment of sport horses without risking long suspensions because the settling times change constantly with each new method of analysis and become literally “incalculable”. In addition the FN has suggested a rule where all which is done with horses be documented. It is true Isabelle did make the statement that she felt they should be able to keep such information private. However, in this case, if the treatment of her horse was documented, and then discovered in trace elements, it would have appeared not so shocking. Athletes need medical support, so where does it begin and where does it end?