The Experience of a Lifetime

Hi everyone! So I know I have been MIA recently, but it has been crazy around here! Ever since Watching and I have gotten back from Aiken it has been a whirlwind of activities, running to and from the barn, and catching back up in school! But, last week I had the opportunity and privilege of going to Rolex to help groom! Dan hires an amazing professional groom and his friend of many years, Cat Hill, who turned Dan and Houston out beautifully. Obviously she’s very capable of doing everything that has to be done at an event like Rolex, so for the most part I hand walked Houston, cleaned tack, swept, did whatever she told me to do, and tried to learn as much from her as I could!

One of the most frustrating parts of being a professional groom is having too many people around at one time, especially if you are trying to get the horse and rider ready for one of the phases. So if she didn’t need my help I tried to stay out of the way! 

It was ideal that we were stabled across from Kate Chadderton and her working student/groom/my best friend/fellow blogger Emily, who drove me around in Gary the golf cart. It’s always nice having a friendly face nearby at events, who you can sit and share a croissant with, stand on the podium at the Rolex in-gate with, or discuss the days rides!

I arrived Tuesday evening, and the next morning I went to the stabling. I also got this sweet badge:

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Wednesday was the first jog, so I headed off to Macy’s with Dan’s stylist and girlfriend, Liv, and friends Karen and Jenny. We picked him up a nice pocket square and some fancy Sperry’s, while Mama J (my mom) was back in the hotel room ironing Dan’s pants and shirt. By the time the jog came around, Caroline Martin was asking Jess Payne if she could be introduced to Dan, so it was a job well done! Although I was a little disappointed that Dan didn’t win best dressed and score a free pair of Dubarry’s, since Will Faudree clinched the “W” in his nice suit.

Dan and Houston at the jogs:

(Photos taken by me)

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Beautiful quarter marks done by Cat

 

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Houston is accepted!

That day I walked the course with Dan and others:

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The Head of the Lake complex

Took Houston on a nice hand graze:

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And snuggled with Cat’s adorable puppy:

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The next day, Thursday, I hand grazed Houston in the morning:

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Snapchatted pictures of Kate walking down to dressage:

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Watched Kate’s dressage:

 

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From left to right: Nicholas Fyffe, Me, Jenny, Emily
Standing on the podium cheering after Kate’s test

Watched Dan flat Houston:

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Scoped out the cross country with Houston:

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Friday was dressage day for Dan and Houston, so after watching Dan warm up in the pouring rain, we walked down to watch his test, photo-bombing an interview on the way:

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Dan and Cat walking down the tunnel way to the arena for his dressage test. He received the same exact score as last year! What are the odds?!

 

After a nice test, we cheered:

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From left to right: Liv, Cat, Me, Jenny, Poppa Scott the photographer (my dad)

And then went back to watch some more dressage:

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Saturday was cross country day!!

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Dan and Houston getting ready to go

 

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Dan galloping on course
Photo credits to Momma J

 

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Dan and Houston right after he got off
I’m all the way to the right, getting Houston’s saddle off

 

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Dan and Houston over the coffin
Photo credits to Poppa Scott

 

And on Sunday, after Houston passed the jog, I just had to snuggle with the puppy some more!

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Watched Dan warm up for show jumping:

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Photo credits: Poppa Scott

 

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Phillip coaching Dan
Photo credits: Poppa Scott

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Phillip coaching Dan
Photo credits: Poppa Scott

 

In show jump warm up I met @paigepatch from instagram!!

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Go follow her!!

Then Dan did his show jumping round:

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Me watching Dan as he starts to enter the stadium
Photo credits: Poppa Scott

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And after a tired Houston tried his heart out in show jumping, he got a nice bath:

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Being able to be behind the scenes at the only four star event in North America was an experience of a lifetime that I will never forget! But now that I’m back in Maryland, I have to start focusing on the season ahead of me and Watching. It’s time to start event planning!

 

Sarah

 

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1 Comment

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One response to “The Experience of a Lifetime

  1. Jeanne Jeffrey

    Thanks, Sarah, for the up-date and all the pics. Was the Rolex experience all that you’d hoped for? Thought about you and all the family ( Dan and all the rest) while you were there and sent good thoughts for all.

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