Edwina Alexander’s road to WEG: final preparations underway

  • Since CHIO Aachen, I have been focusing on getting my horses more organised. I took my new mare (Ciske van Overis) to Valkenswaard to compete in the CSI2*. She was very good, placing third in the first grand prix and having just one fence down in the second grand prix.

    I also took my new six-year-old horse (Quimono de la Roque) to Valkenswaard and I’m now preparing him for Lanaken. He did exceptionally well there, placing in every class over the two shows.

    Itot has also been on a programme — in Chantilly, straight after Aachen, he jumped very well with three clear rounds but I slipped a bit in the jump-off and we ended up third. In Valkenswaard, I went for a good time and unfortunately, he knocked a couple down in the second round.

    I’ve just come back from Rio (de Janeiro) where I took two horses; my eight-year-old (Kisby) and Itot. They both travelled very well, arriving a few days before the show. Itot had one class on the first day and then, after a rest day, he took part in the grand prix. He was very good, he jumped three clear rounds and finished third in the grand prix, which lifted me to third in the overall Global Champions Tour standings. That meant I won €170,000, so I was pretty happy.

    It was a very good result and I couldn’t have gotten any higher with the way things stood. It was a very exciting event, with a lot of tension. Had I finished in sixth place in the grand prix, I don’t think I would have ended up third overall. My eight-year-old was also very good on the first day, coming fourth. She had a couple down but overall, I was very happy as it was a strong competition.

    Countdown to the WEG

    Itot was looking quite tired when he returned so he had a few quiet days in the field and in the woods. He had a few easy weeks and then I’ll built him up again. We’ll work on fitness, do some work on the racetrack — he’ll probably only jump a few times before the WEG. The Australian team will also come here (to Stal Tops) for a week’s preparation from the 20–24 September and the horses will fly out on 25 September.

    As for myself, I’ve been trying to balance rest and work. The weekend before Rio, I took four days off and went to Monaco, which was nice. This weekend past, I had a wedding to attend and I rode the other horses a little, but it was a really relaxing weekend. I will be attending the Venice Film Festival which is so exciting and then I’ll go to Madrid with my two eight-year-olds (Ciske and Kisby). I’ll be back here for a few days and then I’ll go to Barcelona. After that, I’ll be preparing with the other members of the Australian team and I’ll go to Lanaken, but I’ll base myself at home and drive back and forth. I’ll then fly out to Kentucky on 27 September.

    I’ve given myself a week there to settle in and I’ve booked myself into a really nice hotel, away from the other riders. I wanted something a little quieter so I can relax. I have the entire week off so I’ll probably watch some DVD’s and bring books to read, otherwise I will go crazy!

    Expectations for the WEG

    I’m feeling quite confident as I think it’s important to go into a championship on the back of some good form and to be mentally strong. I’d love for the Australian team to get a medal and personally, I want to get into the final — obviously that is my goal. I’d love to become World Champion as I think that is something that everyone dreams about.

    The first day (of competition) is the Table C and if you’ve seen the results from past WEG’s, you’ll see that you don’t necessarily have to win on the first day to have a good chance. It’s more important to be consistent over the several days of competition to get through to the Rolex Top Four. The final is tricky as it really depends on which horses take part.

    I’m not worried about how Itot will handle being ridden by other riders if we make it into the Rolex Top Four. He’s very small so he doesn’t have the same striding as the other horses. He’s quite sensitive but I’m not too worried about him as he has a great mind. A lot rests on which other horses are in the Top Four and their temperaments. The last WEG (in Aachen) went very well, but I was a little bit unlucky timing-wise with Shutterfly.

    I’ve never competed in Kentucky before, although I have competed in Las Vegas and down in Florida, so I’m really looking forward to it.

    Plans post-WEG

    How things go at WEG will affect what happens afterwards. A lot can change with your horse and the amount you have to jump them at the championships can impact what will happen afterwards.

    I will be leaving Kentucky on Sunday, 10 October and I will be in Oslo the following Thursday for the start of the new Rolex FEI World Cup season. So I’ll be back in the swing of things right away. I’ve got a very busy season coming up — I will be competing virtually every weekend, except one. It’s going to be pretty hard. I have a new eight-year-old stallion who I will probably start in Oslo. My focus for the rest of the year will be on the World Cup and the Rolex Top Ten Final in Geneva.

    My parents will also come out for Christmas so they will attend the Geneva and London legs of the World Cup. It’s the first Christmas I’ve spent with them in 12 years, so I’m really looking forward to that. They’ve never been to any indoor shows in Europe so I said they should definitely come to the Geneva and London ones. After that, we’ll spend Christmas in Monaco and I will try to get some much-needed rest.

    Edwina Alexander, Olympic and World Equestrian Games Jumper, is a friend of Rolex. Edwina will be competing at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

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