Friday, April 22, 2011

Rolex 2011 Preview - Part 3: Diana Burnett and Jessica Hampf

But first, in the "not having to do with Rolex or anything whatsover" category, is that the loooongest horse in the world or what? LOL!  (we posted this on Facebook, to everyone's delight)

When the Canadian team arrived in the UK for the Badminton Horse Trials, my British Twitter friend Liam @AbbeyviewEquine sent me a message saying "Would you be so kind to say a big hi and welcome to the UK, to the Canadian squad from all @AE and @PagePlay?"  Me: "What do you mean? I'm not in the UK. I'm stuck in Canada". Message pops back... "well, you are doing a bloody good job of promoting them."  

I guess we have a soft spot for the Canadian Team riders because:

#1. They represent not only our company, but our country. We love all ECOGOLD riders, no matter which country they ride for. But we are human, so when we embroider those maple leafs on their saddle pads, it's always extra special. 

#2. Anybody that lives in Canada knows that we are not a country of big budgets. Our actors have to move to Hollywood to make a living and Celine has to go to Vegas... So, we are used to having to make do with what we have, and the Canadian Eventing team is a great example of doing a bloody good job at making do. 

#3. On a personal level, we are very good friends with most of them... so double hard not to be cheerleader in chief.

Ok, enough violin-playing, here are two members of the Canadian-2011 Rolex-ECOGOLD-squad!

Diana Burnett
Diana and Manny at this week's training session
Diana is one of my favorite people, not only because she's a good friend, but she always sends me photos and tries to keep me updated as much as possible... I just have to ask nicely and boom! A bunch of photos from the Canadian Training Session with Gunnar Ostergaard (Canada's dressage specialist) appear on my Facebook page a few hours later.Yay Di!!!

When I asked her how she felt about competing at Rolex Kentucky she said: "Can't wait to arrive at the horse park. Manny feels ready and is going very well right now! I feel good having already been there on him for the past 2 years. This past week seems to be going sooo slow, it's nerve-wracking. Can't wait to just get there!"

This will be Diana and Manny's third consecutive time at Rolex Kentucky, and her fourth CCI****. The pair competed at Burghley in 2009 and I was there... and have a video to prove it! Cue tape.


Funny thing is, I never got to meet her until a few months later at the 2009 Royal Winter Fair. Hopefully, I'll get to be there again the next time she goes around Burghley. But first... let's get to Rolex. And before you ask, no she doesn't have her jog outfit yet but she's working on it.

Jessica Hampf
Jessica Hampf before her stadium round at 2010 Rolex
Yes...there is another Jessica on the Canadian Team! And this one, I did get to meet at Burghley. In 2009, the Canadian team sent 2 riders to Burghley (Diana and Kyle Carter) and another 2 riders to Blenheim (Jessica Hampf and Jessica Phoenix). Coincidentally,  the Jessicas were staying at my hotel when they came to support their Burghley teammates, and I met them one day at breakfast. Just like that...

Jessica is Canadian but was raised in Tennesee, is based in Alabama (will be moving this summer...don't know where yet, but I bet closer to Virginia, where her coach Jan Byyny is based) and spends her winters in Aiken, where she is building a new barn.

She will be competing at Rolex for the second time, with High Society (aka Trevor). Last year, she had a "pilot error" in the cross-country and was a tiny bit disappointed, because Trevor had gone so well the rest of the way. So this year, she's pumped for a great finish.

Jessica Hampf and High Society in Aiken
What do these lovely ladies ride in? Click to view

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