Well here we are back in Germany at last. Historically speaking not one of my favorite places… In fairness my opinion was probably negatively affected last time I stayed for a prolonged period of time by the fact that I had a herniated disk and two of my horses broke down…
This time I feel fit and healthy and right now my horses are the same. I just hope it all stays that way. Anyhow I have a very good feeling so far. We are staying with old friends, Dennis Callinan and his partner David, who are the most delightful friendly guys, and who have a great sense of humor. They have kept us entertained, and we have a great little apartment next to them. Their stable is also super with a lovely light airy indoor and good outdoor. The stables are huge with big picture windows and both horses think they have died and gone to heaven. There are nice paddocks to graze in, and good places to walk out. Umbro has even tolerated the 30-year-old mule who has his own personal “Villa Hugo” and grassy paddock. All the people, dogs, horses, and mules are friendly here.
Yesterday we went to visit Shiraz at Patrick Kittel and Lyndal Oatley’s place. He looked so happy, and in perfect condition. It was a great relief for me to see him, as I hadn’t seen him for over a year. He really left a big space in our stable when he departed for the US, and we all missed him terribly. Patrick says he will start GP at Lingen, so we really look forward to that.
With Shiraz Black – photo by Lyndal Oatley
Today we had a special treat, as Clemens Dierks came over to see how we were going. I was very happy that he thought both the horses had made good progress, and it was really great to have my old coach have a look at our progress and look with fresh eyes. I always find Clemens great to get me in good mental shape before a big comp. On Wednesday he is off to help Rachael at the World Cup in Den Bosch and then for a visit to his East German relations.
Dennis and I have enjoyed riding together and bouncing ideas off each other. Some readers may remember Dennis riding at the Sydney CDI on my stallion Solo, many years ago. Dennis and I go back a long way, to the days when we both trained at Herbert Rehbein’s. Not that we admit how long ago that was as we are both a little sensitive about our age.
All our efforts now are focussed on the upcoming shows. Hagen starts next week, and then the first of the official qualifiers at Mannheim the following week. Rachael, Chantal, Hayley and Lyndal will join us at Hagen, and with this year’s British theme and all the top Brits competing it promises to be a very tough and exciting show. All the top Germans will be there too, so the standard will be first class.
I look forward to watching the best of the best, compete, and hope we can also put in a good performance. Now it’s down to the wire so stay tuned. We also wish Rachael all the best for the World Cup in Den Bosch. It’s a really tough gig… so, go Rachael!
Cheers, Mary Hanna
Photos by Carol Newby