With just four days to go before the Irish Show Jumping horses fly to Kentucky you could say that everyone is just a little bit on edge.
Kentucky hosts the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games this month and next. The World Equestrian Games fall every four years, with the Olympic Games occurring directly in the middle, and the other two years are filled with European championships. In essence in show jumping we have a championship every year, within a four year cycle.
K Club Lady feels in great shape, she's an extraordinary mare and not too many people would have believed when she landed in my yard on April 1 this year that we would be a part of the Irish team for the world championships.
Her results have been very consistent right from the outset, the most notable being double clear in the Nations Cup at Aachen, 2nd in the Grand Prix in St. Gallen, clear in the Nations' Cup in Dublin, and just two weeks ago a double clear in the Grand Prix in Madrid.
These are solid consistent performances and my goal for Kentucky will be to ensure that the mare arrives there in top shape for I believe she will be able to contribute very well towards the team's efforts.
My main goal in Kentucky is solely around the team performance, in trying to secure a team medal and in a worst case scenario to finish in the top five, which will ensure that we qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London.
The team medals will be decided over three rounds - the opening leg which is a 1m55 Table C speed, and two rounds of the Nations Cup which take place on different days. A rider's scores are added together for the three rounds and as always in Nations' Cups the best three riders' scores count and this will determine the team placings.
Following this the horses have a day off and then those qualified will jump in the final two round individual competition and then the following day the four on the best aggregate score during the week will jump in the famous World Championship Final Four, which entails them riding each other's horses as well as their own.
As I said, my main goal is to contribute as much as I can to the team and anything else after that will be a bonus. K Club Lady and I will only be together six months when Kentucky is on, and quite often it takes significantly longer for partnerships to develop, so I'm really just delighted how well things have gone so far this year.
It's always a difficult time in the lead up to a major event as to decide how much work or jumping to do with the horse. I always find less is more and to try and treat it as just another competition while taking extra care that nothing unnecessary happens due to carelessness.
In the last few days I've spent many hours with the horse, from grooming her, watching her express
I'll be glad when she's on the plane to Kentucky and lands there safe and sound. Say a prayer for me that she has a safe journey. You can follow regular updates on this site on how our trip is going. I'll be putting up a new page on the website for a WEG diary so check back next Wednesday to find out what's going on.