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BLOG: On the way to WEG!

Emma Booth and Zidane - Photo: Emma Booth Para Equestrian Facebook page

Emma Booth and Zidane.

Photo: Emma Booth Para Equestrian Facebook page

 

By Emma Booth

I am absolutely over the moon to say that I’ve been selected to represent Australia at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, in September. Even writing these words seems absolutely surreal! I thought it appropriate to write a little blog about where Zidane and I are positioned with everything at the moment and how I plan on moving forward as WEG fast approaches.

At this point I am really just overcome with excitement at this incredible opportunity. As the next few weeks progress I know that there will be a multitude of emotions that arise, but for now I am just enjoying the feeling of excitement, fun, and embracing the unknown. It’s not every day you get selected to go on such an amazing journey so I really am trying to enjoy every moment of this experience with my amazing horse, Zidane.

There is now a lot to organise in terms of logistics in travelling a horse overseas – making sure we can get his feed and supplements to both Europe and America safely which includes checking feed quarantine requirements, taking measurements of the tack container to ensure we will fit everything, determining exact quantities of feed that will be required while away including quarantine on the return trip, writing a compulsory list of every piece of gear or equipment we are taking overseas with us, working out accreditations for the venue at Tryon, organising flights, accommodation, who is travelling with Zidane, quarantine times and venues, etc etc, the list goes on. We are very lucky to have such a great team behind us at Equestrian Australia, who are assisting us with so many of these important tasks.

My current training with Zidane is rather solid. We are training 6 days a week, and have slightly increased his workload recently. We now have only 4 weeks until we fly to Europe so our plan is to really just maintain Zidane’s health and fitness for the next few weeks prior to departure. We have incorporated some more hill work into his routine, as well as a few days a week at the water walker, and then just slightly more intense flat work sessions. My coach Lone has also been riding Zidane a little bit just to get the best possible work from him, making sure it is really established for me.

Moving forward from here we are also working towards getting a little more weight on Zidane, as he will naturally lose some during his travel overseas. Zidane is on the best possible feed from “Harry’s Choice” and supplements from “HiForm” to ensure his gut health whilst travelling and away, and he will remain on these feeds throughout his entire trip. Zidane’s weight is just a small example of things to manage prior to travel; we are extremely lucky to have our amazing vet, Mike from Tweedie and Associates, assisting us with to ensure we are 100% on the right track. There is obviously a balance and we don’t want Zidane to be overweight but a few extra kilos are going to be handy come travel time, so he’s really at his ideal weight by the time he gets to Europe and then America.

Zidane’s flights are booked for the 29th of August, where he will fly to Europe. He arrives in Amsterdam and will then spend the next several days in Holland. This is the time in which he will recover from his journey from Australia, and where we will lightly continue ticking over his work as competition in Tryon gets closer. He then departs Liege airport with the other European horses on the 9th of September, flying to America. Here they will be trucked to the competition venue at Tryon where they will then be placed in quarantine for the next couple of days. Only my groom, Katelyn Thompson, will have access to him at this point, but there are also team vets etc. who are allowed into this quarantine area. Once they are through quarantine, we will start slowly working Zidane again and making a plan day by day to aim for the best performance for our first day of competition on the 19th of September.

With my routine between now and leaving for WEG in 4 weeks I really want to just keep it as similar to normal as possible. I have a second horse now, Rolly, so am riding twice a day to keep my riding fitness where it needs to be, I am doing my pilates three times a week, seeing my physio once a week, I am also speaking weekly with a sports psychologist to ensure my mental preparation is at its peek. My main focus however is Zidane and just making sure he is healthy and happy going forward towards our competition at WEG.

Zidane and I learnt a lot from competing on the world stage at the Paralympics in Rio, and I really plan on using these experiences to enhance my performance at WEG. Zidane is an incredible horse and I really believe in his amazing abilities. We have put in the work and training and plan on putting our best foot forward on the day, so to speak. Ultimately we want to perform well, enjoy our experience at WEG and do Australia proud.

Emma Booth Para Equestrian is holding an OPEN DAY at Lone Joergensens beautiful facility in Somers on Saturday the 11th of August! Find out more here.

 

 

 

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