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BLOG: Georgie Harvey of Team Equest has a rollercoaster start to 2016

Words and photos supplied by Georgie Harvey


Team Equest has not had the start we were hoping for this year. It started off with me breaking my knee falling off over my first jump for the year less than a week after arriving back in Europe, meaning Julia had to take on our entire team of horses for the next 4 weeks. Our bizarre and frustrating lameness problems continue, which has sadly led to the retirement of my top horse, Tresor, and almost led to Vegas having to be put down after further problems with his foot after his serious paddock injury a year and a half ago. We are incredibly lucky that the hoof is healing up well again, and he should be back under saddle soon.


While I was at home building Ikea furniture, re-watching the entire 12 seasons of Greys anatomy and hoping I wouldn’t lose my sanity stuck in the house in Germany all by myself with only one useful leg, Julia started of the outdoor season in Vilamoura, Portugal for two weeks with our horses Carly, Campino, Blue and Dora. For us, Vilamoura is the perfect place to start since its very easy-going and there is absolutely no pressure, which suits us perfectly since at this time of year both us and the horses have had a much longer break than most – We skip the second half of the indoor season so we can have plenty of time in Australia since we never know if we will make it back home before the following Christmas. Blue, Carly and Campino cruised around a few easy classes, while Dora, our 5-year-old Visage giant, played around in the training rings as this is her first time at a show since arriving in Europe. Considering how inexperienced she is (more like a just-turned 4-year-old) she was calm and brave, we were very impressed with her. By the end of the second weekend, Campino jumped a super round in the 2* 1.45m GP and was feeling more than ready to step up to the big classes over the following weeks.



Georgie Harvey May Blog


Campino on the Sunshine Tour



After a handful of days trotting risotto for 10mins in the indoor, I figured my knee was ready to start showing, so flew down to Vejer de la Frontera in the south of Spain to meet the four horses coming over from Portugal as well as my other two, Risotto and Kingsley. Julia had to fly straight back to Germany as she realized her passport and visa were expiring that week, so had to get to the Australian embassy in Berlin to renew everything. She was under strict instructions not to get deported and leave me to fend for myself at the show, so in true Julia style within a day she loses the temporary passport and visa she was given. Good work team.


The Sunshine Tour in Vejer goes over 5 weeks, so as I arrived at the end of the second week everyone was leaving to give their horses a weekend off showing before the last two weekends. It just wouldn’t be a proper Team Equest show run if I didn’t do something to really ruin the entire experience for myself. I had had a great first day that Monday. All the horses were incredibly well behaved on the flat, my knee was holding up. All was looking good, until I walking into the hotel that afternoon and was instantly sick. I had managed to get the worst food poisoning of my life, except that I’m pretty sure it wasn’t food poisoning because this is how I imagine dying feels. And to add to the fact that Julia wasn’t able to fly in until Friday, my boyfriend had also just left the show that morning to fly to Florida so I had no one to take care of me or listen to me whinge every 5 minutes about how sick I am. This mysterious, probably deadly illness had clearly started to affect my brain function when I thought at 3am, after vomiting blood and with eyes so puffy I had lost all vision, it would be a good idea to facetime supposed caring boyfriend while he was out at dinner and proceeded to pass the phone around for everyone to see my big, nasty, swollen head. Its love I tell ya.


I was finally better and able to ride a bit the day before the show started. To make sure my knee was ok, I only competed Risotto on the first weekend, which was a little disappointing because since it was his first show in three months he was crazy fresh, and when he is fresh he is a nightmare. And he stayed a nightmare until the last weekend, where we couldn’t have been happier with how he performed. Campino gave Julia a very unexpected feeling on his first day out on the big grass arena. We have always been aware that he is still quite green, as he hadn’t done much at all until this time last year, but as he left the sand warm up arena and started feeling the ground as he entered the grass arena as if he had never stepped foot on grass before, and also jumped as if he wasn’t sure how to go on grass, we had to make the decision to step him back for the rest of the tour. It was very disappointing as we were hoping this was when he could step up to the 3* and maybe 4* GPs. The following weekend Blue was the star of the team, jumping clear every day and finishing 2nd in the 1.40m Grand Prix.


Now that the summer season is well and truly underway, we have all of the lovely Global Champions Tour shows to look forward to right through until September. We have just begun our GCT season with the show in Antwerp. Denis Lynch has recently gained the ride on our 10-year-old Chacco-Blue mare, Camilla, and it was great to see them doing so well together in the 5* classes, going clear every day and picking up some placings. Risotto was also finally in the swing of things, finishing 5th in the 1* Grand Prix.



Georgie Harvey May Blog



Georgie Harvey May Blog


Blinky Bill and Risotto de la Roque in Antwerp



Two days after Antwerp an Olympic qualifier was held in Hagen, Germany. Just to really get a sense of how awful the day was I am going to start off with the fact that it was the end of April, so mid-spring. On the radio they were saying how on this day last year it was 20 degrees and sunny. We weren’t so lucky, it was snowing! Just like the last couple of years we had a mild winter with almost no snow, yet for this one and only day in the middle of spring it decides to let loose. There were only 10 combinations, Julia being two of those entries (Campino and Blinky), so she had to go first. As soon as she entered the ring it started hailing down, which was less than ideal, but Blinky was an absolute star jumping around clear to pick up his COC for Rio. Julia followed fellow Australian rider, Merrick Ubank, and by this point it was basically a blizzard. Merrick ended up retiring because it was snowing so hard he couldn’t see anymore. Campino finished with two down, which we were disappointed about, but it just showed that he is still quite green.



Georgie Harvey May Blog


Campino entering the arena in the snow in Hagen



Now that Vedor and Blinky both have their qualifications for Rio, we are in the process of making a show plan for them for the next few months. The rest of the team will continue jumping the 2* classes of the GCT shows.

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