Team Success: It’s All About The Horses

Eric Smiley | Another Coach On The Transfer List

I’m off to train the Barbados Eventing Team! Eric might be all smiles after getting a call inviting him to cross the world’s busiest sea lane to train the Belgian eventers, but I recon you can have the best trainers in the world from the Roycrofts & Woffords to the Bartles and Breisners, but if you haven’t got the horse power you’re a dead duck!

So after careful reflection [at least 5 mins], my best chances of success with the Barbados team is just a matter of hanging out in some of the playgrounds of the rich and famous, like Palm Beach, Dubai, Monte Carlo, and my favourite – Garrisons Savannah, and then chatting up the uber wealthy to assist in purchasing some of the world’s best event horses.

If recent ownership disputes are anything to go by it should just be a matter of how many zero’s you can pen on the cheque (US: check). Armed with a Battalion of 4* 4-legged talent I should be able to wage war, and lay siege to the London 2012 Olympics.

I May Need To Import 4* Talent

“Ahh” I hear you cry “…not without some 4* riders”. Now I agree the local talent may be a little thin on the ground out in Barbados, and standard protective gear may prove problematic, but given the ‘musical passports’ we have seen in eventing over recent years, I’m sure the lure of the best horses, and my Caribbean training plans will attract even the most patriotic Olympic contenders from more established eventing nations.

A number of Antipodeans have already expressed interest in my “sunnier clim’s boot camp trial” later this month, and I’m sure within hours of this post hitting the press I’ll be over subscribed, and the team lear jet will be full.

Fancy Winter Training Like This?

With money no object, I’ll be taking a leaf out of Sheikh Mohammed’s little book of training tips and packing my team off to the sun for the off season, and our winter training plans take root in Barbados, with plenty of aquatic exercise to strengthen those legs, tendons and muscles.

As you might expect there is also an extensive recreational regime for the riders too, but I couldn’t possible reveal too much of that just yet.

Term time activity takes place in England on a private training establishment with access to over 15 miles of private gallops of every type (all weather, established turf, peat, etc), along with, indoor schools, outdoor schools, and a cross country schooling ground second to none. Several America Barn’s and open loose box yard’s will accommodate the team and their entire entourage, with every mod con, from swimming pools to solariums.

Located on the M4 corridor and within easy reach of numerous top class eventing venues, the need to travel more than 60 miles to compete even a large team of horses, has disappeared. No trekking hundreds of miles across numerous states to compete in a 1*, or spending 3 months of your life in a lorry, it’s breakfast at home, win the CIC3* at lunchtime, and be back home in time for tea!

Beats the hell out of wintering in Ocala, doesn’t it? So which of you fancy joining my Barbados Team?

……I Dream On!

“wake up, wake up – it’s gone 8 o’clock, there are horses to exercise, hail, sleet or snow – get up!”

In the cold light of day, there is one reality in all this:  You can have the best team ‘coach’ in the world, but if you ain’t got the horses, you ain’t got a team! Furthermore if you haven’t got podium placed 3 & 4* equine talent by the end of this season, you’ll need to grab a cheque book and buy it, in order to pick-up a medal at London 2012.

So whilst all around me are chattering endlessly about who’s going to get which coaching job, I’m simply looking forward to the season starting. This year is going to see some of the most hotly contested CCI*** & CCI**** events we’ve seen in Europe for many years, I can’t wait – bring it on!

[Meanwhile: My flight to Barbados is booked]

Amateur event rider, aspiring photographer. Technologist by day.

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