Pro Groom Kerri’s Road to Rio – CDIO Rotterdam and Team Selections!


What a week! I am SO PROUD of Ali and Rosie!

Another week, another horse show and a successful one for Ali and Rosie! Team USA took 9 horses to compete at Rotterdam. We had 4 horses in the 5* Nations Cup and finished 2nd overall! 5 horses, including Rosie, competed in the 3*.


The whole team left Belgium Tuesday afternoon and made the trek to Rotterdam. A couple of closed roads and traffic slowed us down but we arrived and unloaded. It rains a lot here which means it is muddy a lot so when we arrived to temporary stalls in a grass field, we knew the rain was going to be a problem. The show management did what they could but it was pretty wet everywhere! We got the horses settled in and were able to get back to the hotel “early” for check in and eat before heading back for night check (this is a relative term and for Grooms 7:30 pm was early!).


mud outside of a barn

The conditions outside our stabling tent.


sunset in holland with windmill

It stopped raining long enough to get a great sunset shot over the lake across from the show grounds. It’s not a Florida sunset but I’ll take it!


Wednesday was jog day for the 5* horses but another day to settle in for Rosie. I took time to get aquatinted with the show grounds. There was a jumper show going on simultaneously with the dressage show so things were busy! There is a long walk from the stabling to the arenas so Hallye rented bikes for all of us to ride back and forth. I hadn’t ridden a bike in a LONG time and I swear it was made for someone with much longer legs than I have but I made it work. The show grounds are also situated in the middle of the woods it seems. Extra fly spray for the horses because the “squiters” (as the Maine representatives in the group call them) were biting hard! Bugs are a big reason I don’t go camping. Also dirt, which makes no sense given my chosen profession. Rosie had a lovely school Wednesday and settled in easy as always.


sandy trail in woods from barn to arena

The walk through the woods from the stabling to the arenas.


It POURED early Thursday morning. I arrived to the stables to find Rosie’s end stall with standing water. Since moving him wasn’t really an option I had to improvise. Rosie LOVES to roll and be dirty. He’s a true guy. So when I wheeled up with a wheel barrow of sand to add to the base, he was the happiest guy alive. On top of the sand I added straw which he proceeded to eat (and made him even happier than he was before) and then I added more shavings on top of that (which he would have been ok without). Rosie had another school and jogged in the afternoon. One thing about being a Groom is you have to learn to sleep anywhere and take advantage of the time you have to sleep. I have learned this all too well and sometimes need a nap to get through the long days! My pictures taken by the other Grooms have been labeled #kerrisleepingherwaythrougheurope (and no, it’s not what you think). Thursday’s schedule allowed for me to take a nap. Saddle pads, towels, horse blankets, coolers, and jackets make great mattresses. Also, if you’re small enough, you will fit in your standard sized tack box. After I snuck in a nap, we watched the 5* group ride their Grand Prix in the afternoon. Everyone had great rides!



horse in stall eating hay

Rosie loving the straw.



groom sleeping in a tack trunk

I swear it’s more comfortable than it looks, especially when you’re tired.


Friday was Grand Prix day for Ali and Rosie and the other 3* horses. They rode late in the day so he had a morning walk and then was left to rest while I organized myself. It was a loud environment between the show jumping, the crowd and the helicopters flying overhead during Ali’s ride. Fortunately none of this bothered Rosie today. They put in a great test scoring over 73% to finish 3rd in the class!



rider on a dressage horse in double bridle and ribbon

Rosie and Ali after the Grand Prix


Everyone rode on Saturday starting with the 3* Grand Prix Special, which Ali chose to ride. Following our routine, Ali took Rosie for a tack walk first thing in the morning since her ride wasn’t until 1:30pm. Normally it is a hack on the buckle but today Rosie spooked during the sound check for the freestyle when he walked next to the speaker as it loudly started playing someone’s music. He took off bucking, nearly putting Ali in the dirt. Not the best way to start your day but everyone was ok! Ali did her normal warm up for the Special and rode another solid 73%+ to again finish 3rd in the class. Rosie was a little more tired Saturday, most likely from his morning escapade, but it didn’t stop him from going out and doing his job!


The 3* Freestyle was after that, then the 5* Special, which Laura won, and lastly Saturday evening was the 5* Freestyle, where Steffen finished 2nd! It was a late night for everyone, especially those with horses in the Nations Cup as the awards were at 10:30 pm and Team USA finished in 2nd!



rider and groom with a dressage horse

Rosie looking for a sugar cube instead of posing with his ribbon.


two chi dogs in a kennel

Shelly’s dogs Lacie and Louie. They’re too cute not to have a picture on the blog.



We all loaded up and headed back to Retie first thing in the morning Sunday. There is always something new to learn every time you go out but overall, it was another successful outing for Team USA. The team spirit is high and everyone continues to support each other and bond (this includes dancing and singing in the barn together because who doesn’t love a good Whitney Houston “I wanna dance with somebody” ?!?). It was the last selection show before they named the team for Rio.


The team was named Monday and we have some amazing horses and riders! I am so proud and grateful to be grooming for Ali and Rosie at the Olympics! There were lots of hugs and tears in the barn Monday morning. A little down time for Rosie is ahead as we prepare for Rio! Go Team USA!!


Part ONE

Part TWO