Joie Gatlin & Clients European Takeover is One for the Bucket List
Fleeceworks: Woah! You traveled to 5 countries and 4 different horse shows in August. How did this trip come about and how did everything fall into place to make it possible?
JG: The trip came about during our client meetings. Because we are a goal oriented barn, we hold goal meetings every December/January to check in with our clients. Europe proved to be a big goal for several clients! There was a lot of paperwork! Everyone had to organize. Morley Abey (The farm's co-owner and Joie's business partner) and Darren (Dagwood) Roberts were both a huge help with the scheduling and general details. Chandler Meadows graciously helped plan hotels and meals, and our head groom, Lisa did an outstanding job making sure no piece of equipment was left behind. Once we were in Europe, Darren functioned as our barn manager and our "stand-in Morley" to keep everything going smoothly.
Fleeceworks: How many horses and riders went?
JG: Three riders, Laura Hite, Chandler Meadows and myself along with seven horses. I had three horses for myself, Laura Hite had two, and Chandler Meadows had two but picked up a third for the final two weeks of the trip. (Joie's rides included Kimmel SCF, Bellator HVF, Calypso V/D Zuuthoeve).
Fleeceworks: Which Fleeceworks saddle pads did you pack and how did they hold up over the duration of the trip?
JG We always use our Easy Care Bamboo Quilted pads in the show ring. We never leave home without our Easy Care Bamboo baby pads for hacking. The majority of our horses go in the sheepskin FXK technology half pad with rolled edge and two go in the sheepskin perfect balance pads with inserts. Because of the high quality of the pads, they held up extremely well from Thunderbird to Spruce Meadows and all the way through Europe and returned home looking good as new!
Fleeceworks: Awh, shucks! Thanks Joie! Make sure you clean those pads now that you're home. Look for tips on keeping your sheepskin pads in excellent condition here.
Fleeceworks: Tell us the important stuff. Where did you most enjoy the food?
JG: *Laughs* I think Italy was where we gained the most weight. The food offered in the VIP lounge at Jumping de Valence was a very close second!
Fleeceworks: Where did the horses feel most comfortable?
JG: All the horses went along like seasoned travelers even the young ones! I think they enjoyed where we first laid over in Europe, Stal Linssen. It had been a long trip from Thunderbird to Spruce and then to finally arrive in Europe and be able to settle into such a beautiful facility was nice for them. We had great stabling at San Giovanni in Italy, where the horses seemed to really enjoy the views from their stalls. Valence had nice grass accommodations which was nice for getting the horses turned out for awhile when they were not competing or being ridden.
(Above: "My oh my! Our European team had American domination today in the 1.40m! Joie rode Kimmel SCF to the win, Laura Hite and Solo’s Consept were 3rd and Chandler Meadows with Damian were 5th 👊🏼 High Five HVF was also the winner of the 6 year olds with Joie in the irons," a road report from the Facebook page of the Joie Gatlin Morley Abey Show Jumping page.)
Fleeceworks: What advice would you give a trainer or young professional on taking a trip like this? What tips do you have on planning and packing for a trip like this?
JG: Be very prepared! Make sure you map out your schedule of shows to help you prepare before heading to Europe. For us, we attended a week of Thunderbird and three weeks of Spruce Meadows which were both great shows to help us prepare for the high level of competition that we were also going to experience in Europe. Also talk to people that have done similar trips or are familiar with showing abroad. Shows in Europe are run very different than shows we experience in North America, especially when it comes to the warm up ring and pre-loading. As for packing and planning, less is more! When traveling abroad it’s important to pack as light as possible because most things are charged based on weight. Make sure you aren’t bringing excess equipment that you know you won’t be using.
Fleeceworks: What did you learn that you didn’t know before you went?
JG: This was my first trip to Europe in a while where I would also be training clients. I was thrilled with how amazing our horses and riders performed. I went with little to no expectations because this was our clients' first time showing abroad, and I wasn’t sure what to expect with the combination between nerves and the excitement of so many new experiences. Everyone was as well prepared as they could be and ended up exceeding all expectations. Now I know how everyone handles international competitions.
Fleeceworks: Tell us about a snafu and how you recovered - travel related or riding related, what didn't go as planned?
JG: Luckily we didn’t really have any major snafus! Ahead of leaving we were unsure about some of our show entries. It is common in Europe to not know whether your entries have been accepted for a competition until one or two weeks prior. For us this was the case with San Giovanni and Valence. Fortunately, we were accepted into both shows and our tour was able to go as planned!
Fleeceworks: Any big takeaways for Team Joie & Morley?
JG: Our staff was outstanding in their care of our horses and always had them where we needed them, when we needed them. Darren was a great manager and co-trainer when I was unavailable to be at a client’s ring due to my own riding conflicts. It was a very educational trip where we got to see some of the top competitors in the world and even compete against them! We are all ready looking forward to and planning for a 2019 tour and we are very excited about that. It was a super trip all in all!
- Elizabeth Howell