Even though I'm still young, I have the feeling that have gone the whole nine yards when it comes to partying. I've done the local peasant parties, the pony club parties, the big teenage tent parties, the disco parties and the student college parties.
I went to the university ball and the Military Academy Ball (I love those uniforms). Finally, last year, I was invited for the first time to attend the P.S.I. Auction ball, notorious for being the biggest gala ball/party in the equestrian world. It was great. I had good fun, but my overall impression was not earth shaking. There was one major issue missing then to really enjoy myself: I had no date ;)
This year, everything was going to change. I kidnapped my equestrian show companion Thomas Bach Jensen and forced him to drive me to Ankum for a top P.S.I. weekend. Having driven together to Germany for so many shows already (shows, championships, stallion shows, Rastede, Oldenburg licensings and auctions), we know the route to the horse epicenter of Germany by heart: E40, A3, A2, A43, A1. Just follow these numbers going north and you'll end up on the Munster-Osnabruck-Vechta axis in no time.
When Thomas and I hook up for a horsey weekend, it means that we are going to enjoy life to the fullest. We stop on our way at gas stations to buy crappy food: crisps, chocolate Prince Rolle, candy bars, fruit juices, coke. Thomas drives, and I talk.. We always have so much to say to one another that we can barely wait our turn to speak.
On our way to Ankum, we made a small layover in Wachtendonk-Kerken, where we stopped at the equine clinic to visit my horse. My lovely mare has been there for a week to get a chip removed from her hock and I needed to cuddle and comfort her before I could go to Ankum. We had a pleasant conversation with Dr. Hülsey (who operated on my horse). My horse is my tap root for life. Without her I would have no inspiration to write and maintain this website.
After some major horse TLC, we were back on the road to Ankum. December is the coziest month with temperatures dropping to annoyingly cold levels, but with a celebration atmosphere rising each day, culminating in New Year's Eve. Heading towards Osnabruck we detected the first snow of the winter laying on the tree branches. Ho Ho Ho.
When Thomas and I arrived in Ankum we picked up our entrance tickets and watched the presentation of the horses. The ring was beautifully decorated with red silk curtains, white tree branches, blue PSI ribbons and christmas lights all over. The presentation was very interested. It's one thing to see the horses on a perfectly choreographed DVD, but another to see them going in real life.
Of all the horses we saw go in half an hour, Dance for Me (Don Larino x Rouletto) amazed me the most. This 3-year old was so light on the hand, and had such a super uphill canter and powerful trot. Wow! The following day this lovely mare was sold to Bavaria for 100,000 euro. Of course the top horse of which every knew she would fetch a huge price, was Damenwahl. The chestnut mare fulfilled all my expectations and was an absolute dream horse.
By 6.30 PM we drove from Ankum to Osnabruck to the Steigenberger Hotel, where we got dressed for the party. Thomas and I made sure to wear matching outfits. He wore a black suit with a dark gray tie and I wore a big silk gown with silver beads embroidered on.
All jazzed up we went to the lobby for a cocktail before being picked up by the P.S.I. shuttle services. We shared a Range Rover with a German couple who kindly asked us if we were buying horse at the auction.
The German couple was the Pohlmann pair from Cologne, Germany. They did not want to tell us which horse they were buying out of fear of being outbid by us (as if we were the ones with the big bucks ;). They ended up buying Lili Marlene, a Lord Sinclair mare. The Pohlmanns were a very nice couple. At a certain moment, while they were talking to the driver, I was whispering to Thomas a story I heard in Devon. It involved saying a specific spicy line in Swedish ("Swedish Girls are good in bed") and when I told Thomas that line, Mr Pohlmann started laughing out loud. Apparently he knew Swedish as well. Talk about being "boothed". I thought that only happened in restaurants in Wellington.
Excellent P.S.I. Gala Ball
I knew this year's PSI ball would be very different from last year's. No matter if you have great food, super music and an absolute perfect location, you won't get into the party spirit if the company is not right.
This year, the company was perfect. My American friends Tim and Susan Dutta were there, joined by Melissa Taylor Yee and her trainer Lars Petersen. American 4-in hand drivers Tucker Johnson and Chester Weber sat at the same table as us. It was so great to meet and talk to these super kind carriage drivers.
Tucker Johnson and Tim Dutta have been long time clients at PSI and this year as well they were planning to buy horses. Tucker Johnson has this special driving program in which he uses dressage horses as carriage horses because they are so well trained and tuned to the finest aids.
Tucker, who bought Warm Welcome (Walt Disney x Amerigo Vespucci xx) at the auction the next day, was honored by PSI with a special award. He received a glass boot filled with at least 2 liters of beer which he passed round the table until it was finished. Taking about getting into the mood.
We drank champagne from when we arrived at the party until we left at 3.30 PM..The most beautiful dressed lady at the ball (that I saw) was sitting at our table: Susan Dutta. Wearing a vintage Gucci dress and gorgeous jewelry, Susan looked absolute stunning, elegant, refined, radiant, and just amazing.
Chester Weber's girlfriend My Larsson was also very attractive in her simple black dress which accentuated her nice figure.
Everything else that happened at the party is off the record
Join us next year and you'll know how much fun it is to go to PSI ;)
A Boldt Morning After
Thomas and I took the shuttle back to the hotel round 3.40 AM and got to the hotel right after four. I crashed into the bed right away and slept like a rose.
On Sunday morning, the was a last chance to try out the horses and I wanted to see Susan Dutta ride her choice. So that meant getting up at 8.30 in order to be in Ankum again round 10.30.
We had breakfast at the hotel and sat at the same table as Harry Boldt. It doesn't happen every day that you get to eat your cereal, yogurt and fruit with a dressage legend at your table. I couldn't shut my mouth and immediately started talking to him and his American clients from Napa Valley, CA. We discussed the P.S.I. horses together, but it felt really awkward to be asked by Boldt what I thought about San Rubin, Damenwahl and the others. It felt like an interrogation and if I gave the wrong answer I would make a big fool of myself. Fortunately I didn't say anything stupid, because Boldt told "maybe that is because you're right" about a certain horse. Phew. I passed the test.
Back in Ankum we watched the horses being ridden by potential buyers (both amateurs and professionals) and cruised the stalls seeing the horses take a nap before the big action was about to start. We had lunch with Susan, Tim, Lars and Melissa while the crowds were slowly arriving at the auction center for the big day.
Famous faces started to pour in. Dieter Laugks and his wife Dodo were there, Uwe Schulten Baumer, the Kampmanns, and unbelievable but true, the Van der Zwans were back in the building, ready to strike again (they bought Poetin last year).
Back to the 2004 PSI Auction Index