New Zealand Paralympian Rachel Stock and her horse Emmerich head to Europe tomorrow on the first stage of their final leg for the 2012 London Paralympics.
The Pokeno mother of two says she fluctuates between nerves and excitement as she finalises packing for their departure.
“I am very excited but there’s a bit of trepidation about starting the biggest adventure of my life.”
Stock and Rangiora rider Anthea Gunner will represent New Zealand at the Paralympics which run from August 29 through to September 9. They are the first New Zealand equestriennes to make the games in eight years, since Jayne Craike at Athens in 2004.
Stock will fly to Europe before trucking with her horse to Australian dressage rider Hayley Berrisford’s Germany base.
“Everything has been going smoothly and Ricki seems to be in good fettle. Now it’s just a case of keeping us both sound and supple.”
Their training has been tapered right off as they prepare for the 30-plus hour flights – Stock by commercial flight and Ricki in a special horse flight – which will be followed by 14 hours in the truck before they get to their base.
The combination will have their first three-star start a month after they arrive, at the UK Festival of Dressage in Hartpury, followed by another at Rosendale in Germany.
Helping her on her mission is Ricki’s former rider Ben Terry, who is a dressage ambassador for the Australians, and Stock’s groom of seven years Carissa Thomas.
“Our team is incredible – the priority is for Ricki to have as many good souls around him as possible. It’s a lot for him to undergo and the more he knows those around him, the more secure he will feel.”
Stock is scheduled to enter the Paralympic Village at Greenwich on August 24.
“I’m torn between leaving my family and just wanting to get on with it all,” says Stock. “I’m so excited about what is to come and itching to get into serious training again. If nothing else, what I will learn at the Paralympics will be priceless.”
However, Stock’s recent results have her well on track for a podium finish at the Paralympics.