Natalie Varcoe-Cocks, known as “just Nat V-C,” is an eventing groom extraordinaire. She's headed to Germany and England with Will Faudree and his horses. Nat is one of the best-known eventing grooms, having worked for David Green in England, Jan Byyny, and now Faudree since last year. Faudree’s Gavilan Farm is in Hoffman, N.C., just south of Southern Pines.
Originally from Australia, Nat has lived in the United States since 2004 and not only runs Faudree’s barn, but also does the basic training on a few CANTER sales prospects, and competes at the beginner novice level with them.
Faudree is headed to the Luhmuhlen CCI**** (Germany) with Pawlow, and the CIC*** with Andromaque. After that competition, June 15-19, Faudree, Pawlow, Andromaque and two younger horses will move on to England, where they’ll be based for the summer. Pawlow’s goal for the fall is the Burghley CCI**** (England).
"I can’t believe it’s the day we leave! Will and I left for JFK airport on Monday, as we have a 10-hour drive, and although we don’t have to be there until Tuesday morning at 9 a.m., we feel it's better not to interrupt our or the horses’ sleeping patterns too much by leaving at 2 a.m., or risk any problems, i.e the token tire blow-out you get when you’re on a strict time schedule! Will and I will stay in a hotel for the night, and the ponies, although it isn't the Ritz, will stay in their own hotel for the night.
On Sunday, I had to do the inevitable: PACK!!! I seem to always leave it to the day before. Some may call it procrastinating—I like to call it efficient! In the last week I have made sure that I had all the supplies and did a Walmart run and a tack store run just to get the essentials: peppermints for Ernie (Pawlow), special baby powder for Missie (Andromaque) and her lovely scratches that seem to always crop up at the wrong time.
I like to collect everything in one area of our fabulously huge tack room (the show area). In all, it took me about four hours to gather it all together. Of course, my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder kicks in when I start, and everything has to be folded evenly and has to fit just so. But at about hour three, it all just fits whether it wants to or not!
In between packing, I was also setting jumps for Will and the working students, Jaz Hobart and Kaitlyn Mosing, with last-minute lessons for them and a final jump for Will. All went really well, with not a miss in sight. I always enjoy setting rails because I get to see how the young horses and students are progressing and when I'm in the warm-up arena at a show, it’s nice to know what to expect.
The tricky thing about Sunday’s packing was the fact that we’re not just going to Luhmuhlen and coming home—we head from there to the England, where we will be based for three months at Maizey Manor, Jackie Green’s property in Marlborough and my old barn. I worked there for David Green for four years. Will is flying home from Luhmuhlen to pick up another two horse, Peanut (Reisling du Bussey) and Andy (DHI Color Candy) to bring over for the summer, so I had to pack for them also.
Well, when I say pack, I mean put all the stuff I want to come over with them in one large trunk, hope that the other two trunks on order arrive, and leave it for my two fantastic girls we’re leaving at home—Jaz and Kaitlyn—to organize and pack!
After completing my packing and proudly showing it to everyone and anyone who walked near it (positive affirmation is a great thing), I knew that going home meant only more packing so off I went! By about 9:30 Sunday night, I was all packed (kind of), and my pups, Millie and Thumper, aren’t too distressed by the sight of the suitcases. Jaz will be looking after them and living in my house while I'm gone. I am so lucky to have two girls that love my dogs and that Will and I can leave behind; it's a lot of responsibility, and they take it all in their stride.
Monday is going to be a long day of show tunes and songs that “Will loves;” I can’t complain too much because half the time I sing along, and I am a terrible singer. Hopefully it will go without a hitch and without too much traffic..."