Getting ready to load the shipping container in the Cargolux plane.

Getting ready to load the shipping container in the Cargolux plane.

We have arrived! If you have never tried to load everything for your horse from your horse trailer into two containers…I suggest you try it! Friday was a crazy, hectic day as I tried to do this impossible task. What to take with me, what would I need? Some things were being sponsored, but I needed things before I received the sponsored items, like a rain blanket and cooler. My saddle took up almost one container on its own! I finally resorted to only one feed dish for Sam, simply because more wouldn’t fit. No buckets at all. I made sure I had the minimum of things I thought I needed and double checked that worst case scenario, I had my saddle, girth, pads, halter/bridle, breast collar and helmet.

Then, to pack my clothes. I threw in anything I could think of that I might need. Needless to say, I have plenty of jodphurs and riding shirts, but not many other clothes. I did pack my riding boots and half chaps so as far as race day, we are good!

Hooked up my trailer to my truck, moved the other two horses and loaded Sam. For the first time in a long time, he was not happy to get on at 9:00 p.m. We arrived at the airport 10 minutes late, but it was only him and one other horse to load on the shipping container. They stayed in there until the Cargolux plane arrived at midnight. Then the container was moved to the plane and they were loaded.

I had my choice of six seats, as there was only me and the pilot and co-pilot on the flight. You must be seated for take-off and landing, but otherwise, I could go down and check on Sam at any time. They were the last loaded so the container was at the far end of the plane. Both horses ate well and the mare drank, but Sam did not. He doesn’t normally drink a lot when travelling, so I wasn’t worried. The area is climate controlled and we had it set at about 15 degrees.

After eight hours and 40 minutes, we arrived in Luxembourg. The horses were unloaded first and I got Sam settled. Then I was taken to immigration to clear customs. There was no one at customs so I phoned, and they let me through. I walked five minutes to the nearest hotel to get a room for the night. The next morning, back to the airport for the vet to clear Sam and meet Cecile for pick up to take us to overnight at her place in Paris.

Sam, with this stable mate at Cecile's barn in France.

Sam, with this stable mate at Cecile’s barn in France.

When I got to the airport, there was Cecile! Here they use a truck which carries horses. After taking about an hour and half for the vet, papers and to clear Sam, we were on our way to Paris. Sam had to travel backwards….first time for that so there was a lot of movement in the back of the truck while he adjusted. We arrived at Cecile’s and he ate, drank and relaxed in a pasture. He went into a stall for overnight, which was a good thing as it poured rain! A great dinner by Cecile, met the Japanese team (who have been there since July 3rd) and to bed.

At 5:30 a.m. the next morning, we loaded up and get on the road to head to Maryse et Jean-Pierres in Longues sur Mer where we will stay until Cecile returns to take us to ride camp on August 26th. It was an uneventful trip and we arrived safely. Sam has a large paddock and his company turns out to be three miniature ponies. He snorted and carried on when he met them, but soon settled…until he saw the sheep in the next paddock! He is still not used to them.

Yesterday was a day of rest. We went for a long walk together down to the D-Day landing beach and cannon artilleries. There were a lot of tourists and cars which he handled calmly. We provided many photo ops for the tourists. Today I wanted to ride, but it was pouring rain so Jean-Pierre took me to the supermarket instead. The sun has come out while I write this, but there are still plenty of clouds. If it holds, I will ride later today. Three days’ riding and one day of rest until the 26th. Jean-Pierre took me to his sons place (who speaks English) and he wrote on a map the best trails to ride.

My French improves daily as Maryse et Jean-Pierre only speak French. Although even with full immersion, it is still very rusty, but hopefully soon…