Finally at about 11.30am we had the health certificate from the vet and all that left to be done was to take them to the federal office in Kingston or Brockville and have them stamped. Wary by this time, I had phoned ahead to the Kingston office to make sure the vet would be there between one and two pm. “No problem” was the happy answer and we finally loaded the horses and set off. As we are located about 45 minutes north of Kingston, we took the horses with us to the federal office to save time. We arrived at the office around 1.30 to find it firmly locked with one of those little clocks in the window telling us they would be back at FOUR PM!!! What do you mean four pm???? I had telephone at 11.30 and they had told me they would be there all day.
I tried to phone the number I had called in the morning and got no answer – I left a message to let them know exactly how I felt as I sat outside the office with my two horses. Resigned, I set off down the 401 to Brockville, a good hour away. Brockville stamped the papers. Meanwhile, I got a call back from the message I had left at the Kingston office. It turns out that when the Kingston office is closed their calls are rerouted directly to the Bellville office. When I called the Kingston office at 11.30 am that morning, the person who gave me the information that the office would be open all day, thought we were discussing the Belleville office he was sitting in, not the Kingston office he was answering the call for. Can you believe it? If I was writing fiction the plot would not be plausible.
Another hour or so and we are finally at the border. The US customs at 1000 Islands crossing has a ‘no horse passes without seeing the vet’ policy. Theoretically, when you have temporary papers you don’t have to see the vet, but the actuality is, that you have to do whatever the customs agent tells you. So far, in 3 years of crossing back and forward, I have never managed to get through this crossing without being sent to the vet.
It’s now nearly four pm and we are finally on our way in America, nothing more can go wrong, can it?
Nine pm, pitch black, about an hour from the show, faithfully following our Mapquest directions. We are on the Taccoma Parkway heading south in New York State, just below New York City. A highway cop chased us down and told us we had to get off the Parkway because no trailers are allowed. We tried to ask him where we were and how to get to our next highway from where we were, at which point he lost his rag and screamed at us to get off at the next exit right away or he would give us a ticket. We felt extremely hard done by until we got to the show the next day and found out that dozens of trailers were given tickets for cheerfully following their Mapquest directions. We were the only ones that were pulled over and NOT given a ticket.
So now it’s nine thirty pm and even darker, we got off the Parkway in extremely rural NY without an inkling of where we were. The towns on the signs at the first crossroads that our exit took us to, didn’t even appear on our map. Amazingly, we navigated our way to the show without too much trouble, albeit very slowly along small country roads. We arrived at the show about midnight. There had to be at least 10 or 12 stabling tents and all the lights were off. On the end of each barn was it’s stabling list. Selena had to run from barn to barn using the light on the face of her watch to read the lists, fortunately, the one we were in was the third one she looked at. Gratefully, we walked the boys over to put them in their stalls. Surprise surprise, Solo didn’t want to go in his black, scary tent. He ALWAYS has to give his opinion. At 12 midnight I wasn’t terribly interested in his opinions but he was NOT going in no matter how many whacks I gave him on his backside. In the end we had to lead him into the stall with Peanuts and then slip Peanuts out.
Poor Solo, he had been on the trailer for 12 hours to cover a 6 hour journey. Once he was actually in his stall he settled down very quickly and began to eat and drink without any fuss. We left them to go find our own digs for the night.
So – no photos of that either, it’s hard to take photos when one is feeling a tiny bit stressed.