“The best laid plans o’ mice and men, gang aft agley” is a quote from Rabbie Burns the Scottish poet (if I got it right), and that just about sums up the last few days.

Monday morning dawned bright and clear, and my mind, which never dawns bright and clear,  turned to the arrangements and schedule for the coming week, most significantly, Solo and Peanuts leaving for the US on Wednesday.  As I sat on my bed, typing my happy little lists, I got to “Border Papers”…..aaaarrrghhhh!!!  I had not asked my vet to prepare the papers AND it is a bank holiday Monday….    Getting a grip on my panic, I realised that even with the bank holiday, I was going to be able to get the papers without trouble as long as I could get the/a vet to inspect the horses that day.  I put a frantic call into my calm and obliging vet (at six thirty on the bank holiday morning) and toodled off to lay the coggins sheets out in the tack room ready for him….OK, this is when it gets really tense….As I lay out Solo’s coggins cert. I see that the date on it is NOVEMBER SECOND….what happened to April ?  I had coggins drawn on all the competition horses in April but the only certificate I could find for Solo was out of date was NOT going to be any use to get across the border.

Using a brown paper bag to prevent hyper ventilation, I phoned the vet again….he is a patient type….and asked him if he had a copy of the April coggins for Solo.  Nope, no April coggins was drawn, I was away at Plantation when the blood was drawn, and as his previous coggins was still current at that point, the decision was made to leave Solo’s coggins until it could be checked.  Of course, by the time I got back from Plantation it had skipped everyone’s mind and it never occurred to me to check.

Now I was feeling pressured to give up and accept that Solo was not going to be able to go to Millbrook.  However, I am not known for giving up easily, a stubborn woman am I.  Once I got over feeling faint, I asked the vet what the chances would be if I personally delivered the blood to the Markham laboratories at 6.30am on the following morning. The vet could not give me any guarantees but I obviously had a better chance than if I sat on my butt.  To cut a long story short, I was on the Vita-Tech doorstep at 6.30 am (4hrs away) and I got my negative coggins certificate back on Tuesday afternoon.  Or rather, the federal office got my coggins certificate faxed to them.  The laboratory phoned me to tell me it had been sent, and off I trooped to the office that would issue my travel and health papers for Solo and Peanuts.

Thinking I had it in the bag, I sailed into the office and handed over Peanuts papers to be stamped and waited for Solo’s.  After a few minutes the federal inspector came back through to me and asked me for my vet’s phone number. My vet was away for a couple of days but had kindly given me his cell phone number. I contacted him and the official told him that the papers (both) were defunct because they had been dated on the wrong day. Instead of the seventh of August, they were dated the ninth and I had presented them on the eighth, if I had waited until today I could have got away with it.  As it was, the very official Official snaffled my papers and told me he couldn’t give me them back because they were dated ahead and NO, I couldn’t just bring them back tomorrow on the right date….sigh….BIG SIGH….

So, now I have a coggins but no health papers and it’s Wednesday morning, the day the horses are meant to leave.  I arranged for another vet to come in this morning and do my health papers for me at 8.30am.  I just got a phone call to say he has been called away to an emergency and he will be sometime later…..the saga continues…the one upshot of all this, I have decided to go to Millbrook, I feel I deserve to.

Naturally there are no photographs at this point, it’s hard to do photographs with your head in a paper bag.