Starting my adventures in Wellington where I met up with Woody who had been staying with Christilot for a few days. Brian shod him and Usha did some bodywork for him on Friday evening. Then on Saturday morning Dr Surasky gave him fluids for the long trip ahead, thank you McKee Pownall. Donna (shipper) picked us up and drove us to Thebas Farm in Miami where Woody stayed from 2:30 p.m. till pick up time of 10:00 p.m. when we headed to the airport with 13 other horses. Ann who works for Equijet picked me up and drove me to a hotel room (thank you Bastian) for a rest and shower then we went for dinner together before heading back to Thebas Farm to load the horses onto two vans.
Luckily it’s a very short drive to the airport where we unloaded the horses one at a time from the vans to the pallets. I got to do this part myself (after watching a bunch) Woody is a pro but I’m not. It’s a tight space and a bit of a step down. It always amazes me what horses will do for people and how they travel.
Then we drove to the airport field and the people walked from the loading docks to the plane. Up the stairs I went into the cargo plane and chose a seat. There were four of us flying with the horses and six very comfy seats. The horse pallets were loaded onto the plane by a huge lift then they slide and lock into place. I watched as they folded up the ventilation flaps above their heads before going back up the ladder to our seats for take off. The rest of the plane seemed to be filled with boxes of flowers and it was quite chilly.
It was approximately 1:00 a.m. when we took off. I was quite tired and fell asleep right away. There were two others flying with their bosses horses plus the KLM professional groom. He really knows what he’s doing so I followed him most of the time. He also knew how to work the kitchen on the plane but I was so tired I slept.
So nice to have big seats, turn off all the lights and have no one disturb you on the flight. I never want to fly commercial again! I did have to write two open book exams online before I was allowed to fly with Martinair.
Once we arrived in Amsterdam we checked on the horses to make sure everyone was ok after the landing then we all loaded into a van which took us (and the pilots) to customs to check our passports. Then we went to the animal services building where the pallets were delivered and unloaded one at a time. I helped unload a few horses and Woody into nice stalls. They waited there for about 3 hours before the vets came to clear their papers. I changed Woody’s wraps, gave him Omega alpha BCAA, mints and more carrots then left him to rest a while. I drank tea (wishing I had eaten on the plane) and waited in the heated lounge where they had WiFi which was great.
Bart from Horse Hotel Holland came to get us at around 8:30 p.m. (Holland time) with a really neat two horse van. Woody has a travel buddy that flew with him called Tigger (aka Royally in Debt). who I believe is an older Quarter Horse and very well behaved. So we packed up all the equipment and loaded the horses. We didn’t have to travel more then 20 minutes before arriving at a lovely stables in Volendam. Bart was so incredibly kind and offered to go get me something to eat at 9:30 p.m. He had been eating Easter dinner with his wife and friends in town and came to get us from the airport then went out of his way to make sure I was fed and comfortable before returning to pick up his wife from the restaurant. My apartment is beautiful and the beds are really comfy. There’s a TV screen with cameras on your horses so you can keep an eye on them plus all the amenities you could ask for.
In the morning, Jolanda (Bart’s wife) made me the most decadent breakfast ever. She is world famous because Anne Marie stayed here with Woody on their way back from WEG’s 2014 and told me all about Jolanda’s amazing breakfasts and boy was she ever right! After that I went to look after the horses and explore the barns a bit. It’s cold and raining so I haven’t taken Woody outside yet, plus he and Tigger are the only ones in that barn so I don’t want to upset Tigger by taking Woody away. There’s a lovely indoor arena here, an outside dressage area, a very large covered Eurosizer, wash stalls, stocks and a proper horse heating lamps thingy (sorry don’t know the proper terminology).
More adventures in store. Living the dream!