After the terribly exciting couple of days waiting for Mack, meeting Mack and getting to know Mack; Thursday, May 7; Ivars and I reluctantly hopped on a jet for Phoenix to pick up the coach and drive it to Toronto.
The horses left here May 5 and arrived in great shape in Toronto at Gillian’s on May 8 (Friday). Lindsey was there to meet them and get them tucked into their new home away from home at Sutherland’s. Lindsey had a very busy week, including a lightning fast trip to California to test ride a new horse. I’ll let her fill in the details when she can access the blog from Toronto!
We arrived in Phoenix to 103 temperatures…lovely. Had a great lunch with Aleks and Neil and reluctantly said our goodbyes and headed to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ivars got the best birthday gift from the kids…a telescoping ladder. A perfect addition to the coach’s inventory! It was a stunning trip through the Arizona mountains to Payton and on to Holbrook. The desert colours are so subdued and subtle but altogether quite dramatic. The heat was hard on the coach and we had to slow down quite a bit on the grades to keep everything cool. Thanks to Ivars and his wonderful tenacity for long drives, we arrived in Albuquerque late Thursday evening, fueled the coach and crashed at the Flying J.
In my typical early rising style, Friday I was up before sunrise and let Ivars sleep as we left New Mexico behind and headed into Texas. Nothing like breakfast on the road watching the sun come up! Texas didn’t surprise us much with the topography. Road kill was mostly armadillos?!
We pushed through Oklahoma found an RV park just outside St Louis Missouri. With the weather watch radio we followed a tornado and we were on watch for the next tornado coming up behind us. I must say that was not very fond of that aspect of our travels this trip! Missouri is very lovely, lots of lush green meadows and lots of streams. We had to make a pit stop and fine tune the slide awning (duct tape to the rescue!!). The telescoping ladder works in a hurricane!
Saturday once again I was up very early and on the road. Ivars makes a great breakfast while I take the first leg of the trip. Starting that am in Missouri, we headed into Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, on to Detroit, Michigan and ended the day in Canada outside Windsor at a truck stop! We had a great day…lots of wind, very little rain (we were expecting downpours!). We travelled driving 4 or 5 hours each and traded off as we tired. I was very excited to get to Toronto and pat my horses and help Linds get organized for the Ottawa show.
Sunday morning we again hit the road with sunup and we arrived at Gillian’s north of Toronto early afternoon.
Now that was the Amazing Race America. Meanwhile Amazing Race Canada was making it’s way across the county!! Barb and Curtis with the FCS truck and 4 horse trailer (full of feed, tack box and all of the paraphernalia needed for showing 3 horses) were also looking forward to getting to Toronto early enough to relax a little before the trek to Ottawa. They arrived the next day. We really had the best route as Barb and Curtis had to deal with sub zero temperatures and some dicey digs for each night. A great big thanks to B and C for getting the rig to Ontario! It certainly will make a difference to our transportation options while in Toronto.
Lance, Fred and William were a little tired from their trip across the country. We did a little stretch ride on Sunday. Monday we added a bit more work and had on the schedule to ride tests on Tuesday. All three were still too achy to put together a whole test so we schooled bits of the tests on each one. Monday we had the magnetic blanket with us, as it had arrived with Barb and Curtis. It made a big difference to how they were moving so we had good feeling heading to Ottawa.
Wednesday am we all headed to Ottawa (5 1/2 hours away). I drove the horses and Ivars drove the coach, letting Curtis in on the details of navigating a large RV with air brakes. We parked the RV at the show grounds, unloaded the horses and took them all for a good long walk and graze. They all thought green grass is soooo wonderful, even Fred couldn’t lift her head from the grass! Ivars headed back to Edmonton, boo hoo 😦 and we had an early dinner and tucked everyone in and headed to the coach to bed!
Thursday was great weather and we schooled all three. It was their first time schooling outdoors for 2009 and they all thought it was very wonderful to be in the great outdoors. All three schooled quite well in the am, we hand grazed them for a while in the afternoon and they had an early supper (they are still adapting to the time change) and we ended the day.
Friday we schooled all three in the morning as their tests we scheduled for the afternoon. The rides were all quite good. Lance’s first ever PSG test was 64.?, sixth place in the FEI test of Choice class (very large class). It was very emotional to see him in the ring with Linds in her tails…what a long journey it has been, including colic surgery along the way. William was his normal jolly old self and scored a 69.? in the FEI 5yr old and Fred was just too frightened to relax in the ring that day in her Fourth Level test (she warmed up wonderfully so we looked forward to her next test).
Saturday poured. Period. It poured. William’s ride was early afternoon so the game plan was to warmup and check the footing out and if safe ride the test. We made a decision to ride the test and he was great, 73.?, comments…a wonderful future FEI dressage horse! We were very pleased with his results but felt the footing was to slippy to ride Fred and Lance’s tests. They were still recovering from the long trailer ride and were not at their strongest. They had a wonderful time grazing and were ready for Sunday.
Okay…Sunday!!! I didn’t bring long underwear, toque or warm gloves, should have. The grounds were a goopy, sloopy quagmire. The morning was windy, freezing rain, no sun. Fred had a Fourth Level test at 9:15. Off to the warm up ring and down centre line. She was a good girl and conquered her fears, second place, 62.?. We decided Lance did not need to try and bite the bullet and work in the almost snowy weather. Pack up and head back to Toronto. We were on the road by 10:45. Curtis did a great job and captained the RV and Linds and I broke trail with the horses. Everyone unloaded in Toronto, fuelled up the RV and the truck, set up the RV at the RV park and made it to the airport to hop on a flight home! I left at 6:30 and arrived Edmonton at 9pm. Good to be home, looking forward to heading back on the 30th.
Gillian left Ottawa later in the afternoon and called to let us know William had won the high point award for Canadian Bred Horse for the show. Very satisfing as a breeder to have bred him, he is a stallion for the future!