Monday, August 15, 2011

Shants or jorts? Update post hartpury straight from your moms! ...or ogbourne st. Andrew!

Well week one complete and successful indeed!
Tate was a bit tired all week until Saturday.....then he was back to his old self pushing me out of the way, kicking the wall, hollering to his party people, throwing his head around in his princess dance after a cross rail...the usual.

Sinead and I spent the week with Tate, running the gallops and eating English breakfast. Everyone on the yard at maizey manor is super friendly. 
Its pretty cool to grab a book and walk out to the ring on flat days to see it full with Talented riders and horses from about five different countries. Although I did learn to stay hidden otherwise you very easily get dubbed the popper scooper and that scooper is not the ideal job in a full ring. Too much pressure.

Tate has a very large stall next to elizabeth powers horses, and he quite enjoys his automatic waterer and haylaige. While Tate is out in the afternoon Sinead and I strap on our nikes and head to the gallops....well, Sinead straps on her tesco ghetto pre-tied shoes.. The first day up that hill was a bit rough and i got a glimpse of what ot may be like to have emphysema, but it gets easier everyday. I even ran the three star on Friday at hartpury....ok so maybe it was a cic and I stopped to walk all the combinations, but I still ran. There were hills!....

We had an early start for Friday as we headed to hartpury for sineads dressage. Tate got a ride with Catherine burrell  on her lorry and Sinead and I drove behind...thinking we had time to stop for a coffee because surely it's going to take the lorry longer than it's going to take us on those windy little roads .....wrong . These brits don't play no games on the highway. Skirrrtttttt! With three little heads bobbing happily in the back munching away. 

Sinead's test was not their best, but Tate was feeling good and his lateral work gets better everyday. It is so great we have had this opportunity to come over here and work out the kinks before the big event in a couple weeks.
After dressage comes karaoke in the pub ...naturally, and a brief dance party with toddy and bettina....Coleman was on the floor dancing as white boys do, and Sinead was dancing as sineads do....I usually pick a theme for my dance parties and my theme for Friday was cruise director. So although we were listening to Justin timberlake, I had a constant replay of the love boat and copacabana playing in my head.

I digress.

Saturday was show jumping, and it was also the day that taterball came out of his jet lag. The last one down, but he is jumping very well and his confidence is high.

The next day brought cross-country. Everyone spent a lot of the weekend toying with different game plans for Sunday. The footing was not ideal, and the track wasn't the most inviting....but for us, being that we havent had an opportunity to run since rolex, it was now or never. The more the course was walked, the better Sinead felt. Tate at the end of the day is going to jump if you give him a good canter and a good line. We had also entered blenheim just in case the hartpury outing didn't go as planned, and as his caretaker I am glad we have that option for his best interest....but as megkep the consumer, I really really wanted to go to burghley because they have really good lemonade. 

Sunday came, and Coleman was the first of the Americans to head out. All a bit nervous, but at the end of the day each of these riders trust their horse or they wouldn't be sitting ontop of them in that start box heading out to a three star track. Will planned to take his experienced horse twizzel just beyond the first water and the pull up, that's all he needed and wants to make sure he stays safe and sound for the cci in a few weeks. 
Pawlow and faudree were just a few ahead of Sinead, and I had a chance to see them finish, will smiling, and nat in the coolzone. Sinead set out at 12:12. Tate looked great in the warmup, and after i saw his princess dance I knew he would be fine. UnfortunAtely from the vet box I could only see the first three fences, and the last....but he made it over them all. Tate and Sinead came through the final flags fist pumping...ok, maybe I was fist pumping and Sinead was just smiling, but the first thing out of her mouth as she jumped off was "onto Burghley!"
Thank god, I'm really thirsty! I thought to myself.

Tate recovered well, his breathing was great, his legs look great, and he is happy as a clam that we finAlly let him run cross country. 
I stuck him in ice, Sinead wandered off to watch some more, and I packed up the rest of our stuff. 
After about two hours and no sign of Sinead who normally checks in quite frequently, izibs groom Emily had already loaded their two horses and they were waiting on me and Tate. 
So, I could either be the ass who send their horse home with people kind enough to have waited around all day for it, and make them unload him and care for him while I find Sinead in the large crowd, maybe get a pimms and watch the rest of xc....or I jump in the lorry with my horse, and send out mental vibes to Sinead, hoping that her inner Sherlock holmes kicks 
In after she sees an empty stall and hears far less your mom jokes floating around from barn to barn, and realizes I've upped and lefted....whelp see ya later.

Kinda hard to communicate when no one knows anyones numbers by heart and we've both run out of minutes on our ghetto you really have to hone you skill of willing something to be.  Skill of the will.

She found us in the end. 

So overall it was a good weekend for the americans. We have made our plan for the next couple weeks and have learned from our mistakes made over the last few days. Aside from that and picking out some good studs, and a throwing back a shot of whiskey after watching that burghley course walk with CPT mark...i think all we have left to do is kick!

Bring it on burghley house 

I've got to go distract nat for five minutes so I can sneak in some of my laundry. 

PS for a good time google videos of CMPs wedding.

Pps in reference to my title.... Will Coleman is very jealous of my running attire. Shants, as he calls them, although i prefer jorts...or 'running pants' works too, are the way of the future. Move over lance armstrong...without a bike...ok so I cannot reference any famous long distance runner I just want to say usain bolt because he has a cool name, but will, or big willy c as I know refer to him, made a valid point that usain only runs for like 100 Ya, I'm on about nothing now. Ciao ciao. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What's faster......flying or swimming to England? Part two.

Soooo.... We left the vetport, I made friends with the shipper bladeblah...
Richard and I go through a brief security check at fedex terminal, then sit and have some tea and coffee while we wait for our our escort down to the plane.
By this time it's about 0130.
Those of you who know me..well at least know the megkep passed age 23...I go to bed by 930 pm. So I'm dragging by this point...the edge of excitement had long worn off between all the waiting and, well ... the waiting.
Thankfully for my e excitement neurons, the best was yet to come.
We are escorted to the Tarmac where I find Tate ( oh ya, haven't seen him in a while) standing quite patiently in the lorry. The guys had put the chute up that led to the cargo compartment where Tate would be spending the majority of the evening.
Once there I saw loads of fedex employees loading large cargo palates onto the plane via a very treacherous looking lift and some rudimentary, albeit successful, roller system.
After yet another hour of waiting and a brief nap in a fedex truck, I started snapping pictures....which of course I cannot share at this time because my pos computer has crashed but I will do asap.
Pretty unbelievable stuff.
The time came to unseal taters lorry, and load him up.....insert story of the shankymajigger here.....
Thankfully I loaded Tate without problem and no one had shut down the airpot, nor sniper rifle t he French princess.
Richard and I jumped in with Tate for the ride on the lift. We cruised around to the scale then onto the lift we rolled.
Richard played it cool....Tate played it cool...I played it cool ...on the outside. Definitely on the inside I was screaming like a little girl whose barbies hair was just cut off by her g I Joe carting older brother.
( is that too personal of a reference for you to relate....???)

Long story short we made it safely in the plane. Tate was surprisingly at home munching away. Richard and I got the galley a lll to ourselves, where I promptly fell asleep for three hours. Thank god so eons hired a professional groom to look over my horse :)
The pilots were amazingly nice and I didn't even have to name drop or change into more professional attire to get my in flight fruit basket and muffins!!

Once in England, safely on the ground, we unloaded via the same method ...rollers and lifts...except everyone had accents, the sky was cloudy, and my hair instantly went flat....I was in heaven.

We navigated our way to the vet isolation building to be cleared....I sat with Richard and my shipper to my final destination who was fab...believe his name was Darren. They kept proving how gullible I was with little bits of 'information' my defense I'm usually so good about picking up on those sneaky types, but I'm telling the part about riding in the back with Tate really shook me and my judgement of jocularness.

After they were all done making fun of me and warning me how dry the pubs were where I was headed to, we set on our way.

I have been to England twice. I lived here in 2007 working for Former British team member Helen Bell up in yorkshire, and then I came over for a few weeks in 2009 to visit and look at grad schools, one being hartpury where we happen to be headed in a couple of days! I really do
Love it here. The history, the smell of haylaige, the tea, the weather, the chocolate, the horses, and especially the general .." just get on with it" attitude. I am so happy to be back here, and am really looking forward to the exciting month ahead I get to spend helping out an exciting rider on an exciting horse at an exciting time.
The trip may have been long, but it went extremely well, and I am sure it was worth every hour, mile, and gruff story I heard along the way...
Next stop ..the pub, then onto hartpury for a little pre burghley pipe opener for the tater!!

And I know there are tons of editorial mistakes but I really do not know how to operate Apple products. Like I said in part one, good luck decoding!!! Xoxo

What is faster...flying or swimming to England? Part one

Holy wow
Before I begin may I please just express my frustration. I purchased a brand new Dell computer especially for this trip...and I kid you not as I was on the plane over, telling Richard about my bad luck with computers and showing him my new shiny laptop....I get an error about my bloody hard drive. Heads will roll. Until I fix that batboy, I am borrowing sine ads iPad....but my typing skills aren't very good and I'm too lazy and tired to edit. Good luck decoding My Mac language,

After many an hor, waiting and waiting and waiting....... We are in england!!

I headed back to vetport around 2030 set to see if tater wanted to eat a snack before his long journey, as I knew he wouldn't be eating for a while. When I arrived at the barn via Paul, tater was happily dozing off, and glad for some company.
Around 2145, Paul left to go pick up richard ..the inflight groom. At first, being as stubborn as I am, thought "why do they need another groom? I'm professional, I got this." but my attitude quickly changed. This experience is not something you can prepare for, you just have to live it.
..I was especially appreciative when Richard gave me a shankydeedooly (I don't remember what the exact term was, but it's those bit shank things that go in their mouths that brace horses use to be led around) anyway he hads me it, and I looked at him puzzled...I mean I have a chain...and a mean elbow to the neck maneuver,,, but Richard quickly explains that if I loose him at the airport I have about ten minutes to catch him before they just shoot him. The whole. Airport would have to be shutdown. Etcetc horror story enter here.

No pressure right? As I stared down the endless ramp between my lorry where Tate stood and the cargo palate where Tate was bunking for the night. (ok it was like 15 feet.)
Thankfully knowing Tate, even at his frenchest princessey moments he is still pretty manageable...but I used that badboy anyway. How would that conversation even start? Sorry Sinead, Tate got loose on the Tarmac and they sniper rifled his ass because RyanAir had to lAnd....awkwarrdddd.

Alas, I'm getting ahead of myself. As it were, technically we haven't even left the vet port.
When everyone arrived to pick up Tate...the vet gave him the all clear and 'sealed' him in the lorry at 2300. The official seal was really a leadrope strewn across the lorry entrance with a metal clamp put on. .....very official.

The shippers were pretty great and definitely helpful. Shoutout to Scott and...well I don't remember the other guys name, but I did hear his whole life story on the hour drive to Newark international airport. I mean, I can tell you about his baby momma, his bicycle, his son, how he convinced his son to tell his mom that he sleeps in his car so she doesn't find his house, and my favorite part of the conversation...his opinion on gay marriage. I will spare you the details, but he was very entertaining and kept me awake.

Richard and Scott rode in the back with Tate. At first I thought they were joking....but they weren't. It went a little like this:
Scott: "you riding in the back?"
Me:"he he he..." (gathers my purse and my laptop....heads to front seat........ Notices there is only one seat and they really were serious.......... Pauses. ........Panics. ........Sighs and gets into air conditioning)
Yep...strike one for the new girl.

End part one

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Vetport, Tater, Butch and some Pizza.

Tater Pants checkin out the SIty-achuun
Well –
Here we are at the vetport at jfk. Kevin, our shipper, picked Tate and myself up at around 1215 – at around 1130 – Sinead tried to sabatoge me by throwing my phone in my dogs water bowl – as she yelled, “SUCKAAAAAAAAA” and ran off.
So that is why, I am blogging via Word then via Blogger, as I stare at my poor phone, barely 2 weeks old, laying in a bed of uncooked MinuteRice.

ok, so maybe it was an accident....I guess I will just have to deal with 12 extra hours of no phone time added onto my next 30 days sans the blackberry.

The ride to airport was uneventful - except for the fact that ole Volvo lorry had a testy tranmission and I was semi-nervous as we failed to accelerate on the GW Bridge. . . but I have to hand it to Kevin - that badass lorry has over 1,000,000 miles on it. I didn't believe him at first, but she is 10 years old, original engine, original transmission (until next week, my guess;) ) and averages 100,000+ miles per year.

I have to say, I was pretty impressed - especially after we made it safe and sound to the vetport at JFK three hours later. (Tate would be one of the last horses I would want to break down in NYC traffic with...)

Once at the Vetport, I unloaded tater who was a little stressed out - but he quickly settled into his stall. He gets the barn ALLLL to himself - which at first worried me , and I was chewing my fingernails imagining the cement walls + a pissed off lonely french princess...but he seemed to enjoy the quiet and even ate some dinner. Once I felt a little less overprotective, I took off his halter and shipping at a time...and quickly replaced with some standing bandages...I thought about putting on some bellboots too..but I saw Butch - who runs the vetport - sitting there, judging me and my many trunks and hay steamer, muttering about the old days and something about Hay, Water and Oats....I opted no bell boots... threw him some steamed hay, and then we sat in peace.
aaahhhhHhhHHhh! nothing like the smell of tarmac!

Paul at Mersant arrived about an hour later, such a great guy - big ups to Paul - who hung out with myself and tater for a bit. Once we deemed Tate happy, he brought me to a local hotel and got me a room for a couple hours...I was expecting the woman at the front desk to give me a strange look when a man was getting me a room just for a couple hours...but I guess anything goes at JFK.

So now I am happily sitting in air conditioning waiting for my last American glutonous meal...(how long until that Tough Mudder I signed up for again??)
ANd then I will probably head back over to keep Tater company until we leave at 1100pm.

Our flight leaves from Newark at 0300.

I am really sad I forgot all the names I was supposed to drop with the pilot - apparently my dad has a lot of old navy buddies that fly for fedex, which I didnt really think much of, until Paul tells me that FedEx can be very "rule-abiding" and I need to make sure I answer yessir, nosir, etc....
Smells like military.
Thankfully my dad flew in the navy, has a nickname of Kombat, and I am dating an exMarine. I think my chances of landing on the otherside of the pond are pretty good.

I digress.

I am going to jump off here -

Butch!!! Judging me...

Cheers from JFK...onto London!

and then....Ogbourne St. Andrew!!!