Monday, November 1, 2010

Last Minute Preparations and The Trip to Pau by Joe Meyer

Sanskrit (Cam)- 11yr old NZ homebred by Silent Hunter. He has completed Blenheim CCI*** and Luhmuhlen CIC***, Aachen CIC*** and was 2nd in British Open Championships at Gatcombe this year. Cam is competing in his first CCI****
Intrepid (Don) -9yr old NZ homebred by Steal the Show. He was 11th at Hartpury CCI** in August and is fairly new ride to me having only returned to my yard in June. He has been gaining continued confidence all season and 'Don' will be competing in the CIC** at Pau.

Saturday morning brought me to Kate Lukas' for final gallops at LMEQ - a place I use often. It has a great 7 furlong uphill gallop and xc schooloing area. Don can be a little bit looking at water so need to get his feet wet while Cam is very confident so just went on gallops. Both horses did 3 times up the gallops as they were about to get on truck the next day and I always cut off a little bit of last gallop before they ship long distance.

Sunday morning was spent running around doing last minute jobs and packing truck while organizing yard for girls while I am away for the week at Pau. All was smooth so jumped in truck and headed off to my dressage trainer Richard Barret for a little bit of last minute tune up for Cams 4 star test and a little bit of last minute wind up for me from Richard (which Richard is very good at doing i.e. hands down, shoulders back and stop nodding your head!!!) Got back in truck and headed to Portsmouth to take the ferry to Le Havre. There are 3 different routes to France that we can use and they are Dover/Calais, Portsmouth/Le Havre and Portsmouth/Caen. When I am the only driver, as in this occasion, I would normally take the overnight boat which is an 8 hour sail from Portsmouth to either location in France. Its slightly more expensive, but cuts out a lot of driving time and you get to have a nice sleep in the boat in the cabin. Arrived at Portsmouth had some dinner (to avoid the marginal food on the ferry) and glass of wine in the lorry (in England we drive lorries, which are large trucks with living quarters and the horses all in one) while waiting on the docks.. We boarded the ferry and headed to the sleeping cabin.

Monday brought sunshine on arrival to France after a great sleep and smooth crossing. Had a great wonderful complimentary cappucino to help start the drive and we disembarked after giving the horses some water and breakfast. Managed to skip through customs and passport control (just luck!) and its been smooth driving ever since. A diesel and late breakfast (consisting of freshbaked chocolate croissants, ham and cheese baguettes and a plate of cheese and meats) stop earned me an extra 10 Euros for selling a half bottle of crusty looking licorish vodka that had been lying around in the back of the lorry for a couple years to some desperate Polish truck drivers who were stuck in the parking lot due to being unable to drive today, which was a bank holiday It was the sort of bottle that you would only offer to someone you didn't like, but they were very pleased for it (see photo of happy Polish truckers).

Horses have been traveling and drinking really well and we survived the Bordeaux ring road (which has been my nemesis for being in the wrong lane and receiving some serious fines in the past) we are now in the final 100 miles of journey to Pau. Arrival time should be 7 pm France time. Fingers crossed for continued easy journey through this last windy bit!

Until tomorrow,

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