Friday, June 10, 2011
Guten Tag from Luhmuhlen by Kelley Merette
Just to make all you Entemann's eating Americans jealous, I'm sitting at the computer eating something called a schnitzelbomber from the local bakery, so if this blog ends abruptly, it's because I went into a sugar coma. Besides the stellar baked goods, we have also found some pretty amazing Chinese food (seems ironic, I know, but somehow that is better here as well), and have had our share of adventures with the local customs. Apparently it is NOT acceptable to check into a hotel at 10pm (not that we had much choice), and when Nat brought her 32-oz travel mug into the breakfast room in the morning to fill up, a very large man mildly reminiscent of Pavarotti (with a voice to match) starting yelling that that was not acceptable and that she would be charged extra for taking that much coffee. Clearly, he was the one in need of more caffeine.
Anyways, down to the nitty-gritty of the trip, which I'm sure very few of you actually care much about. We all arrived to the barn we will be at through Sunday in one piece, but we calculated out that the poor horses were on some sort of mobile equipment for 24 hours straight! After we kissed their noses goodbye at the JFK Vetport (in reality, Ping just gave me a really good nip on the forearm), we took ourselves to the human terminal and got a little duty-free shopping in before taking off. Ping does not enjoy airplane travel, and has to travel in a double sized stall so that he can brace his legs. He still tries to body-slam the walls during take-off and landing, but he was a pretty good boy overall. Once we landed in Amsterdam, we met the horses at their livestock cargo bay where we quickly found out that we were far from the top priority that day. Thousands of day-old chicks in cardboard boxes were being loaded up for export to the Phillippines, some strange looking pigeons were headed out on another truck, and probably the largest English bulldog I've ever seen (aptly named dog) was on a journey somewhere as well. Once we finally got the four horses loaded onto our lorry, we still had the final 7 hour leg of our trip in front of us. Undeterred by a flat tire on the equipment trailer and stand-still traffic on the Audubon near Hamburg, our fearless driver delivered us to the tiny town of Luhmuhlen after 8pm, our home for the next two weeks. Thankfully, all four horses are healthy, happy, and even acted a little fresh today during their hacks after a well-deserved day of rest yesterday.
We have filled our time so far with LOTS of hand-grazing, and for Ping this includes lots of rolling in the grass at the end of the lead rope (pony clubbers, don't try this at home!) as well as shopping at the conveniently located tack shops (one is literally 100 yards from our barn and another is 150). These "reitsport" shops are not comparable to any found in the US, at least that I've seen. They have the look and feel of a musty antique store, with every nook and cranny being stuffed with goods. Around every bend and down every hallway is another hidden wing of the store. However, there is nothing sub-par about the goods. When Jennie went in there for the first time this morning, she was actually speechless (for those of you who don't know her, this is a rarity). The Pikeur clothing and Sergio Grasso boots line the walls like bulk food in a Sam's Club. It is ridiculous. And after the ladies at the store realized we were in town for the competition, they handed Will and Jennie thin, hard-cover picture books…….from the 1982 World Championships that took place there. These books are fascinating and gave us a little glimpse into the past of some of the legends of our sport. And since Nat thinks she has the one up on me in the picture department of this blog war, I'm throwing in a curveball. Who can identify the two people in these pictures, taken during that competition:
Time to go feed Ping his dinner!