We Made it to England!!!!

I cannot believe the amount of planning and preparation that have gone into this trip ? I honestly thought this day would never come! And so it has! We have all arrived safely in England!!!

Arthur and Sarah (my groom) began their journey at the crack of dawn Wednesday morning. Arthur, who doesn?t like riding on ?The Short Bus? (our perfectly lovely two horse trailer), very reluctantly loaded around 4:45 am for the long drive to JFK Airport. The drive took them 7 ? hours with all the morning traffic and construction but they did arrive safely under the guidance of my fairy-godmother (yes, I have one), Diane Senese. Diane gave me Tenacity, one of my very first advanced horses, years ago and has always been a big part of my life since. Diane and her husband, Steven, test drove the route to the JFK Vetport a few days prior so that Diane could help Sarah navigate the route through the city without incident. Sarah picked her co-pilot, Diane, up on the New Jersey Turnpike and the first leg of the journey went smoothly? whew!

Arthur then spent the rest of the afternoon at the Vetport getting to know his traveling companion, Cisco the dressage horse. They became fast friends which was a huge relief, because Arthur LOVES having a friend!

Around 6:00 Arthur was loaded onto a bus (a real sized one, so he very willingly went right on) to head over to the plane. He was then loaded onto the pallet which was eventually loaded onto the plane, this had to have been scary, but, again, it wasn?t The Short Bus so he went right on! We?re beginning to think that Arthur feels The Short Bus is beneath him!

Sarah and Arthur flew on a KLM flight to Amsterdam that evening at 10:00 pm. Sarah sat in the back row of the plane and got to go through a little trap door to check on him throughout the flight. He traveled fabulously.

They arrived at 11:00 AM, made it very quickly through customs and then were on the lorry to England by 1:00 PM. They traveled by road and by ferry and eventually made it to Maizey Manor Farmhouse ? the farm of David and Jackie Green ? around 2:00 in the morning.

I arrived to Maizey Manor (I only had to take one plane ride and one car ride) around 1:00 pm that day.
Arthur looked really well, but also really tired!!! He was going to need some quiet time to rest! After making sure he was cozy, we began the long trip up to Burghley (the four star competition which was being held this week). The closest hotel we could find was near Cambridge — in truth it was Buck Davidson who found the hotel for us. Buck is the other American who will be competing at Blenheim next week. He drove up to Burghley that morning to watch some dressage, so he was the one who drove from town to town looking for hotels. Burghley is incredibly popular so finding a hotel the night before the most exciting day was no easy task! He did all the work while we sat in Friday traffic on the M25 and all we had to do was show up… excellent!!!

We all went to dinner that night in Cambridge, which was a hoot driving around… I wish I could have seen it during the day.

We got up early on Saturday morning to make it to Burghley before the crowds. We had to follow Buck as I had no clue where to go… and I think we drove (no exageration) 100 mph the whole way there!!! Buck was saying the night before how much he loved driving here because they don’t pull you over for speeding. He did fail to mention at the time that there were a stack of speeding tickets mailed to him in the states (and already charged to his credit card). So they don’t pull you over, but they do have plenty of cameras watching! I never considered speeding fines in my England budget, but might work that in!!

Burghley was truly awesome!!!! It makes Rolex look like a 3 1/2 star!!! And there were sooooo many spectators…. and A LOT of mud!!! Our first order of business upon arriving was to buy rubber boots!

We walked most of the course before it began and watched about half of the rides cross country. My coach, Phillip Dutton, was there competing and he made it look truly easy! Everyone was struggling! I am so glad I got to go, because I am really excited to come back next year to compete at Burghley myself.

After Phillip finished his round, we decided to head back to Maizey Manor to check on Arthur. I knew the girls there were excellent and taking great care of him, but I was really anxious to check in on him. When we got back… Arthur was fully rested!!! Bright eyed & ready to go!!! I can’t believe how well he handled the whole trip! There are so many people who have helped to make this trip go so smoothly. Paul Weygand at Mersant organized all of Arthur’s travels. He was so wonderful to work with and made everything worry free. I kept thinking of new things to worry about, but he had already taken care of those things before I even knew to worry about it! Every part of Arthur’s journey was seamless and I’m sure that’s why he looks so well now. Diane Senese, NYC navigator specialist, made Sarah’s life much easier. Victoria Jessop and her packing skills helped us not look like the clueless Freshman moving into the dorm for the first time! Jackie Green and her girls at Maizey Manor for taking in Arthur and taking such good care of him. There are so many others to thank as well… and I’m sure I will get to you all… but now I must go ride in the rain!!!