For those of you who have ever tried to plan something major, we all know that nothing ever goes the way we want! The last few weeks in the lead up to the big move have been hectic to say the least. I had my uni exams, for which I was forced to sit inside in front of my computer listening to endless hours of the droning voice of the lecturers as they waffled on about Contract Law and Professional Conduct. I, of course, had much more interesting things to do and found myself gravitating between the fridge, the stables and the bathroom.
There was so much to organise with FEI registrations, joining a dressage club in Germany, organizing a guest licence with the German Federation and of course, packing a whole heap of horse gear into a suitcase... Or several. To add to the stress, we found out that the bridle I had posted to Germany 6 weeks earlier had yet to arrive in Germany, and several phone calls to Australia Post, we found out it was being returned to sender! The bridle was on a plane back to Australia the very day I was leaving for Germany. Grr. I therefore had several reasons as to why I could procrastinate the study until the next day, but as the days grew closer to my exams, I really had to study so Ultra was turned out a few days early, much to my disappointment.
The exams were not as traumatic as I had imagined, although they certainly were not pleasant! The Friday afternoon after the last exam was a good feeling. However, I had just 24 hours to finalize everything still left to do at home! I am a fairly organized person, but even so, I was feeling very stressed!
I finished up at work on the Wednesday before I left, and it was a very sad goodbye. The amount of support I have had from my bosses, the girls I work with, customers and friends has truly been amazing. I spent most of the day saying goodbye to customers who came to wish me well, and I will miss them all. I will be back for a few shifts in December, to recharge the bank account in time for Christmas.
My phone decided to die for good, after it had been dying slowly for several months, the day before we left. We had made a mad dash to the Telstra store to get a new iPhone and I said farewell for my old faithful phone that lasted me for 4 years despite meeting several close calls in horse water troughs.
The rest of Saturday was spent checking, and rechecking all the bags, and in total, I had 7 bags; and I only had to sit on 4 to close them - bonus! We turned the horses out into their holiday paddocks, which are beautifully full of grass. I have given dad strict instructions to put Ultra back to her diet paddock if (when) she starts to get too fat. Below, the two oldies had a great time stuffing their faces.
First thing Sunday morning we headed off to the airport; a tad squished in the car with all my bags. As we checked in, my dad and Matt hauled our bags onto the scales to find we were 12kg overweight due a change in the airlines baggage limits! Luckily we only had a small fee for the excess weight from my saddle.
The flight is always so long to get here, and I’m usually very difficult to entertain on planes. I managed to sleep for the majority of the first flight, but the second half seemed to drag on forever. We finally arrived at Frankfurt, only to have our 7 bags be the absolute LAST bags off the plane. We stood at the baggage carrousel for an hour which drove me mental. Mum and I picked up our car from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof, and boy did we have fun with stuffing in 7 suitcases, 2 carry-on bags and 2 handbags in. Mind you, we had upgraded to a bigger car than the Mini we had last time, so I guess it could have been worse. We made the 3 hour trip to Münster, arriving at our flat and then headed out to see Miss Lotus. No rest for me, training started that afternoon!
In the 6 weeks since I have seen her, she has really developed along. Her muscle tone has improved, and her paces have really come along. I am so excited to get her out to our first competition in two weeks to see how we go against the amazing Europeans! The lesson was great, considering it was just my third time riding her. The long flight really started to catch up with me, and that night I was very sore.
The next day we woke up to sleet and snow coming down, with a maximum temperature of 3 degrees. It is so dark here in the mornings with the sun not coming up until 8am. Coming from a warm spring at home, I was not impressed! We are very lucky at Briana’s to have the use of a lovely indoor arena, and I am very, very glad that I am not outside riding in the snow this time of year.
The warm up process here for the horses are very different from home. We start with 15 mins of walking with a blanket on, before doing another 15 mins of trot and canter, stretching the horse down and keeping the rhythm. We then work in a competition frame for the next 30 mins or so, starting in canter and finishing with the trot work. The blanket then goes back on for a 15 minute walk cool down for the horse. I have found this very effective for not only Lotus but for me as well, as it gives my muscles and bones a good chance to get going.