Today is the last day of our 5800 mile trip to North Carolina and back. You might know that the last day of our trip would turn out to be the worst weather.  After leaving Grants we first had to stop for diesel and once we got to the freeway it was snowing and the visibility was closing in.  For the first hour or so I followed behind an eighteen wheeler so I could see his tracks in the snow on the road.  By this time visibility was about one-hundred feet so I needed all the help I could get.

Once it started to clear a bit I was exhausted so I let Allan take over for the next few hours.  It was good that I did as we now faced high winds and more snow and rain.  The weather again cleared between Winslow Arizona and Flagstaff which gave us some rest time while driving.  Once past Flagstaff the snow started again and we drove in it all the way until we got off the freeway onto 89 that goes south to Prescott.

We finally pulled into the ranch about 1:40 and were never so glad to be able to stop.  Of all the days of driving that we did the last two days were the worst so I guess that’s and too bad of an average.

I truly did have a great time on the trip and Sailor gave me everything he had each time that I asked him, so the way I look at it, it was a great success.

We will get on the road shortly and try to make New Mexico for tonight.  Well we did make Grants New Mexico by about 6:15 pm this evening.  It was an interesting drive as we started out sunny but with wind.  Then there was the fifty miles of fog It’s six am on Sunday and the wind is blowing.  We pulled into Arapaho Oklahoma last night about 6:00 pm to a very nice stable about six miles from the freeway so it was quiet and peaceful for both us and Sailor. We had a nice dinner in our trailer and fell asleep by 9:00 pm.

before getting to Albuquerque followed by rain, actually pouring rain, then some more fog and finally a stable so Sailor could get out and stretch for the night as tomorrow will be a hard day for all.

The weather outlook for the Flagstaff area is cold rain and snow down to 4000 feet.  Prescott is also showing severe weather warnings starting at midnight tonight through tomorrow evening.  All we can do is hope they keep the road clear so we can get all the way home.

Yesterday we started for home, Prescott Arizona, and it was a bitter sweet goodbye to my friend GladysAnn.  We shared so much, and caught up on all of the latest news and happening and competed at three events together.  It was a blast and I will have great memories of our time together.

The ranch where we stayed at, White Dogwood Farm, the owners were very gracious and helpful in everything that we needed.  I would definitely recommend their farm for anyone that needs permanent or short term boarding for their horse.

We drove to our first stop which was Lebanon Tennessee where we stayed at a pleasant stable for the night.

This morning we got an early start and everything was going well until we stopped for diesel in Palestine Tennessee.  When we got off the off-ramp we started to smell diesel and then there was the smoke just billowing out of the engine. We pulled into the Love’s truck stop and turned off the engine immediately.  Allan was able to locate a person that gave us the name of a local mechanic who showed up within ten minutes.  After careful scrutiny he informed us that the fourth injector split and was spewing diesel all over the engine.  He was able to find one but it was thirty miles away in the next town. He actually drove to pick it up and returned and replaced it and then we were off again.  By now it was 5:30pm and dark and our stable for the night was still 45 miles away so back on the road again to Hazen Arkansas.

When we arrived at the stable there was already a trailer pulling in ahead of us. We all introduced ourselves and then worked to get our horses situated for the night.  The two ladies were also heading home to Sonoita Arizona.  They were competing with their horses in dressage and were returning from Vermont.

Monday November 9, 2015

Well here it is Monday morning and guess what, it’s still raining with the forecast saying it will do this all day. Sailor, I am sure, will enjoy just lounging around his stall all day.

Tuesday November 10 – Wednesday November 11, 2015       

The sun finally showed up yesterday and this morning and it is greatly appreciated.

This afternoon I need to get the trailer turned around and ready to head home tomorrow morning. I am hoping that the ground will be dry enough to do this without messing up the ranches ground too bad.

By the way happy Veterans Day to all who have and are fighting to keep our country safe.

We woke to rain this morning at 2:00 am. Temperature of  50 degrees and a cold breeze. As of the start of cones it had not changed so I decided to withdraw and pack up. Glad I did as the first couple of competitors we saw come out of the arena looked miserable and very frozen. Not my idea of fun. Weather calls for the same all day.
Heading back to Monroe NC for a couple days and then we start our journey towards home.

We woke up this morning to clear sky, sunshine and humidity of about 86%, ick!!!

Unfortunately we had a 12 noon go time.  By the time I got Sailor hitched up it was miserable for both human and horse alike. I decided to totally hose Sailor down ahead of time in an attempt to keep his temperature down, which did for the first two sections of the course.  We traveled through a lot of forest which kept us in the shade and then a slight breeze came up which also helped.  We spent ten minutes in the vet box working on cooling Sailor down before we could go on to the obstacle section of the marathon.  We started off well but by the time we were through our forth obstacle I could tell that Sailor was running out of steam because of the heat and humidity.  He was really happy to get to the water obstacle and when he drove in he slowed to a walk just to enjoy the moment.  Then we finished the obstacle and headed for the last one,  his steam was really running out so I didn’t push and let him walk as much as he wanted.  When we entered the last obstacle he gave me his last bit of energy and we used it to trot, all be it a slow trot to get through the last hazard.  We proceeded to walk the last 300 meters to the finish line, he was truly spent. Sailor gave me all that he had without any question asked.

Sailor earned a very long shower under cold water and a well sought after drink, along with a lot of treats, of course.  We moved up in standings one place to sixth, we’ll see what cones has to offer tomorrow.

Woke up again to overcast skies and a very humid day that was sure to get even worse as the day wore on.  Being my dressage time was not until 2:22 pm I chose to take Sailor and do some ground work with his lounging caisson to see what sort of mood he was in. As it turned out he was very calm and quiet and wanted to know what the big deal was about. I thought to myself what happen to the horse that jumped at everything.

We then went to check out the obstacles as we had six to memorize and decide how to drive them for tomorrow.  Several were very complicated but the others were pretty straight forward.

About 1:30 pm I started getting Sailor ready for dressage. Again he was very calm and collected about the whole thing.  Then we heard that they were running a bit early as someone had withdrawn.  We were close to being ready to go and hitched up and casually walked the trail to the dressage field.  Upon seeing all the people and tents I was pleasantly surprised at Sailors take on the whole thing, nothing!

We were next into the arena so in we went.  Sailor was still very calm and listened to me even though a few times I could tell that he was not sure of everything.   To my surprise I had no issues at all with him as I had, had at the last couple of competitions.  It was the best test he had ever done for me and I was just overjoyed that we had finally made a breakthrough in our training and showing.  To say I was speechless would be an understatement!  I believe on this dressage day I had the most fantastic go ever and I think Sailor has finally put his big boy pants on.

We got on the road about 9:30 am in hopes of getting to Aiken by 1:00 pm but we spent an hour being lost, and frustrated so we didn’t make it there until about 2:00 pm.

I got Sailor settled in his stall for the next three days which he felt was a bit to small for him, and I guess I would have to agree. His nose touched one side and his tail touched the other. I don’t think he will be having any late night parties at his pad.  We then found our spot to park and tried to get settled in but by then it was time to get our packet for the event, with all of the information that we would need for the CDE, but to my surprise we were told that all maps and information could be found on their website.  Now this is all good except there is very poor internet connection with our phones, and we have no way of printing out any of the obstacle maps or course maps, as when we left home we left without our printer, how dare we make such a mistake.

My friend is going to see if they can print them out at where they are staying or stop by a copy place on their way in, in the morning.  I sat in on the briefing at 4:30 pm and by the time we were done there was just enough time to walk the dressage arena for our go tomorrow at 2:22 pm.  Then it was feeding time for both the horse, the dog and us.  Hoping to get a good night’s sleep, for tomorrow will be a long day.

October 26, 2015

Sailor gets a couple days off before we start getting ready for the next event in two weeks.  I can use a little down time too before learning the dressage test for the Katydid CDE, our last event.

 October 27, 2015

Woke up this morning to showers, cold weather and a phone message from the barn where Sailor is being boarded at.  Now we all know, that is the last call we want to get first thing in the morning from our barn.  On returning the call I was told that Sailor broke out of his outside run and that she found him out grazing in the grass.  But upon checking Sailor out I found a small wound on his lower left leg and then a larger one on his right stifle. Upon investigation I found about a four inch cut and a round puncture wound that I am concerned about.  I am now waiting for a call from a local vet to look and assess the situation.

Finally met the vet at the ranch at about 4:00 pm to check out Sailors cuts.  The one I was concerned about was the one that looked like a puncture but after the vet checking it out, he felt that it would heal just fine without stitches.  So for the next few days I will be cleaning and applying antibiotic cream to the wounds, also he will be on butte for a couple of days for any discomfort.

We still have no idea what happened but we are relieved that he will be fine and that it should all be healed before the next competition.

October 28 – 29, 2015

The rain finally stopped after two days and I was able to take Sailor out for a drive in the arena of the ranch.  He was quite back to his normal self and the leg didn’t bother him at all.  Now if I can just get him to do, at the next show, in dressage what he did for me today here at the ranch, life would be great.

October 30 – October 31, 2015

Since the rain finally stopped yesterday I let the ground dry up before driving today.  It is another beautiful day here in North Carolina.  I was able to get to the stable by 10:00 am this morning to work with Sailor.  GladysAnn’s trainer came over to watch again while I drove him.  It is amazing that when one does not have a knowledgeable ground person, to occasionally watch how you are driving, the bad habits that one can get into without really realizing it.

At home with GladysAnn and Tim in NC with the dogs!

We worked today on a working trot, 40 meter circle on a long rein, for the next dressage we will have to do at Katydid CDE (Combined Driving Event).   Instead of checking Sailor in when his attention goes to something around the arena, I am now using it as a way of focusing the energy to help bring him round and on the bit, and it does work.  Sailor caught on quickly in that if he misbehaved he would have to work harder.  Amazing how that works?  So today’s workout turned into a great teaching lesson for Sailor and for me.

November 1 – November 3, 2015

After rain all day Sunday and Monday I was finally able to do a little with Sailor at the ranch. Was not able to drive him as the ground was so saturated with water so I turned him out in the arena to just noodle around.  He was having none of that so he proceeded to run around, buck, kick up his heels and then rolled in the sand.  I’d say he was getting a little stir crazy.  When he was all done with that I took the chance to brush and comb him out in an attempt to get him a bit ready for the coming CDE.

I am hoping that we will be able to connect the trailer to the truck for a morning departure on Thursday.  It will be about a four hour drive to Aiken South Carolina.

November 4, 2015

Well it’s Wednesday morning and it rained again last night, which means the ground is even more saturated.  We are heading over to the stable at noon to hook up and try to get the trailer onto solid ground.  Will let you all know???

We started with my friends’ trailer as it was parked in her back pasture area since the last competition. It was a slippery and very soggy project but with lots of tenacity and determination we got it hooked up and were able to get it pulled through the saturated ground onto the driveway.  Hurrah one down!

Next came the trailer she uses to haul her mule and carriage on.  Now this was not as hard because the hitch part of the trailer was over the cement so we did not have to get the vehicle onto the soaked ground. Hurrah two down!

Now we headed over to the ranch where Sailor is boarded to hitch up our Dodge one ton dully to our trailer. Now our trailer is larger than both of my friends put together and the ground at the stable was just as soaked.  My plan was to back the trailer along the arena fence which is a bit higher than where we were parked. Then I took a slow and easy first gear in the truck and eased my way to the left of the muddy driveway up onto the hard ground just in front of the barn. Hurrah three down!!!