Well we finally made it down to Ocala after quite the journey. Turns out the day we were planning on leaving the weather decided to dump 12 inches of snow on NJ, making it pretty much impossible to get out on schedule. I also had another small thing to figure out,, a truck ,,, being that mine was sitting broken down in North Carolina. My very kind mother lent me her car to get back from NC when my truck died. So I needed to figure out how to get 8 horses in the van and on the road, borrow a truck to pull my trailer, get someone to drive my moms car to NC , not to mention packing up the barn, the house,2 dogs,1 groom/manager,1 working student and 1 student who kindly offer to drive the car all in themiddle of one of the biggest snow storms of the season.... But when the sunny south is calling your name you get on the weather channel , find a break in the weather and press the pedal on the right!
Jill Lukens a student of mine, kindly showed up at my barn at 12pm on Wednesday to follow me down to NC to drop off the car. Dana Callinan ( my barn owner) lent me her truck so we put two horses and equipment in my trailer and headed south when there was a break in the weather, around 2 pm. Megan and Sarah stayed behind to meet the shipper who was coming at 7pm to pick up the remaining 8 horses. Jill and I got to the fork around 2 am and quickly dropped off the car to my mom who woke up long enough to give us some snacks for the remaining 10 hours and we were off again. We arrived to our farm in Ocala around 11:00am after a straight 21 hours driving. We were welcomed by a beautiful 21 stall barn backing onto the O'Connors amazing facility and not a bit of snow in sight! We quickly organized the equipment and prepared the stalls for the horses that would be arriving later in the afternoon. We then ran to get the key to the apartment before the office at the Carlton Arms closed. As soon as I sat down to sign the lease the shippers called and said that the horses would be arriving in less than an hour. Thankfully the ladies at the apartment gave me the keys and without even seeing the apartment we were back to the barn to greet the horses ( we at this point had been up around 30 hours.. things were getting fuzzy). The horses all traveled fantastic and I was so excited to see all of them. Its amazing how difficult it is to just send your "kids" off with strangers for such a long journey.. but the guys at Meadow Brook horse transport were amazing and took great care of all the horses.
Jill and I got everyone out in the fields at least for an hour while we organized blankets and grain.We got everyone tucked in bed around 7pm then we managed to crawl into our apartment, order pizza and pass out! Megan and Sara had gotten on the road around 4 am Thursday to head to Ocala and very kindly offered to stop by the barn and check on the horses to make sure everyone was happy and healthy after there long journey.Then next morning we all ventured out to the barn at 8 am with coffee in our hands,sunscreen in our bags and smiles on our faces ready to start the 2011 season in Ocala, Florida!!!
Huge Shout out to Jill who some how managed to get into the truck Friday night and drive 20 more hours back to NJ! Thanks to Meadow Brook for getting my horses south in fine form and to my girls Meg and Sara fro working about 2 days straight with great attitudes!!... and to my mom for the snacks and car :)