Well folks, the Buckskin Beauty and I have uprooted and replanted ourselves somewhere warmer. That’s right! Bye-bye Ohio and hello sunny FLORIDA! And in honor of our big trek down to the Sunshine State, I give you…12 Steps to a Successful Long-Distance Trip!
Step 1 (Ohio): Head to the barn the morning of the big move. Discover that all of the latches on your horse trailer are frozen shut since it’s a balmy -1 degree F. Resort to pouring hot water from your barn’s heated lounge over them and quickly tearing them open, only to watch them re-freeze mere seconds later. Throw yourself against the trailer ramp from the inside in an effort to open it. Fail. Pour hot water down the sides and try again. Succeed in tearing the ramp open, along with some of the foam padding around the edges.
Step 2: Get your horse out of the snow-filled pasture. Take a mental picture of the current status of your soaking-wet-now-frozen shoes and remind yourself to revisit the image when you’re complaining about it being too hot this summer.
Step 3: Get horse onto the trailer. Pour more hot water over all the latches so that you can actually close the trailer. Meet up with husband who is towing your small RV which will be home for the next couple of days and get your caravan on the road…2 hours late.
Step 4: Stop every 3 hours to offer horse water, just like you were told you should. Watch as horse gives you the stink eye and refuses to drink. Give up and give her carrots.
Step 5 (still in snowy salt-covered Ohio): Stop to get coffee and check on horse. Open trailer door to find that horse has decided that even though it’s the same hay, she has ignored her 2 hay bags in favor of tearing apart a bale she has managed to reach in the next stall. Collect the hay that is now all over the trailer, including around her front legs, re-tie the bale and offer her water (that she refuses to drink). Give her more carrots and get back on the road.
Step 6 (driving through beautiful Kentucky): Ooooh look at the pretty hills and mountains and OMG the speed limit is 70 but everyone thinks it is 90! What is wrong with you people! Are you crazy?! Go 60 mph and sit in the right lane for the next several hours, sharpening your Grandma driving skills.
Step 7 (finally made it to Tennessee, overnight stop 1!): Arrive at the beautiful Springbrook Bed & Barn (highly recommended if you ever need an overnight stall that’s close to I-75!). Breathe a sigh of relief as your horse gets off the trailer and doesn’t collapse…and drinks a full bucket of water. FINALLY. 11 hours down, 12 to go…
Step 8 (back on the road): Shove off for a 6-hour drive to your second overnight destination. Stop three times to get coffee. Offer water that horse refuses. Wonder why you haven’t learned your lesson yet. Give carrots and move on.
Step 9 (Georgia): Arrive at second overnight stop. Settle horse in, where she again drinks a bucket of water (Fine, whatever, Sandie. Don’t drink in the trailer. As long as you drink eventually, I’ll take it!). Meet some of the locals. Mention how rude all the drivers were in Atlanta and wonder why you thought it would be okay to drive through that city with a horse trailer anyway. Be informed by one of the local farmhands that you have “Yankee Tags” on your vehicles and are lucky no one ran you off the road. Go back to your RV, lock your door, and attempt to sleep.
Step 10: Be extremely thankful that your horse gets back onto the trailer without an issue! After a couple more hours on the road, finally cross the border into FLORIDA! HURRAY! It’s smooth sailing from here! Wait, are those blue lights? Why am I getting pulled over? I was still driving like a grandma, so I certainly wasn’t speeding! Pull horse trailer to the side of the interstate. When officer walks up to your window, discover that your power windows have decided to stop working. By request, get out of vehicle and meet him on the passenger side. Discover that when your friends told you, “Florida will want to see your horse’s papers,” they didn’t just mean your barn would. Find out that you inadvertently passed up the Department of Agriculture station a mile back that you were supposed to pull into. After providing all necessary paperwork to the nice officer, go on your merry way with (thankfully!) only a written warning. Florida doesn’t mess around, people!
Step 11 (Yay for sunny Florida!): Arrive at your final destination, your mare’s lovely new home. Discover that she is somehow completely unfazed by the whole journey, and you’re the one with your hair all over the place and a glazed look in your eyes. And you’re pale…like Casper the Friendly Ghost. Which you hadn’t really noticed until you were surrounded by tan Floridians. Wonder if the glare coming off your face and arms is blinding them.
Step 12: After unpacking your trailer’s tack room, which is filled top to bottom with horsey crap of all sorts (both figuratively and literally…not really sure how it got in there!), cleaning out your trailer and parking it, breathe a final sigh of relief and thank the Lord that you all made it, safe and sound. Bring on the sunshine! 🙂