One day after arrival the horses look great. A good night’s rest left them eager for their breakfast the next morning. Our schedule for the next 3 days is a walk for an hour or more the morning and afternoon. We want to re-introduce them into their routine carefully and slowly back, taking the utmost care to avoid tie-up. They are enjoying their walks, and want to go exploring, but we are limited to a six-mile stretch of trail so we don’t mix horses from other continents. The point is to reduce risk of exposure to foreign horses. We let them graze and it is interesting to watch them try out new tastes. Theatric and Leon were particularly interested in the mango that was on the ground.
All the tack has been unpacked and arranged. The riders had quite a job packing They had to pack for the two day training session which was alsoa two day or more drive for most of the riders. Then they had to pack for a month in Florida and for traveling to Malaysia. They had to do all this packing not knowing whether or not they were going to make the team. It was a tremendous effort on the part of all the nominees.
We are taking temperatures and doing tick inspections twice daily. Barn security is very good and the stewards make sure we remember to dip our feet in disinfectant and sanitize our hands every time we leave or enter the barn.
While our horses do not have nearly the winter coats of some of the horses from other countries, they were still hot, so we have started clipping. We will probably need to clip a couple of more times before the race. The riders and I are very glad the horses were in Florida for a month prior to the ride. Both horses and riders are better adapted to these conditions because of the experience.
Although we have had very little time for touristy things we are still having fun. Before the horses arrived John Crandell took us to the old town bazaar. There is a fish market, textiles, clothing, lots of local color. We were all too tired to stay very long, but it was worth seeing.
Part of our fun includes new and exciting experiences in driving. It is almost natural forme to go the right side of the truck to get to the drivers seat. I only hit the windshield wipers once today instead of the signal. Many people here ride scooters. It is not unusual for a family of four to be riding along the side of the road on a scooter. The scooters go more slowly so the cars have to veer to the right to go around. It is always possible that a car coming towards you might be doing the same thing. There is much veering, cutting in, passing narrowly. In fact, my spacial perception is so good that Grace Ramsey commented that “If there had been a piece of paper between the car and us, you would have nicked it!” Ha, not even close!
Our pick up hold five inside and as many as we can stuff in the bed. Coming home the night the horses arrived we werevery late. John was driving, Kathy, Meg, Flavia and Alfredo (Val’s grooms) and I were in the back. John was trying to make it back to the hotel before the rain started, but alas, we didn’t quite make it. At a stop light, a driver in another car asked Kathy if she knew it was raining. With water dripping down her chin she said, “Yes, I know it is raining.” The locals are very amused to see us in the back of the truck. It is impolite to point in this country, but I think from all the stares we get the local folk must be very tempted!
Our hotel is providing some special entertainment tonight. Malaysian dancers are going to perform for us. They were supposed to start at 8:00pm. It is now 9:00 pm. The dancers have been squatting behind a screen for over an hour. Oh, finally, they are starting now…wow, very fun. They performed several dances and ended the evening asking several members of the audience to join them. Our own Jan, Cheryl, Stewart, and Meg were on the dance floor! We have it on video – I’ll try to send it.
That’s all for now.