The Horses Are Coming!
The horses are coming today! Riders are excited and anxious. Cheryl Dell has not seen her horse in over a month. Her husband Stewart and father Jerry Gillepsie shared the duties of going to Florida to continue with Reason’s training. There were many sacrifices to not only making the team, but to keeping the horses in a climate conducive to a race in Malaysia. All the riders made sacrifices – they did not see their horse or their spouse in several cases.
We were all tired of the inactivity form the log trips and driving around. To work off a little nervous energy we decided to take a morning walk to the beach. Stewart had found the way, about a block from the hotel, so with ideas of an hour walk we headedout. It was a beautiful morning, the sky clear, we could see the mountains across the China Sea. We walked for about half an hour to a jetty, thendecided to take the sidewalk back. Mistake! First we walked into a dead end in a local neighborhood. We had to go further to get to the main road. Our quick way back took a full hour. We were all tired by 9AM.
The horses were due around 1:00pm. We were told to go to the venue and we would be taken to the airport to meet the horses. We followed out a caravan of cars – 24 horses were coming on one shipment. The Terengganu Airport has been completely rebuilt and the runway extended for this race to accommodate landing 747’s. Even so, the airport is very small.
We were allowed on the runway to watch the place land. It was very emotional to watch the plane circle before landing, then watch it touch down, knowing the precious cargo inside for all the people waiting on the tarmac.
The pilot made a superb smooth landing. Two loads of cargo came out first – all the tack and equipment. The first pallet out had Golden Lightening, Reason To Believe and Reveille. Next out, Theatric, Saba Shams and Flash Flame. The horses came off the pallets fairly well – the tarmac was slick and two horses had minor skids, but no falls or major mishaps.
We offered water and they all drank, walked them until identification was complete, then put them onto the horse vans, - 6 USA and 1 Canadian horse. Forty minutes later the horses were in their stalls. We gave them mashes, and let them rest for an hour. Then we gave them a gentle hand walk of 30 minutes and brought them back to the stalls for 10 liters of IV fluids and electrolytes. Although the horses looked travel weary, their weight was great and overall they looked very good.
Great thanks to Dr. Jim for looking after them so well.