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Into the Fog

Hi eveyone...sorry I skipped Sunday - I'll catch you all up now, and then give you Monday's news....yesterday (Sunday) was so busy - I had a total of 3 hours of sleep because there was a viewing of the big Soccer game on the big screen TV on the patio of the pool, which is just under my bedroom window - and those guys whooped it up until 2:30 in the morning (Sunday) - so it was after that before I fell asleep - and then I had nightmares of being shot in the head by beebee guns/pellets (must have been the little boys running around with the maching guns at the junior races on Saturday that made me think of that....one of the Sheiks was there, and he had his body guards with the guns surrounding him)...Heather - like the signage in Malysia with the guy being shot in the head!!! anyway, bad night for sleeping - and we had to get up early because the Scottish vet was coming by at 8:00 am to draw blood -

Sunday am: FOG,FOG,FOG - couldn't see three feet in front of you! driving was a challenges and over here they drive with the four-way flashers on in the fog...so difficult to see what was going on. The camels, like ships, come at you out of the fog - to the right, to the left and in front of you! Driving down "Camel Alley" was a challenge. John drove Sunday morning, and in the fog we missed our turn, so we four-wheeled it over sandy/dirt tracks to find a way back to our beacon of hope - the "mountain" by our stables. Out of the fog came the behemoths - the huge dirt movers and dump trucks, making their way to the mountain to dump more dirt...so we knew we were on the right track....they are like ants chugging to the anthill, one dump truck at a time, in perfect unison and perfectly spaced apart as they make their way out of the desert to the mountain.

so enough visual poetry - we got to the stables, fed and cleaned stalls, and waited for Dr. Andrew...he drew blood and I asked him if he knew where we could find some rice bran...the stable people and the local vet didn't know...and he said he would find me some and bring it when he brought the lab results back. So we (Steve and I) saddled up and went riding - John took the day off. Steve and I went for 2 hours and cantered and trotted the whole time. We had a great ride, and managed to get the camel sightings out of the way right off the bat - luckily, like in Malaysia with the monkeys, Theatric didn't bat an eye at those creatures plodding along ahead and beside him at one point...he just kept cantering away. At one point, Steve and I started singing, "Camels to the left of us, dozers to the right - stuck in the middle with you!!!" I guess you had to be there, but don't worry, we won't quit our day jobs!\\

After we got back to the stables, we hosed the boys off, and John, Steve and I turned them out with their fly masks and fly sheets on, and off we all went to Dubai to have lunch with Hassan Ben Ali - one of the trainers John used to work with. Long drive - almost 1.5 hours to get there - we headed toward Dubai, turned at the outskirts (Jambalalah) and kept going through the desert until the road stops (a lot of that happens around here) - then made a hard left and still kept driving until this oasis of training facilities appeared. Nice lunch and chat with Hassan - Becky, Steve and I left around 3:30 to head back and meet Mark Dial for dinner and the races...John stayed in Dubai to pick Troy Ball up...(we had two vehicles with us, I drove mine all the way to and back from Dubai. Hassan gave us different directions to get back to Abu Dhabi (ok, I should know better than to listen to "short cut" directions from men!) and we ended up on a Truck route that we actually had to climb up a sand dune and look for a hole in the fencing to get onto the highway! 4 WD here we come! Steve got nervous that we weren't doing it correctly, and he got out to scope out the fencing and where we should try to get onto the highway - and Becky and I kept driving until we found a hole in the fence and poof! onto the highway we roared into the middle of these massive tractor trailers...much like the ants making their way to the mountain - these trucks just plod along at 80km without pausing. Steve was up on the highway ahead of us with his thumb stuck out and Becky tried to get a picture, but we didn't get it in time before we had to make a quick grab to get him in and not lose our place in the line of trucks!

We made it back - we only had one miss-turn - those darn short cut directions told us to go until the road T'd then take a right and follow signs to the Al Wathba palace....well, we never found that T - so we took a right somewhere and ended up back where we were on Saturday for the junior races...so then I had to back track to Abu Dhabi by that stupid truck route again...we passed the hotel on right, and Steve said, "and there goes Big Ben again on the right...." - we got laughing so hard - we have no idea how we got THERE, but at least we knew where we were then....so we rushed to the stables, put the boys to bed with their food, and rushed back to the hotel to meet Mark - none of us had time to clean up or dress up for the races, but at least we had pants on (another joke we'll have to tell you about sometime) and I continued to drive, following Mark (who, by the way, was all dressed up) who not only drives like a local - he drives like a local who comes from Texas!!! can you say 100 mph and that's going slow???? anyway, we made it to the races, were allowed into the VIP area with Mark (even though we looked like a bunch of stable hands - well, maybe they thought we were grooms) and met up with Steph and John Teeter and Pam and Steve Burton and ate finger foods, drank juices and coffee (all served on silver trays and in silver pots...to the stable hands (!!!) and after we watched some spectacular Arabians running we went to dinner - at the race track restaurant, where you get race-side seating ...it's all quite nice. We got back to the hotel at 9:30, to wait for the crews - John to bring Troy from Dubain, John's parents next, then Tom, Ann, Kate and Justin at midnight. Midnight turned into 1:30 am and John, Steve and I sat/slept in the lobby chairs waiting, and waiting...and it was foggy again. They all arrived safely - tired and hungry - the pub here stays open until 2am....

so - here it is MONDAY and we have been to the stables and the boys are doing great. Everyone is running temps around 97.5 - 99.0 and eating and drinking everything in sight. Dr. Andrew dropped off our labs and they are darn near perfect...he is very pleased with how our boys shipped ....he also brought me a bag of rice bran (hurray) and the three of us went out riding to practice the water bullet hand-offs at a trot and canter....the crews had fun with that. Met up with more camels out in the desert and everyone is pretty cool with that now (all horses) - the water bottle thing is going to take another practice run....Theatric is convinced someone is trying to throw things at him, and he ducks everytime a bullet comes his way (hey - I would too if the first time I had a water bottle hit the side of my head, the second time one got wrapped in my reins and the third time the person handing off the bottle kept staring at me in the eye !!!) It actually wasn't all that bad, but it needs some improvement - we can do it at a walk, but need to get them to take the handoffs at a faster pace!

We've done lunch, taking the afternoon off to rest, and regrouping at dinner - John has left to take his mother and father to Dubai (they are staying with Hassan). Beautiful day today...about 75 degrees and sunny with a slight breeze - still running very cool at night - heavy jacket weather for both human and horse.

I'll be better with my writing tomorrow - we plan on spending the day in Dubai visiting the shops and museums - giving the boys a day off from us...I've ridden everyday we've been here, so my horse could use a day off.

Hope all is well with you all

Kathy