Monday 9 October 2017

Safe and Sound

Despite my attempts to be in Ireland to settle her back into life at "home"; it wasn't to be and Kika & I were like ships passing in the night. Sadly i had to leave the yard at 10am this morning to make my Flight back to Lux and she arrived about 3pm.

Thankfully despite her delays en route, they really were in her best interest and despite a little sweating on arrival and a bit of a rub behind where she obviously sat back while on the truck she arrived in fine form.

Now to try to organise to get myself back again asap so I can see her for myself and have a spin or two before coming back to "real life".

Friday 6 October 2017

En Route

I have had word from the transporters that Kika is travelling well and they are taking their time with her as they noticed she isn't keen on urinating while in transit. So her journey is taking a little longer than initially estimated, as she handles slightly shorter trips better than spending too much time on the road.

She spent Tuesday night in the Netherlands, then crossed to the UK on Wednesday where she has been since. She will cross to Ireland tomorrow morning and then come down to her final stop on Sunday. A little unfortunate from my perspective as I have to fly back on Monday to return to work on Tuesday. However if she arrives in good nick I will be so happy and not care about the slight delay. 

I have been distracting myself with the cuties shared in this post. My aunt has 8 foals in for sales prep, so I've been helping walk them, groom them and clean the stables arc. So no time to be worried, all the fresh air is keeping me out of mischief as I wait for Lady Trouble 🤗

Tuesday 3 October 2017

On the road again

Oops I now have Donkey from Shrek singing that song in my head now as I write this post

My dear Miss Kika headed off on her adventure this morning. Collection was pushed back from 8am to 9am due to bad weather en route - but it was actually closer to 9h30 when the mahoosive truck pulled up.
When they informed me last night that they were coming in an 18-horse truck i started to low-key freak out as to how on earth they were going to turn or even find a loading area for such a large truck around our yard.

I was nervous about how she would load as not only had she only left the yard twice in the 7 years she had been here. With her last off property adventure being back in 2013!
The only other time she had been on such a large vehicle, she had not initially gone on all that willingly. Apparently when she left my aunts yard in 2010, she didn't do so without making an impression. Just as she was being lead towards or on to the ramp (I'm not 100% as I wasn't there, have only been told the story), Miss decided she wasn't going. She got away and hightailed it back up the drive before jumping a closed gate and knocking a bit off it 😅
Needless to say she was caught and got on the truck at the second attempt - but this may have been playing on my mind as I prepared to load up.

They very cleverly to my mind reversed into the entrance and parked on a slight slope which thanks to having air suspension in the truck they could stabilise and level it off so that the ramp up was considerably less steep than it might otherwise have been.
Clever and all as the truck itself is and the amazing driving capabilities of the drivers to get the beast of a machine into such a position. My unease around loading was further impacted by the fact that not only did I have to lead Kika past the flapping leftover tents that hadn't yet been put away after Sunday's competition at the yard; but the field across the road is where she had spent her spring & summer and wouldn't you know that we had an audience of very interested parties the form of Nancy, O & F - the three amigos.

Taken after I gave them each an
 "I'm sorry for sending your friend
& fearless leader away"
Once again Kika completely bowled me over with her handling of the situation. She got a little antsy as we approached the flapping tents. But as we stood waiting for the truck to get into position (how I got the pic) she settled right down when I chatted to her and patted her neck. She alternated between keenly watching the truck, looking across the street at her buddies and when she relaxed mouthing the top of the whip (i had it in case a bit of coaxing would be required).
I was pleasantly surprised when she resisted the urge to scream in my ear, thankfully she mustn't be in season as when she is there is definite screeching.

My mama came to say cheerio
and wish her ladyship safe travels
Kika floored me with her trust. The driver and handler offered to load her if I wanted. I said I'd try first as she knows me but if it got hairy I would gladly hand her over to the professionals. I needn't have worried, she walked to about a stride away from the ramp and stopped to gawk. I gave her a pat and told her to take her time to suss it out. She took a step forward on her own, curiosity winning out and raised a foot to test the ramp. She put her foot back down but didn't back up. When I praised her and asked her to come forward with me she meekly walked up the ramp with me 😍🦄😍

Having her first and last gawk
out the window this morning 

I could not be happier with her or the transporter who not only remembered me from having delivered Nancy 4 years ago. But he also recalled (unprompted) the conversation we'd had about my other horse (Kika) who hadn't travelled well with another company - he brought it up and made the connection himself so knew to keep a close eye on her water consumption. I also gave them the bottle of electrolytes in case she needs coaxing to drink.

On her way
Any outstanding nerves I may have had about her travels had been lessened by my experiences and I cannot wait to see her when she arrives in Ireland. Now to figure out what clothes I can bring based around fitting a saddle pad & my helmet into my carry on luggage 😊
I may also be bringing my Ogilvy pad and will attempt to convince anyone who may ask that it is a new fangled neck rest and all the rage dahlin'
I have washed the cover - fear not 👍

So far thankfully Nancy hasn't seemed particularly upset, but perhaps she thinks Kika is being kept in a couple days like she was earlier in the summer when she was injured.

She is such a cutie pie

I will keep you posted via insta (@lyssatra) and here when i know more. The tranporters this morning said it would be Friday or Saturday at the latest when Kika will arrive back to her Co. Cork home.

Monday 2 October 2017

Ready for Road

Apologies all for the radio silence, it has been  a very quiet summer for me horsewise. I had a couple hacks in the woods with Nancy, PL still comes three times a week so no fear of Nancy chunking out.

Taken Sunday before we went hacking in the woods

Kika however is a different story *sigh*
She got injured after a kick in the field in early June, just before I had to go to Ireland for a wedding. Which resulted in the largest (knock-on-wood) vet bill to date as where she got kicked on her back leg was at an awkward angle and required her wound cleaned and bandage changed every 2 days. The positioning of the cut meant it was a two people job as cow kicks were possible if too ouchy, so the vet came every two days and Kika's adoptive mama, L (the girl who valiantly helped me through Kika's rearing tantrums back in the day), very kindly looked after Miss Kika while I was in Ireland for 10 days.

Taken this evening
Finally got my autumn leaves snapshots that I've been meaning to take since she arrived in 2010
Needless to say after that she took a bit of time to come right, and indeed possibly longer as weather and or owner laziness kept hampering her getting back to fitness progress. There was one memorable evening where she hopped around on her hind legs like a kangaroo and squealed for no apparent reason at the time, however later that evening a massive thunderstorm rolled in so as always she was ahead of the curve.

Cheeky Chiquita
Other than a couple spins after the clinic (Eurgh I still haven't posted about lessons 3 & 4 yet #bloggerfail) at the end of May and one bareback spin of a few strides back to the field post lunging one evening. K did sweet FA for the summer only get chunky as you'll see from the photos in this post. She has been practising as tomorrow she will make the return trip back to Ireland and next spring she will hopefully be visiting this boy for a baby-Kika in 2019 🤞

West Coast Cavalier 

I've been toying with the idea of breeding from Kika for years as she has a nice mix of continental and good Irish lines, alright confirmation imo & a great maternal instinct if the way she obsesseses over foals/yearlings/animals that are smaller than her, is anything to go by. When she was younger, in the early days of our partnership, pre-blogging days and we both still lived in Ireland. I'd often catch her standing on the bank that divided her field with all her buddies and the neighbouring field which on these occasions had foals, weanlings or yearlings in them and she used to spend hours on the bank engrossed in what they were up to. Never dared tackle the electric fence keeping them apart, which says something in and of itself for any long time follower of this blog knows only too well her Houdini qualities...late night trip to Pizza Hut anyone?

Such a chunky monkey - but tbh I'm glad she's travelling a little heavy as hopefully she won't arrive skeletal
PS - cleaned up her mane & tail after these were taken

She will officially be 14 in January and not getting any younger. This combined with our loss of the winter turnout and my inability to get consistent saddle time helped me to decide to bite the bullet and look into sending her home. I didn't want to mention it on here till all the plans were in place in case I jinxed things. But boy have they snowballed.

A few months back I floated the idea of breeding her to my aunt (who bred Nancy and runs a foaling unit on the family farm) asking if she could recommend/keep her ears out for recommendations of stallions producing animals with great brains that could add little height to Kika's 165cms. Initially she suggested going down an Irish Draught route, which will be my back-up plan for foal #2. But then she mentioned the above boy who she had come across after a TB mare she bought with a foal of his at foot turned out to be a cracker and sold as a 2year old from the field for €3,600 (a return on a €500 stud fee).

So glad to capture her soft eye
vs mischevious glint 

So my plan at the moment, all going well with Kika's journey home will be to breed Kika, hopefully to WCC in spring 2018 pending my actually seeing him in person and meeting some of his youngsters. I have been shamelessly stalking the studs facebook page for updates and drooling over all the pics they share.
All going well with her taking and foaling in 2019, i'd like to cross her with a draught or friesian next as a back up in case the first foal ends up a little hotter than what I'd be hoping to bring back to Lux as my next riding horse in 4 or 5 years time!
The hope would then be to sell whichever one doesn't suit my needs when the time comes - but those are all hypotheticals considering she hasn't even left Lux yet which brings me back to the snowball effect.

I knew that Kika should be back in Ireland before spring next year to give her the best chance of recovering from the journey and adjusting back to life in Ireland before visiting a potential bf. However, it didn't make much sense to pay the increased winter livery here, not truly knowing how she would adjust to no longer being able to go out for the afternoons and then having her travel during the riskier months of Jan-April when the weather would be worse and sea crossings choppier. To get from here to Ireland, she has to make 2 sea crossings. 1) to get from mainland to UK and 2) to get from UK to Ireland.
So I made the tough decision to send her back before November 1st, when the summer 24/7 turnout ends at my yard. As per the livery contract I signed with the yard owners I have to give 2 months notice which I did at the start of September and hoped to move Kika at the end of October so Nancy would go straight into her new stable (she's moving boxes to a brighter area of the yard near her current field buddies) and hopefully not suffer Kika's sudden disappearance (in horsey terms) as she'd be distracted by new surroundings and window box out which she can watch the world go by.

Eagle Eyed
However when travelling by shared load, beggars can't be choosers on the travel dates and when the wonderful transporter who brought Nancy to me a number of years back said they'd be passing through Lux from Switzerland and could collect her en route i lept at the chance to send her with someone I have worked with before and took great care of Nancy.
I got confirmation Sunday night at 10pm that Kika could be collected first thing Tuesday morning. Cue excitement and panic at having nothing truly ready to go, not really the horse nor her belongings. After a fitful night of attempting to sleep, but getting up to gather the things I'd need by the front door and making a list of all the things I had to do today. I managed to miraculously tick everything off my list from booking my own flights & car rental to be back in Ireland to meet her and hopefully ease any disorientation; to buying electrolytes on my lunch break in the hopes of staving off a repeat of the dehydration scare she gave me after her trip over; cleaning Kika herself up, pulling her mane, trimming her tail; cleaning 2 saddles and her bridle and bagging her turnout rug and liner, plus tagging everything with the key rings with my name and her destination address that I put together at 3am last night/this morning lest i forget/not get time today and actually lunging and riding her for the last time in Lux despite not having properly ridden her since May! She was an absolute legend this evening, I now cannot wait to climb back aboard when she gets to Ireland and re-acclimatise her to her old home.

Not to be forgotten or outdone
Nancys look of Eagles...
or as close as her gentle soul gets 

It has been a busy 24hours and I will have a nervy start to my day tomorrow hoping and praying she loads without issue despite not having left the property since we went to the beach (plus next two posts chronicle ourtime @beach) in 2013 - no time for practice run. Also means there is no time for panic to set in to derail me. I'll have a nervy wait while she spends tomorrow evening in the Netherlands, before staying in the UK on Wednesday night then hopefully heading back to Ireland on Thursday.
I fly out Wednesday and have been blessed to be able to take until Monday to stay and help out around the yard (they are up to their eyes with TB sales prep so hopefully I can snag some pics of the babas) and settle her back into life in Ireland.

Last photo of them together that I love as it sums them up perfectly and my inability to hold their focus or get far enough away to snap the cute pic they made just before this :-)

I hope to get back at least once a month to visit her (and my family obvs) and ride from time to time. I am not 100% ruling out someone there riding her in my absence, but will be vetting and checking up on those who wish to very carefully. It has been a long road with my special little snowflake - we are in a good place now where I can leave her almost feral for the summer and hop up without issue after a couple spaced out lunging sessions which bar tonight in her tack were all done in a headcollar! No lunging aids to get her brain back in...i am so glad that she will be on full turnout during the day when she gets back to Ireland.

Last photo perfectly captured by
 her adoptive mama L as she said goodbye for now
The only doenside to Kika's sudden impending departure is I am going to wind up paying the livery for her here and in Ireland simultaneously. I'm pretty sure the above picture sums up her thoughts on that matter.
Oh wells, the peace of mind knowing she is travelling with a company I have used before and got great en route updates from while Nancy was making the trip. Paying two field liveries for a month really is a small price to pay.