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Sunday, February 14 2010
Happy Valentine's Day!! This is our 4th one in the UAE!  How strange.  Today we went to take care of the horses in the morning.  They were both doing well.  They got to spend the day out in a large paddock together.  It seemed relaxing for them and was the least they had to do since they arrived here.  We also packed all of our gear up as the horses were to ship out on Monday.

After that we headed to Sheika Madiya's barn.  It was a good thing that Jeremy had a hand drawn map in addition to a verbal explanation because we were driving on a highway type road and then had to look for a certain Kilometer marker and then hook a left handed turn, off- roading, as in deep sand, to a road that ran beneath the one we were on. It would have been really cryptic had there not been the verbal instructions.

After an hour plus drive we were there.  Madiya showed us around and we got a tour of her horses.  After this we had a wonderful lunch with her and her friend and sister.  The meal was delicious and had many traditional plates. 

When we finished eating we went to her barn and there were horses waiting, saddled and ready for us.  Eryn, Jeremy and I all rode.  Craig, Ellen and Jeremy O followed us in their crew truck .  (Jeremy O flew in after the race, as he had a different race he had to attend on Sat. as a trainer, to visit with his dad).  

The ride was really fun.  We rode in the desert and galloped along effortlessly.  It was so enjoyable.  Madiya's horses are very nicely trained, they all took their leads with ease and were very rateable.

After we were done, we visited a bit longer.  Eryn had to fly out tonight so the other car that had Ellen, Eryn, Jeremy O and Craig in it left sooner than us.  They also wanted to go to Global Village to buy some Arabian horse oil paintings. 

Jeremy and I then headed back to our barn to take care of the horses one last time before we flew home tomorrow morning.  Both horses had a great appetite and they looked happy. We drove back to the hotel and then we all had dinner.

We had a message at the hotel to call the Veterinarian.  Jeremy called him and it turns out our horses will be delayed a few days, maybe up to 15 days.  There was an error in the shipping.  Our horses shipped with the European horses and something about that was incorrect so now they are dealing with the quarantine and importing issues.  Whatever, at least the horses can rest and it isn't raining or muddy here.  They will have a groom to walk them two times a day, feed them and blanket/unblanket.  They will be fine, actually better off.

In all, it has been a great trip.  I forgot to mention that there were many curious inquiries on the Easyboot glue ons.  Many other riders had never seen such a thing and it called a lot of attention to Smitty.  Pretty cool, spreading the word on how easy it can be to go barefoot.  Also several veterinarians during the race commented on how amazing Smitty looked and they had to ask a few times if this horse had really shipped over from the USA or if was a local horse.  We assured him he was an American product:)

Until next time, which will be at the end of the month at the Sand City FEI ride in New Mexico,
Posted by: Heather AT 11:50 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, February 13 2010
Well, the USA did another great trip to the President's Cup 160 km race.  Sir Smith was the first overseas completion in a ride time of 8:50 (36 place! so fast here), and SA Belshazzar did great as well completing his first 160 km ride in a time of 9:16.  It was a great performance from both horses! 

The leaders set yet another world record.  I do not know the exact time but it was something like 6:20!!!

At the start Ellen and Zar went ahead of Smitty and disappeared into the heavy fog.  Smitty had a slow start to settle him into a calm mind set for the day.  Jeremy had to actually run a bit on foot to accomplish this.  During the first loop we were last for a long while and the police escort and the ambulance trailer were following us.  It felt a bit like buzzards circling.  The slow pace worked though.  After the first loop the pair was moving well and kept it up nicely.

Smitty was accompanied by myself and our driver, Fahad (sp?) (Fahad translates to "Tiger".)  and there was a groom who I don't know the name of, sorry.  The driver and the groom were great.  The groom would jump from the truck and run and hand Jeremy a bottle and then have a second bottle that he would run behind Smitty, while he was cantering, and he would pour water on his butt.  Very fast runner, and very fit!  This guy was one of Sheika Madiya's grooms.  Fahad was a friend of Jan Worthington's friend, Jimal.

As the loops ticked by Smitty happily galloped along.  He loves that sort of thing.  If you know Smitty you would know this.  He was truly incredible to watch. 

Smitty had the third best recoveries out of any horse that finished!  His average for the day was 2:28.  That was with galloping and having usually just me as his crew, as the other guys were parking the car while I would meet and cool Smitty.  Very amazing recoveries on Smitty today.

Smitty did an average of something close to 19 kph.  His last loop was his fastest.  We were extremely happy with him.

At one point today there was a string of camels being hearded across tha desert by people on foot.  There were soooo many of them, probably 80 or so.  It was kind of funny because the camels were just as scared of the horses as the horses were of them.  So silly.

Since the scenery was so sparse and the horses were so spread out the driver had an ongoing thing he would say and that was "How are you today?"  He would say it new at random times  with a very heavy accent and as the day grew long it got funnier and funnier.  There was another time that the Black Eyed Peas, a band that I like, came on the radio.  Fahad actually turned it up and I thought, "hey cool".  But no, then he quickly changed the station to something local and that was it.  Oh well, he was good help so I guess I didn't really care.

It was warm during the heat of the day but never sweltering.  If the wind was at your back it was the worst of it but for the most part there was at least a gentle breeze.  The OC only gave us 7 cases of water for each horse.  When we asked for more, before the ride, they said it would be enough and that there was a lot more at the venue.  We knew better.  By the second half of the ride we were begging people who had been pulled for their left over water.  We were also refilling empty bottles and recapping them.  It was what we had and it worked fine.

Following Smitty on his last loop I video recorded some of him galloping along.  I was smiling because I had done this earlier in the week and it had looked the same as when he had been fresh.  He recovered within 2 min at the finish but we let him drink before vetting him so it was recorded as 4 or so min.

After the ride Zar and Smitty ate for a short while and then went to the treatment clinic for fluids.  The horses will be shipping home in 2 days and that is not nearly enough time to recover so we thought we should help them in any way possible.  They had a few bags and then we tucked them in for the night.

Jeremy had Baskin Robbins.  Two scoops.  I had the adult size, I can handle a non-child sized ice cream for godsakes.

Well I am super tired now.  We just had dinner at the...You guessed it, the buffet.  Oh, last night they had "pineapple upside dawon cake"  Yes I said Dawon. 

Tomorrow we are going to Dubai to ride with Sheika Madiya.  Hopefully we aren't so tired that we can't enjoy it.  I also hope that the cryptic directions that we got get us there!

Good Night,
Posted by: HEATHER AT 12:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, February 12 2010
Today was the last day of waiting!  Super!!  We went out to the camel souk first thing to get fresh Alfalfa and to get a new box of carrots.  I was able to take a picture of some of the camel jockey robots, they were even wearing silks!

Jeremy and Ellen rode.  Smitty looked perfect and calm.  Zar looked wonderful as he cantered effortlessly along.  He is a very nice representation of Shagya breeding.  I took many pictures and a few video clips of him on his ride today.  After the ride we gave him a soap bath and even conditioned his tail.  He was super clean when we left for lunch. 

We were going to leave for lunch when we discovered that our car had a dead battery.  We waited a while and someone with jumper cables arrived to rescue us.  We drove back to the hotel and waited for the person to arrive to give us our 4 wheel drive crew trucks.  When the guy claimed that the trucks would run "Just as well as your cars"  I was scared.  My truck that they gave me coughed to a slow turn over start.  I quickly refused taking that one and got a new one.  I told them that I had already had my fun with my rental car.

After I ate lunch and Jeremy ate a banana we went to the Carrefour one last time.  We got a large tube of "Nappy Cream".  This is the UAE version of Desetin.  We also bought some shoes for ourselves.  Ellen and Eryn had told us about the shoes.  They were a super deal and very stylish.  This is also where I got my Baskin Robbins fix,  I had gone the whole day before without and was due.

We then went back to the barn.  We were supossed to go and vet in at 2 pm.   We arrived 5 min late and found the quarantine barn deserted!  Go figure, we have been early and waiting for everything else but this time they decided to go early!  Oh well, we hurried down the road to vet in and caught up with Zar and Ellen.  It was "No Problem" as they love to say here:)  Both horses vetted in sound and healthy.

The riders weighed in while Eryn and I led the horses back to quarantine.  Smitty finally had a number on his butt and it became clear, for the first time what we were really going to do, for sure.  He seemed happy to know the waiting would soon end.

We went back to the venue for a quick ride briefing.  This is when we got the ride program.  It had pictures (from our great photo shoot we had a few days ago) of all of the foreign riders with a little blurb about each one.  It was pretty cool.  It also had all of the loops with the distances and hold times.  We will be starting at 6 am and there are 6 loops.

We also discovered that there is a team competition.  We got set up by a German rider,  with a sheik who had two horses.  So it will be, the 2 Americans and then two UAE riders. 

Our riders are numbers: 18, Sir Smith, 118 SA Belshazzar.  I do not know our two other team horses numbers.

While we were at the venue we got to visit with Martha Mischef (SP, sorry) and Pamela Burton, fellow Americans.  It was good to see them again.

After setting up our crew area and looking at the UAE horses vetting in we went back to the barn to tuck the horses in.  They were fine, time to get back to the hotel to relax.  We did stop for gas, actually it was diesel.  Our little truck is a quad cab diesel Mitsubishi.  It is really a cool little truck.

We ate dinner, great beef medallions tonight and then we are headed to bed.  Jeremy had another banana meal.  He weighed in at 77 KG.  He was happy.  Tomorrow will be fun and Jeremy will join us at Baskin Robbins afterwards!

Posted by: Heather AT 10:07 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, February 11 2010
We went to the barn this morning for Jeremy to do a short ride.  Ellen and Eryn went for a walk as well as Jeremy Olson's dad, Craig (who arrived last night).

We worked on Smitty taking bottles from his right side as that is the side he liked less and that is the side that is easier to get to while driving and handing off.  He only held his breath a few times today, and it is really funny when he does!

After the ride Jeremy ran from the barn out for a 6 mile, give or take, run while I read my book.  Then we headed back to the hotel. 

Ellen, Eryn and Craig went to the camel souk and there was a lot more going on there than usual.  Apparently there were fancy camels wearing sparkley,  strappy things and a lot more camels were there than normal.  Maybe there had been a race?  Also, now that the law was passed to outlaw the child jockey riders there are now remote controlled, robot jockies.  The robots even twirl a whip in the home stretch!  The robots were out on tailgates being offered for sale.  They are very small and even have a head.  A bit odd.

At 1 pm I met Craig, Ellen and Eryn for lunch. Jeremy stayed in the room as he gave his buffet to Ellen and he just wanted me to bring him back a banana. 

On a side note, the other night there was an interesting soup.  If you thought the idea of child camel jockies was cruel you would love this soup.  It was called "Cream of Baby Marrow".  Where did those jockies go?

After lunch we all headed back out to the barn.  We walked Smitty and then prepared his feet for his Easyboot glue ons.  It was more difficult than at home as the sand and dust particles are very fine and there is always a breeze.  Jeremy opted to do one foot at a time.  After all four were on the vet arrived that we had requested.  We ran fluids once more to be fully hydrated for the race.  Both horses didn't mind too much.

Knowing we would be tight on time we all packed our change of clothes for the dinner party.  The party was withing walking distance from our quarantine barn.  We did drive however.  We got there around 6 pm.  We knew better than to be on time but oh well.  Around 8 pm we started to eat.

 Before the meal there was all sorts of entertainment.  There were the Soluki (I know that I just butchered the spelling on that) hounds, henna tattoo painting (which Ellen and Eryn got on their hands), camel rides, hooka, falcons and cooking of some local type pasteries.  It was pretty cool.

 There were two types of camel there.  One type was a white camel that we were told were dairy camels.  They were extremely pretty and had two adorable calves with them.   The calves coat looked like a fancy white poodle.  Super cute!  Then there were a yellow/dun colored camel.  We were told that these were race camels.  They were giving rides on the race type camel.

All of this was going on and the funny part was that there was VERY loud American music blaring in the background, Michael Jackson included!  It was surreal.  This was all outdoors at the race venue.  I did end up getting pretty cold.  Like I have said before, it is actually chilly here.  During the day it was warm but it was chilly tonight for sure.

This venue is by far the most spectacular one I have seen in the world.  It is so beautiful.  The arrival gate is all on manicured grass as well as the transition area and trot out lanes.  The entire area is lined with perfect trees and the whole thing is park-like.  Magnificent really.

Anyhow, tomorrow we will get our 4x4 crew vehicles at noon and we vet in at 2 pm.  With the Quarantine opening at 9 am and taking care of Smitty, getting back to the hotel with the 35 min drive, getting the car, having lunch, driving 35 min back then vetting in at 2pm and setting up the crew bay we should finally be busy.

I need to sleep.  I' ll let you know how it goes tomorrow.

Posted by: Heather AT 12:24 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, February 10 2010
We woke up and had breakfast as usual and then headed out to the barn.  It was another 2 hour walk morning, which is about a 6 mile deal.  Every time that Smitty has seen a camel he is convinced that we should go get a better look and tries to drag me towards them.  Well, today he had his chance.  The camels were right on the road we were on, headed straight at us.  When they were approaching he was happy, then at some point in the approaching, I guess he focused on them really well.  I think he must have realized that he needs his eyes checked because it went from a cool idea "let's say Hi"  to "let's get the hell outta here!"  In a split second.

Jeremy ran 12 miles while we walked and he went 10 min faster today then he did two days ago. 

After our walk I body clipped Smitty.  We tied him to our rental car and even hung his hay bag from the car as well.  We did this by unrolling the windows on the left side of the car and then tied him through the solid part of the doors between the two windows.  Very professional.  He stood well and now has a cool lightening bolt on his right butt cheek and he is ready to rock.

Ellyn and Eryn headed to the Carrefour and then to try to find the beach.  Unfortunately it was a fruitless mission on the beach end of things.  They were going the right way but the traffic was so bad that they wouldn't have made it to the beach and then back to the barn for the afternoon ritual.

Jeremy and I  left both horses outside and went back to the hotel for lunch, (while they were on their beach mission).  On the way we stopped for gas and of course, Baskin Robbins.  (Jeremy is still not eating ice cream!  He has lost about 22 pounds now and he will probably weigh in at 165 with his tack.)  We had to hang out, once at the hotel, for a bit as lunch doesn't begin until 1 pm. 

After eating, we went back to the barn and Jeremy and Ellyn went for a ride.  They both did a short simple ride.  Jeremy and I practiced more water bottle hand offs.  Smitty is doing pretty well at them.  He has stopped arching his ribs away from the bottles and now just gives me a nervous look or holds his breath (literally).  We will work on it more tomorrow.  He is workable at the moment, we would just like him to be really comfortable at it.

After the ride Jeremy and I ran for about 3 miles.  Then Ellyn, Eryn, Jeremy and I headed out on course in our "powerful" rental car.  We wanted to drive the Torra Borra loop.  This is the loop through the big dunes.  It is a lot like driving on a roller coaster track.  It was a bit exciting and also a bit nerve wracking as we were all hoping not to get stuck in the sand that far out on course!  We were also praying that there would not be another vehicle coming head on as we would not see it until our windshields smashed together. 

While we were on this loop we did a lot of photo-op stops.  There were a lot of camels out there, even a very cute baby one that kept galloping off.  We also came across one that was laying down and he sprang to his feet and took off bucking.  It was really funny to watch.  Another one was rolling, like a horse would.   I am not sure if it could make it all the way over or not with that hump in the way.

After Torra Borra we were really hungry, so back to the hotel.  Eryn and Ellyn were going to the airport from the barn to pick up Jeremy Olson's dad, Craig so we parted ways.

Dinner was good.  The best part tonight was the filet mignon and then the hot tapioca for dessert.  We were just about done with dinner when Ellyn and Eryn appeared.  It turns out Craig's flight was going to be much later than anticipated.  We sat with them as they ate.  After dinner we went in the jacuzzi.  The hotel had a pool but they are remodeling it at the moment.  It is ok though as it has really been too chilly to go in the pool, had it been here.  It is warming up a bit each day though.

Well tomorrow things will begin to pick up.  We are getting a walk in and a ride and then running fluids and gluing boots on, then off to the dinner party.  I am so overwhelmed with all of that!! I am totally kidding, but at least we will have something to do.

Posted by: Heather AT 10:44 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, February 09 2010
I failed to tell you about the crazy motorcycle drivers last night.  We were coming back from town and needed gas really badly.  We were on a failing search for gas and we had given up and were heading back to the hotel when we just barely noticed in time two motorcycles, in the dark, without headlights, driving at us head on.  I don't know if this is some psychotic type of training or what but they kept almost getting killed!  The worst part was that when we went around a few more roundabouts they were once again in front of us heading at us from out of the darkness head on!  Crazy.  This is when Ellen said half way jokingly that they were after their families blood money.  She went on to explain that if you kill a person in an accident you then owe that person's family $250,000 for their loss!

Any how, we had breakfast early to make it for our 8 am photo shoot.  This morning there were amazing chocolate croissants that I now knew were fresh which made them even more amazing! 

When we got to the barn we got the horses dolled up and saddled and went to exit the quarantine compound when our guard told us we couldn't leave until 9 am.  We told him about the notice that we had received in our hotel rooms the day before and he proceeded to tell us that it was wrong because he hadn't received any "orders".  We told him that every rider had gotten this info and to notice the other quarantine compounds that were bustling with activity getting ready as well.  This was unusually early for the entire foreign population to arrive all simultaneously.  This got the guy thinking and he made a few phone calls.  Before we knew it the photographer decided that he had waited long enough up at the main venue and he showed up near the barns and the steward decided to let us take the horses out.

After the photo shoot Ellen rode and Jeremy and I walked Smitty.  When we were done with the morning activities we all left the barn together as we were going to follow Ellen to the gas station to make sure she didn't run out on the way there.  She made it.  We checked out a lot of camels today during this part of the drive.  It was very serious business.  I guess it was the time of day to groom and assess legs, diet, etc.  It looked all too familiar, just a different animal.  We headed back to the hotel and I read my book (which is now a finished book.)
Apparently Ellen and Erin were taking pictures of camels on their way back to the hotel and when all of the camel guys saw them they waved them over.  The guys insisted that they get on the camel for a picture and proceeded to take turns taking pictures with the two girls!  Very funny.

I ate lunch alone today as Jeremy is still on his diet.  It was good as usual.  After lunch we went back to the barn (a 30 min drive each way).  This time Jeremy and Ellen rode.  Erin and I drove seperately as the horses were doing different rides today.  I practiced handing bottles to Jeremy.  It was a short ride.  On the way back Smitty galloped up a hill that goes to the barn.  I was doing a video clip of it and was trying to get closer to get Smitty and Jeremy in the frame better.  My car was not a good "hill" car and couldn't catch Smitty!  Stupid 4 cylinder, maybe 2! 

After the ride we went for a 35 min run.  I was totally parched by the end of this small run.  It is really dry here.  It has also been really cool, almost chilly at times during the day.  I have actually been wearing a light jacket at times throughout the day.

I forgot to tell you that all of us, at some point on this trip, have been trapped in a bathroom.  It happened to me yesterday.  I was at the barn and couldn't get out.  I called for Jeremy and he told me that the key needs to be turned EXTRA hard to release the lock.  I escaped unharmed.  That is when I found out about the others having the same problem.  Jeremy got locked in the bathroom at the hotel.  Apparently there is a release button on the door knob that if you don't know about it, you don't get out!

After we were done at the barn for the day we drove back to the hotel, stopping at Baskin Robbins of course.  I had the Hokey Pokey this time.  It was super.  I did notice the scoops being small the day before and today I saw why.  I was being served a child's size.  I was offended that he didn't think I could handle an adult size!  Maybe tomorrow I will show that guy!

Tonight Ellen, Erin, Jeremy and I ate dinner together again.  It was really fun.  There weren't any crazy colored foods today though...darn.  I take that back, I did try a very bright green Baklava.  It was not to my liking, it was a bit too "Superfood" tasting for me.

I was excited to see American Idol here tonight.  I am silly about that.  I am also working on getting hot water in our hotel room.  Luke warm is just not doing it for me.  I hope to get this resolved VERY soon.  Alright, I am off to bed.  Tomorrow will bring new fun and then Thursday things will start getting exciting finally!
Posted by: Heather Reynolds AT 11:03 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, February 08 2010
I forgot to mention that we went to the camel souk (market) yesterday to get carrots for Smitty.  On the way there you can literally see 100's of camels that are in race training being ponied all over the place.  We also went to a nearby stand that sells fresh cut Lucerne (alfalfa).  It is super fresh, as in looking like fresh cut grass.  Smitty likes it, he gets a handful each day.

At some point late in the night, like 12 am, we got a delivery at our room from the OC.  It was a hat and jacket that had the race logo on it.  I saw them when I woke up as I slept through the delivery!  The jackets and hats were the right size and looked really cool.  We also had a dinner party invite attached to this package.  The party will be on Thursday night at he Endurance Village.

This morning we woke up and had the buffet as usual.  I did hear the main Chef coaching one of his guys on how the pastries could be rounder, etc.  I then realized that all of the beautiful pasteries we made fresh, right here.  This inspired me to try an almond and powdered sugar covered croissant.  Awesome! 

Then we drove to the barn.  I cleaned Smitty's stall and then we all went for a two hour walk.  Jeremy went for a twelve mile run while we were walking.   When we were done taking care of the horses we were able to leave them in outdoor paddocks for the afternoon.  They liked that as they had unlimited rolling time.

We were all itching for ice cream so we headed straight to Baskin Robbins from the barn.  I must say that Jeremy has amazing will power when he decides to diet. He watched us eat our ice cream.  I had "Love Potion 31", a Valentine's Day special flavor.  It is a flavor that Megan Doyle hooked me on a few years back.  It was great.  They also had a flavor that I have never seen before called Hokey Pokey.  I hope to find it in the States.  It was ice cream with honeycomb pieces in it as well as something else, maybe caramel, I don't recall.

We went back to the hotel and read our books and then had lunch.  I was getting my food from the buffet (all meals are buffet style at the hotel) when all of the sudden I noticed that on one of the serving spoons there had a hot pink substance on it.  I couldn't resist, I had to see what it was.  I read the label on the display and it said it was potatoes.  Well shoot, how could you go wrong with hot pink potatoes?  Two great things combined, I had to try them.  Surprisingly they tasted like normal mashed potatoes!!  They must have had beets in them to make that color but you couldn't taste anything abnormal.  Very cool, I might need to try making hot pink mashed potatoes next Thanksgiving!  I also saw miniature hard boiled eggs.  They must have been quail eggs or something.  They were at the salad bar.  I guess it is like having cherry tomatoes on your salad.

In the afternoon we went to the barn.  I saddled Smitty and Jeremy went for an hour ride while Ellen, Erin and I walked Zar for two more hours.  All of this walking was helping us with our three buffet a day schedule.

After this we headed to the Carrefour.  The equivalent to Walmart.  We bought any race food we thought we may need and looked at the interesting things available.  There was a stand that made crepe covered hot dogs.  Sort of like a corn dog but with crepe instead of cornbread.  Interesting.  There were also enormous amounts of grains and spices that were in bulk bins.  Us girls were all dying for a Coke too so we took care of that.  When we were in line there was a woman in front of us that unloaded most of her groceries onto the conveyor belt and then walked off to continue shopping.  She returned, very much at her leisure and then proceeded to take forever to count her money (she actually couldn't count it) while talking on her cell phone.  Very strange.  Totally oblivious to the world. 

After the Carrefour we headed back to the hotel.  It was now past 7 pm.  We all unloaded our stuff and met back for dinner.

I am not sure that I mentioned before that Ellen and Erin are identical twins.  What are the odds that the two USA riders that got invited to ride here would both have identical twins?

Ellen, Erin, Jeremy and I had great, and at times very funny conversations at dinner and then, after a long while, parted ways to head to bed.  I am in the lobby right now as it is the only place to get free wifi.  I need to go to bed as we have an 8 am photo shoot for the two horse and rider combos for the race program picture.

Did I mention it is a bit chilly and windy during the day?  It is supposed to change to nice sweltering heat just in time for the race though.

Posted by: Heather AT 12:28 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Sunday, February 07 2010
Well let's see here, my flight was absurdly long.  I started out flying from San Jose to Denver.  This really doesn't get you closer to the UAE.  I made the mistake of mentioning the San Jose airport and I think that organizer thought they were doing me a favor by flying me from there versus San Francisco.  So instead of me driving 45 min to San Fran, I flew 2 1/2  hours to Denver and then had a 3 hour lay over to fly to Europe.  I walked around Denver switched my watch by an hour and had a salad.  This added 5 hours to my lovely trip.  Then I got on my flight to Frankfurt.  This was a 10:35 flight.  I switched my watch by 8 hours and walked around all of the Duty Free shopping there was to see and waited out my 3 hour lay over.  Then I boarded my final leg to Dubai.  This was a 5:55 flight.  I changed my watch by 3 more hours and was there.  I landed at 11:55 pm.  I took off on the 5th of Feb at 11 am and landed the 6th at 11:55 pm.  Very cool time warp. 

Once I was through passport control, which took about an hour, I went to baggage.  After finding my bags, which were the last two to appear (at least they appeared though, right?) I went out to look for a person holding my name on a sign.  I looked and then looked and then realized there wasn't a sign...shit.  I had emailed the person in charge of our travel arrangements 5 times leading up to this trip to get the hotel info and never had gotten any data.  Luckily at one point Jeremy had mentioned the hotel name to me and I was familiar with the hotel from a previous trip.  I called the hotel to see what was happening and they informed me that I should take a cab and that it would be paid by the hotel.  Cool.  I quickly got into a cab.  It was now past 1 am.

I told the cab where to go and he drove off with certainty, for about an hour.  Then he asked me where we were going.  I wanted to kill him.  He was very cheerful and I was very tired.  I told him again and he said he would call a friend to get directions.  I was thinking, why not call the hotel?  Or better yet why not enter the address into the shiney new GPS that he had?  We drove for a long time.  He pulled over three times and flagged down random drivers to ask if they knew where the hotel was.  Very disturbing at this hour.

I finally made it to the hotel after 2:30 am.  The trip wasn't long until I landed!  To think that they could have flown me into Abu Dhabi, which is 15 min from the hotel, but that would have ruined the fun. Oh and I wasn't the only one having fun, poor Erin Rapp got to the hotel after 5:30 am from Dubai as well!

Jeremy ran this morning while I walked Smitty.  I really thought that I would soak in the warm sun here, it rained today!!  We saw two cars with broken axles from sliding out and hitting curbs!

After lunch we went back to the barn (the barn is open for certain hours in the am, then closes and reopens in the afternoon.) and Jeremy and Ellen rode.  Erin and I practiced handing off bottles to them.  The hardest part was chasing down the bottle after the hand off as the wind was so strong.  We ran around after bottles laughing.  This is an extremely funny process if you haven't slept!

We went to the hotel and went in the Very hot, hot tub and then waited for dinner.  Ellen, Erin, Jeremy and I ate (well, sort of, Jeremy is slimming down to be closer to the 165 weight minimum and he has lost about 15 pounds since arriving here, so he didn't eat much) and now it is time for sleep.

Posted by: Heather AT 10:56 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, February 05 2010
So it is, that we are once again on our way to the President's Cup.  Jeremy and Sir Smith left on Jan 28th.  I drove them and the other USA horse SA Belshazaar (SP?) aka Zar as well. 

We left at 1 am Thursday morning to get to LAX by 8 am.  Zar had been with us for a couple of days so he made the trip down with us as his owners, Jeremy Olson and Ellen Rapp, are currently living in Qatar training endurance horses.

The horses both traveled well and made it, with a very tired Jeremy, to Amsterdam.  The horses stayed at the horse hotel on the out skirts of Amsterdam.  They had a 3 day wait there before they would ship to another airport some where in the NL to get on to a private charter with the other foreign horses to continue on to the UAE.  It was snowing in Amsterdam so Jeremy could only ride them in the indoor arena.  Poor Jeremy was all alone there with out any other US rider for company.

Jeremy flew to the UAE on Jan 31.  The horses left the horse hotel on the 31st and stayed god knows where before they were to fly out on the 1st.  Jeremy was waiting in the UAE for the horses arrival and came to find out that one of the foreign horses had bad paperwork and that delayed the whole load by a day and a half!!  When Smitty did arrive he was very sucked up and extremely thirsty.  He drank two five gallon buckets with ease.  Bummer!!  Jeremy had fluids run on both USA horses.

Smitty and Zar are doing great.  They have both been ridden and have had blood work done and they look fine.  Ellen and Jeremy R. are doing well too. 

It is a bit odd but for some reason our horses are in Quarantine with the European horses this time.  When the riders want to ride they are all supposed to go out as one group, that is all European horses and USA horses.  They  are all to agree on a pace, distance etc.  As you can imagine that is not happening.  Jeremy said that the quarantine supervisors that follow the riders have been yelling at the riders and the riders are "deaf" to it.  Can you blame them?
Any how, I am on my lay over and I need to get going.  I will try to keep this as current as possible.
Posted by: Heather AT 05:18 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

Reynolds Racing
Dunnellon, FL 34431
 Heather: 408-687-7082
Jeremy: 408-687-7083

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