The big international adventure begins today. I have the privilege of riding with the legendary Walter Zettl for six days in Welland, Ontario, Canada.
I'm taking my Appendix Quarter Horse, Artful Ikon. "Ike" is a 10-year-old gelding that was an eventer and decided he wanted to become a dressage superstar.
We've been to three shows since May, and he's received reserve high point in first and second level at the first show and champion at first level at the second and third shows with scores in the 60s at second level.
My goal for the week is to improve his lateral work as well as to solidify his flying changes so that by the end of the summer I can attempt to complete my bronze medal by showing third level, test 1.
I have qualified Ike for the Region 2 Championships at first level and will start my quest to qualify him for second level in July when we attend Dressage By the Bay in Traverse City, Mich.
The road trip will start at 8:30 a.m. Four ladies from Illinois drove to my farm yesterday in two trailers, and we’ll be caravaning the whole 264 miles to Knights Gate Hanoverian Farm where we will stable our horses.
I’m also "camping" at the farm in my trailer—all the creature comforts of home right outside the barn. We’ll drive about an hour from my farm in Ortonville, Mich., to cross the border into Canada over the Blue Water Bridge. Along the way we’re meeting another trailer with two more riders and their horses, also from Michigan. The crossing will take place on the U.S. side in Port Huron and on the Canadian side in Sarnia.
In order to cross the border we have to have passports and international health papers for our horses. The health papers are only good for 30 days, so I had to wait until the beginning of June to have my veterinarian come and fill them out. He in turn sent them to the USDA office, located in Lansing, Mich., and they stamped them and sent them back. It will be interesting to see what the process is when entering Canada—do they make us pull over and check the horses or just look at the paperwork and wave us through?
More on the adventure later!