Epic European Adventure: By the Numbers

It’s officially the last post about our trip, so don’t worry, you’re at the end. There was A LOT that happened that I never did end up covering in the blog posts (mostly because the mobile version of WordPress SUCKS) so I figured I could hit some of the high points here.


4: countries visited – France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany.

174: kilometers per hour, our top speed on a German highway in our rented Peugeot (which was basically just a hopped up lawnmower), or about 106mph according to Google. It was exhilarating in that super terrifying “omg is the Peugeot actually airborne right now?” kind of way.

2200: kilometers traveled by car, or a bit over 1,200 miles.

8600: miles traveled by air

1: how many times we got the middle finger amid all those miles. It was from a Frenchman that drove like a douche canoe, everyone act surprised.


5: how many times we drove back and forth trying to find Emerald’s barn, since neither GPS knew whereTF it was and there was no sign or street number. You have to be an expert stalker to find that place (don’t worry, Michelle is, she whipped out the satellite view and started looking for arenas).

2: how many times we heard a very techno version of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” playing over the loudspeakers at Bucha. There was a lot of techno. And not at all censored rap. Kind of confusing.

2000: how many cows some Russian guy tried to sell us at the wine bar after he learned we were from Texas (I’m not joking or exaggerating on this one). The best part was that he only spoke Russian and a little bit of German, and I only speak English and a little bit of German, so it included a lot of pantomiming. Use your imagination.

1: hours it took for me to find, try on, and purchase my coveted brown Ego7’s at the trade fair on day one of Bucha. Look people, I don’t mess around.

2: how many Canadians literally thought I worked for a particular vendor because I really liked some reins and they happened to walk up when I was explaining to Michelle why they were so great. This is not the first time this has happened to me.

20%: how much of the German that I actually understood from the Italian guy in line behind us at Aldi. He was undeterred by my vacant nodding and just kept chattering away.

3: schnitzels consumed during our 3.5 days in Germany. By me anyway. Michelle accounts for another 3, so I guess make it 6.

2: number of Kinder Bueno’s purchased and consumed on road trips

6: number of times we said we should have bought more Kinder Bueno’s

9,983,837: number of roundabouts we went through along our 2200km journey (ok maybe this number is perhaps just slightly dramatized)

4: how many stop signs we saw during the ENTIRE trip. I’m not kidding, those people love their roundabouts and yields.

7: times that people grimaced when we said we were from Texas, and also the number of times we had to explain how far Austin and Midland are from Houston, thus why Hurricane Harvey didn’t really effect either of us.

1: how many horses we saw at Bucha that could have literally walked right into the hunter derby ring and won. It finished last in the eventing, obviously it needs a new career. Takers?

6: how many days in a row that I ate french fries and it was a totally valid life choice, stop judging me.

2: how many of my gears are still grinding. One over how amazing (and so important) their pony jumper riders and classes are, and why we can’t replicate that system here. One over the almost saddlebred tendencies of a couple of the young dressage horses, and why in the world we’re rewarding that in dressage.

16 thoughts on “Epic European Adventure: By the Numbers

  1. I agree with the pony jumpers. I have a super talented 13.3 Welsh/TB mare coming along that will never be a pony hunter, but in my area it seems all of the eventing / jumper kids want big horses. Tis a shame!


  2. Would you elaborate on your remark about saddlebreds? It sounds interesting but I’m not sure what you meant. Thanks, and also thanks for taking us along with you on your adventure.


    1. It’s a lot of knee action and soft, hyperflexed pasterns, usually without matching hock action. So the front end ends up almost looking “flingy”, with tension along the topline. Very showy, lots to look at, but I’m skeptical on the capacity for upper level dressage and the longevity of the body.


  3. Someone I interviewed – don’t remember who, but there was a level of authority – said that Europeans are importing Saddlebred stallions for the knee action. You weren’t imagining it. Although a lifelong TB fan, I do have to say that ASBs like people – even the ones who want to bite you – and LOVE to show. Dressage could use a little flair.


  4. Yes to eating French fries every day.

    No to the dressage training 😦

    Also, I agree on the ponies. It was a huge shock to me when I lived in Scotland how amazing the kids were that rode there.


  5. I think a lot about the direction of dressage too. On one hand, an expressive dressage horse is a beautiful thing. On the other hand, there’s a reason everyone isn’t running out and buying a DHH or ASB for upper level Dressage. When I first saw Zonik I thought there was no way he would be able to collect for the upper levels or would be plagued by injuries and he just made his GP debut. So I guess we will just have to wait and see how they turn out. I do fear going down the road of the halter horses in western world though…


  6. Believe me that the French aren’t the only ones who are quick to use the middle finger. I got plenty of them in downtown London trying to navigate round abouts while also trying to drive on the wrong side of the street. There are pony jumpers in the hunter/jumper shows. Watch the pony finals sometime and be amazed at those kids. The problem is that the cut off age is either 16 or 18 to ride ponies in hunter/jumper shows. Many pony stallion owners are frustrated because they require stallion riders to be over 18. Therefore the problem in getting their stallions shown in recognized pony classes.


    1. The cutoff age for pony-specific classes here is 18, which is normal. Anyone can still ride them in other non-pony specific classes. Juniors ARE allowed to show stallions, but only in the jumper classes. Our pony jumpers are very small in number (the classes often don’t make at most shows) and nowhere near the quality or depth that Europe has. Here they are low dollar, second rate citizens, an afterthought to the pony hunters. It’s so incredibly different there… just the whole system and the way they approach ponies/junior riders. I wish we could replicate it!


  7. Yes to fries everyday. Though I am surprised you liked the german ones after you started in Belgium…
    Also: Kinder Bueno? Of all products Kinder has to offer *this* is th one you liked? I guess I am too oldschool, am a big fan of the original Kinder chocolate….and I kinda loathe them since they started selling genderized Kinder Surprise Eggs.
    Yes, we love our roundabouts and also driving fast. And we can. Ha.
    I was looking forward to lots of posts regarding the different stallions and also the horses at BuCha. Would have loved to read more, personally…


  8. “One over the almost saddlebred tendencies of a couple of the young dressage horses, and why in the world we’re rewarding that in dressage.”

    a bit hearty YES!!!! to this. I see it as the Totilas legacy (oversimplified). Instead of realizing he was a freak, people are going to try to replicate it. (confession: I wasn’t a huge Totilas fan…I watched in a sort of fascinated awe…and then wondered how long it would take for some TWH blood infusion to try to replicate his freaky spider self.)


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