Y’all… did you know that it’s possible for one day to be 41 hours long? It’s true. That was my Tuwednesday.
After a long, busy day at work on Tuesday, I went home and packed my stuff, then went to the barn and packed Henry’s stuff. Then I spent a really long time saying bye to Presto (I MISS HIM ALREADY 😩), loaded Henry in the trailer, and drove south to rendezvous with my actual ride to Chatt. We unpacked everything from my truck, loaded it into theirs, got all the horses in, and were on our way out of Austin by 10pm, with the goal of meeting up with the rest of our caravan at 1:30am, south of Houston.
I thought maybe I’d be able to doze a bit in the car but yeah no. Apparently when you start to get old, things don’t bend the same way anymore. My back couldn’t take the weird positions that are required for car sleeping, so I didn’t get so much as even a wink.
We stopped again at 4:15 in Louisiana, at which point I took over driving from Trainer. That’s pretty close to when I normally wake up anyway, so I was starting to feel perkier right as she was starting to crash. I drove on across Louisiana through sunrise, and then bam – shredded tire. I pulled off the highway into a parking lot and trainer acted like she was auditioning for NASCAR pitcrew or something… she had that thing changed in like 10 minutes. It was quite impressive. I wish I had videoed it.
After that, everything started blurring together. The cities, the states, the hours… omg. By 11am or so I think delirium was starting to set in, but I wasn’t feeling particularly tired. It’s like my body went “well I guess sleep isn’t a thing we’re doing” and moved on to the next day. Like Europe jet lag but way more boring.
We weren’t actually going straight to Chatt since the show isn’t til this weekend. Instead we’re spending a few days at a really nice farm outside of Birmingham, so the horses can relax and enjoy some turnout after their long trip. We’ve got a covered, a dressage arena, a jumping arena, trails, and some XC jumps. The barn is GORGEOUS. And since it’s for sale, it’s currently empty, meaning we have the entire place to ourselves.
All the horses unloaded great, and after a few minutes in their stalls to settle and drink some water, we turned them out in the nice grassy paddocks. Henny took one look at that grass and was like “bye Felicia”. 14 hours in a trailer will do that, I suppose.
We got ourselves organized in the barn, and then everyone else left to go to the house they’re staying in (about half an hour away) to shower and relax for a bit. I’m staying in the apartment above the barn (because 1. I am the anti-social grump of the group, 2. I’m always up really early anyway, so it makes sense for me to stay here and feed the horses in the mornings.) which is really nice. I took a shower, sat on the couch, and immediately felt myself falling asleep. I didn’t want to nap for too long so I set an alarm on my phone for 45 minutes later, closed my eyes, and I was out like a light.
Twenty minutes in, a distant rumble jolted me out of my nap. I was so discombobulated when I woke up that it took me a minute to remember where the heck I even was, and then I heard a rumble again, but louder this time. I opened my weather app, swore loudly, and leaped for my shoes, slamming my feet into them as I took off down the stairs. Some storms had popped up out of nowhere and were coming fast.
I bolted out to the paddocks, grabbing Henry and the horse next to him. I ran back up the hill with them, threw them in their stalls, and turned to run back out. Right then the sky lit up like the 4th of July. I haven’t seen a lightning show that impressive in a long time. I stopped in my tracks. I still had 6 more horses out, but there was so much lightning that I couldn’t even find a break in it to make a mad dash.
I paced the barn aisle for a few minutes, waiting for a lull, and finally got enough of one. I sprinted like I don’t think I’ve ever sprinted before, grabbing both of Trainer’s horses and running back up the hill with them. Then I had to wait for another lull, dashing back out and grabbing the draft cross and the pony and running THEM in. Now I was sweating, soaked, and freaked out. I hate lightning. A lot.
The two horses left out were down at the bottom of the hill, sort of behind some other paddocks. I bolted down there, leaping over a fallen board and landing ankle deep in mud. When I kept running I realized I was missing a shoe. Screech to a stop. Run back. Grab shoe. Jam bare muddy foot back in and keep running. I wrangled the last two horses (who had little interest in my urgency) and dragged them up the, by now, very long never-ending hill into the barn.
My freaking god. It was like a warrior dash or spartan race or something. I was soaked, muddy, and it felt like I sprained basically everything from the waist down. I do not recommend any of this when you’re running on literally 20 minutes of sleep in the past 36+ hours.
By the time I got the horses in and settled, everyone else arrived to help. We fed, tucked the horses in, I had a very glamorous dinner of cheese and crackers, and then I basically collapsed and died.
So ya know… day 1. Never a dull moment.