It’s officially official – myself and the horses are Florida residents!
We left Texas last Wednesday, overnighting in Pensacola, and arriving in Ocala on Thursday afternoon. It worked out really well that the barn owner in Texas, Rejan (who is also moving full-time to her Florida property down near Wellington) had a 4 horse trailer and only one horse to bring down with her. Their trailer is a nice big airy insulated head to head complete with fans and all the horsey comforts, so my 3 kiddos were able to ride in luxury with hay and water in front of them at all times. It was probably the best any of them have ever traveled.
I drove my truck and trailer behind them, so we had a little caravan going. My poor truck and trailer were crammed full of STUFF – mostly t!ny h0use accoutrements (like the stairs, tank, etc), all our tack, various farm equipment, some trunks, etc. My Titan has been a loyal servant the entire time I’ve owned it but let’s be real, she is 11 years old and has 161k miles on her at this point. She doesn’t really tow over these long distances as well as she used to, at least not when she’s fully loaded down like that. True to form though she did her level best, and she got us through… it was the trailer that caused us issues.
The trouble started pretty early on when we were at our first gas stop on the far side of Houston. I thought one of the tires looked a bit low (I had checked them all the day before) so I drove around to the air thingy to check it. When I stopped over there I could see a spot on the tire that was a blowout waiting to happen, so we changed that tire out to the spare. We almost made it the rest of the day without any further drama, but then when we only had about an hour to go until our layover, that spare tire blew out in the middle of nowhere Mississippi. It was just too old – I should have replaced it before the trip but didn’t even think about in with everything else going on. We called ahead to the trailer with the horses to let them know, and together we limped to the next exit and off the interstate.
We made a plan to send Hillary and the BO’s husband Justin with my trailer to a tire place a few miles away that (very luckily) was still open and had a couple tires that would work. We slapped the previous about-to-blow-but-hasn’t-yet tire back on and away they crawled. The BO and I went on ahead with the horses, crossing through the tip of Alabama and into Florida. We split up that way because my name was on all the health paperwork for the horses, so I had to be there with them at the ag stop in Florida. We got through the ag stop quickly and made it to our layover in Pensacola just after dark. The horses had ended up spending about 12 hours on the trailer, but all of them came off looking bright and happy and hydrated.
In the meantime, Hillary and Justin took my card and got two new tires for my trailer. It was honestly pretty lucky that the whole fiasco happened when and where it did… at least there was a tire place not too far away and they were still open. They were able to get it in and get the new tires on it quickly, so Hillary and Justin were only about 30 minutes behind us by the time we’d done the ag stop.
We got the horses unloaded in Pensacola, bedded down, fed, the trailer cleaned out and prepped for the next day, and then headed to the hotel. By that point it was 10pm so we pretty much just showered and passed out. We were back in the truck at 6:30 the next morning to go feed and hook back up, then make our way to Ocala. Rejan and Justin were going to drop my 3 off and then proceed the other 3-4 hours down to Wellington with Quinnie. We knew she wouldn’t be very happy to be left in the trailer alone so we planned a very quick unloading… essentially we just dropped the ramp, took my 3 out, closed the ramp, and away they went. Quinnie is nothing if not intelligent with an excellent sense of self-preservation, so she quickly settled down and rode the rest of the way just fine solo.
As for my 3, they were VERY HAPPY to be out of the trailer after 2 days of driving.
They were a little pissed at being separated into individual turnouts, but sorry kids, thems the breaks. Henry is way too mean to Presto and Presto drives Gemma nuts and Gemma makes Henry clingy, so… that’s just how it is. Quinnie was the only thing that made that group dynamic work. It’s fine though, because their paddocks aren’t really big enough (or are so shady that the grass isn’t quite as lush) to support multiple horses on them without murdering the grass. This way is better for everyone.
After a few gleeful minutes of galloping they all settled down fine, and we made sure all 3 of them knew and understood their waterers.
Then Hillary and I had some quick errands to run before stuff started to close for the day. We went to the feed store to get hay and grain since mine eat different stuff than what the racehorses get. We also picked up a few little things for the tack room and house, hit Horse & Hounds for dinner, and then stopped at Publix to pick up some groceries.
That takes us up through last Thursday, arrival day! We made it, the horses made it… everything is now officially here in Florida. As for everything else that’s been going on since then, that’s a story for another day.