It has been probably the longest day of my life. And not in a good way.
It all started off perfect. Little Love loaded (you should have seen the look on Jean-Claude's face when I just let her lose and she walked in :-) she traveled well despite the fact that Jean-Claude, the driver, was definitely driving too fast (I told him to slow down at least 4 times in the first five minutes...). Luckily most of the trip was on freeway...
Then we got to the Swiss German border and things started happening. Turned out, despite all my efforts, I did NOT have the right papers. Now this is not about the vet papers, nobody cared about those, nor did they care about the horse. I could have had five goats in the trailer all they cared. This was about the Swiss customs and letting me leave the country with my horse. Apparently you don't just leave; they make you pay through the nose and then leave. I had called them, I had had my friend call them, I had printed out the papers and filled them out, I had researched the internet. But somehow it still was not right. They actually LAUGHED at me for trying to do it on my own. It looks like this is a company that has a monopoly on doing the paperwork and if you don't do it through them, your screwed.
An hour and fifteen minutes later (no, I'm not kidding) I finally had the right document in my hand, was 440 Swiss francs poorer and nearly crying from frustration. Swiss people have never been known for their kindness towards foreigners but this topped every experience I have ever had concerning rudeness. The woman working my case made her point by moving as slowly as she could. She literally (and I'm not making this up) typed my name into the system, then she leaned back in her chair, opened her desk drawer, pulled out a half eaten candy bar, slowly ate it, got up from her chair, walked over to the garbage bin, threw in the wrapper (dramatically, mind you), slowly slid back into her chair, sighed and typed in my address.
Now multiply that behavior by about a hundred. She sipped her coke. she ate candy, she talked on the phone four separate times, went to the bathroom and finally, when we were down at the GErman customs, left me there "just for five minutes" so she could walk over the street to get lunch at McDonalds. By the time she was done I was shaking from trying to hold back my rage knowing that Little Love was standing in the trailer this whole time. The fact that JEan-Claude hadn't called me on my cell phone gave me some consolation that perhaps she hadn't kicked down the door or broken her leg.
German customs took all of five minutes. They didn't care about the vet papers either. Why did I even botther getting them? I rushed out of the building into the sunshine to discover my horse standing totally calm in the trailer, like there wasn't a worry in the world. She looked at me through the crack in the window and her eyes were calm and trusting. I was so proud of her. I shoved a carrot through the crack and she took it with her lips.
Fifteen minutes and more of JEan-Claude's awful driving we were in France at the barn. Little Love came out of the trailer a picture of calmness. She went into a stall where she started eating. Then she told me about the dirty automatic water trough and once I cleaned it out, she drank readily. I took her out for a walk and let her graze for an hour, then took her into the arena for a roll. Perfect. At least my horse was calm.
Because about three hourse later, shit hit the fan - big time. The German transport guy didn't show up. My husband and son and two dogs showed up though, bless their hearts, all packed and ready to start the journey. Finally I managed to find the barn owner who called the German transporter, who informed him that he wasn't coming until TOMORROW evening. What? And then it would take him at least two days to get Little Love to Northern Germany because of all these other horses he had to take first. Talk about a feeling of panic. All our hotel reservations, plans etc. just went to hell. Not to mention Little Love's ride to Finland... I called the Finnish transporter and he said she needed to be at his barn in Germany tomorrow evening or she missed the ride. SHIT. SHIT. SHIT.
I got a number to a woman with a truck. She couldn't do it until Saturday. Another person volunteered for Friday night, but that was still too late. Some lady gave us directions to another barn where we met a really nice woman who gave me another contact, but he couldn't do it until Saturday either (she found us a hotel though!). I called my German speaking friend and she was shocked (and pissed off) She called the German transporter and he said he had had to stop for 16 hours because of the heat in Spain. Hello? Could have let me f**king know about that!!! So, here I am, no ride to Northern Germany and soon no ride from there on after either. The worst part was that I have paid in advance (480 euro) and when my German speaking friend asked about getting my money back THE GUY HUNG UP ON HER. Ok, sounds like I'm done with this guy. So, I'll loose the money, but I don't think I want to trust my horse with him.
Of course, at this point I wanted to kick myself. SInce Little Love was so good in the trailer, we could have totally driven in it all the way up to Northern Germany. Had I know that the German guy was coming late, I would have gone for it there and then. But I didn't know that. So, what to do?
I called the Finnish guy back. He said he might have room in his truck going up on Monday. Then I called back this one lady I had talked to who has a two horse truck. She sounded so professional on the phone the first time around that I had a good feeling about her. I asked her if she was still available on Saturday. She said yes. So, I booked her. It will cost me another 1000 euro, but at this point I don't care. The Finnish guy said not to worry about Little Love, they will take care of her at the barn after I have to leave, even if she doesn't fit onto the Monday truck. They'll put her out, feed her, whatever. I do trust him, he sounds like someone with a brain. Now that we'll be going up on Saturday, I'll be able to be there until Sunday morning with her. Unfortunately tomorrow when the German transporter arrives, I'll have to deal with him with my bad German. Mainly I have to make sure he understand that I DO NOT WANT him to take my horse anywhere.
Can you imaging how tired I am right now? There are no words to describe my exhaustion. The only really good thing about this day is Little Love. She has been AMAZING. So calm, so collected, so trusting. I hope this continues on Saturday morning when she has to get on the transport on her own. Don't know if she has ever been in one of those small trucks, but I guess there is a first time for everything. In any case, we will get her on, one way or another. But now, my dear readers, I have to go to bed before I completely lose it. Thank you for your manifesting, obviously Little Love is listening to all of it, even if the rest of the universe around us is not!