Week 14 of our adventure
Sunday morning we were up early, to get the last few things packed. After the horses had eaten, we met Nalanie on the beach for our last swim with our boys, in Mauritius. It unfortunately was low tide, but we still had a great time. At 10.30am our boys went in for lunch, and we went with Nalanie and her family to the Spur in Grande Baie for lunch – what a lovely time we all had. Then at 2pm, our boys went out for the last time in Mauritius. At 4pm all the horses were washed and fed, and were ready to leave.
Then we got the news that the flight from SA had not landed yet, so our flight would be delayed until 8pm. It was then delayed to 10pm, then 12pm and eventually at 4am on Monday morning (12th December) we left for the airport. When we arrived at the airport, there were further delays, and at about 8am, the horses were still in the trucks, and it was getting really hot. The horses were starting to get restless, so we called the quarantine station to get buckets and lead reins, so we could get the horses off the trucks – for some reason in Mauritius they do not let horses travel with lead reins. While we were waiting, we heard “Mallie” starting to cause problems in the truck, and we were on our way to go and check on the horses, when there was a huge commotion. Kayla, Oliver and I ran to the truck, just to find that “Mallie” had mounted the divider between him and Zahir. I had the camera with me, as I was taking pictures of the trucks etc, so I took a picture. Now we had a problem, we had to get 4 horses out of the truck before we could get “Mallie” out, and we had no lead reigns. Thank the Lord we had our horse’s boxes in the bakkie (truck) with us, so we ripped them open and grabbed 5 leads. In Mauritius the truck drivers will not handle the horses, and will not get involved with the horses, so it was Kayla, Oliver and I. We got out the first 4 horses, poor things were run down the ramp of the truck, and just handed to anybody we could find, and by now “Mallie” had fallen down, but his leg was still stuck on the top of the divider. The only way now was to loosen him and get the divider open, and hope he manages to get up. We managed to unclip him from the truck – yes, can you believe it, he did all this while chained to the truck, and then after much pulling and kicking Oliver and I managed to get the divider open – please remember his weight was still on it, as he was hanging from his leg. Then there was a miracle! His leg came unstuck as the divider opened; he fell to the floor, and then got up. I managed to grab the lead that we had attached to him when we un-clipped him, and he walked out the truck. Amazingly he was OK, he had a few scrapes and bruises, and he had pulled a shoe, but he could walk – I have never ever seen that before. I was so happy that he was OK. We then took out all the horses from the bottom level of the truck, including our boys. While we were waiting for the leads and water, we stood on a piece of ground next to the runway, where they were installing drainage pipes., and man was it hot. Eventually the leads and water arrived, but we did not have enough handlers to hold the horses. We had now involved quite a few of the locals, and they became horse holders. We phoned Lindy, and she arrived with some friends, and we now managed to give the horses water, and walk them around. Lindy brought some Chaff, so all the horses were given chaff and water – thanks Lindy for the help. We now could get “Mallie” hosed off and treat his wounds – thank goodness our boxes were there. So we could use the purple spray, and Oliver had some bandages in his bakkie that we used to bandage “Mallies” legs.
By now it was midday, and we were standing in the cooking sun, and man!!!! Was it hot!!! Parts of the tar on the road had even started melting. We got so sunburned. We then made a trade off with the Cargo guys at air Mauritius, I let then take pictures of our boys, and we got to hose off our horses. Eventually at 12.30 we could re-load the horses, and go to the plane. At the security check, we all had to go and get permits, so the poor horses had to wait in the hot trucks again for another 15 minutes. When we got back to the trucks, we were commenting on how quiet it was, when suddenly all hell broke loose. Anand, the stable manger from the quarantine station, who had now joined us, and I climbed up the back of the truck to find that “Luni” had caught his foot in his chain. So the two of us ran across the dividers between the horses, and I managed to un-clip him. We then just stayed there to calm down “Luni” and to prevent him from pawing. Every time he pawed, he would hit Peri”s legs – thank goodness we had put travelling boots on our boys.
At last we got to the plane – Kayla and I had to do the formalities at customs, and eventually we got back to the plane, to help with the loading. The horses were put into a box with 3 stalls, hoisted up, and then led into the plane. The stalls on the plane were built as the horses came in to their requirements. Bailie was having none of this, getting on a plane stuff, as he had to load alone – he is too heavy, so we had to literally pick him up at the back and push him in. He was put in a double stall, and then Peri was loaded, and he was put just in front of Bailie. Old man (Arusha) and ” Mallie” were left in the portable stall, and were put right by the cargo door – so when we stopped anywhere they got the best view. At 3pm all horses were loaded, and ready to go, but the Mauritian authorities were still busy with their formalities. We had to wait in that hot plane until 7pm, before we were allowed to take off – the poor horses were frying in the plane.
At 7pm Monday the 12th December, we took off at last. Kayla and I got to sit in the cockpit for landing and taking off, which was really cool! We then flew to Mombasa airport in Kenya where we had to land for a fuel refill, which took about an hour. Because of AHS, we could not open the cargo doors, so we got the temperature in the plane really cold before landing, so that the horses did not get hot again. Then we flew to Cairo airport in Egypt, where we refuelled, changed crew, and got some more water for the horses. Here the cargo door was opened, so some air could get into the plane. After about an hour on the ground, we flew to Oostende in Belgium. The flight was about 16 hours in total.
On arrival, the cargo doors were opened, and the horses got their first breath of cool air. Arusha and “Mallie” were the first to be off loaded, in their crate, and Kayla and I went on the pallet with them. At the stables the vets and trucks were waiting for us, so we off loaded the two off the pallet and into stables, where the vets checked them out, gave them some electrolytes, grass and water before they were loaded onto the next trucks – which I must add were absolutely stunning. While we were busy doing this, the hoist was taken away and a ramp was brought in, to walk the horses off the plane. We got back to the plane and it was now time to off load the other horses. First was Peri, then Bailie, and we then walked them across the tarmac to the stables. They were all really good. After the vet had seen them, and they had their electrolytes, they were put into their 5 star trucks. Our boys were given double spaces.
By the time we had finished everything and could leave the airport it was already 1pm local time, Tuesday the 13th December, so we could not catch a train to Germany, so we found a hotel at the station and got some sleep – Man!!! I did not realise that I had so many muscles in my body.
We also got a call from Klaus to say that he had little Rascal, and he was safe and sound – isn’t technology great.
On Wednesday we were up early, had some breakfast at the hotel and were off to the trains. We left Belgium at 7.45am, and got to Lastrup at 5pm. We went straight to see our boys, and they looked great. They were kept in because it had rained the whole day, but they got lots of grass, and were blanketed – what else could a horse want. We now got to check out our “stables” – the B&B, and it was really a cute little place. Kayla and I have quite a bit of jet lag, it felt like we were swimming all the time, so we went straight to bed.
On Thursday we got up, had some breakfast, and were off to see our boys. It is about a 4km walk, but very flat, and in the cold it is really easy. We had our doubts as where we were going, as we were driven there by Anne of Guido Klatte in the dark, but we found it no problem. Our boys were glad to see us. We were then shown around the stable yard, and Wow!!! Is all I can say. We were given our own area to groom our horses – they don’t do it in the stable like we are used to doing, there is an indoor area to wash horses with warm water, there is an indoor horse walker, and an indoor arena. This is really 5 star, not what we are used to. So our boys went for a 10 minute walk in the walker, it was so funny to watch them get the whole thing right. Bailie kept on waiting for the dividing mats to touch him, before leaping off to the one in front, then he decided that he should try and get past it, so he could be with Peri. At least in the end our boys did get it right, and were able to at least stretch some of their muscles after just standing for 4 days, in trucks, on planes and in stables. We then gave our boys a good groom and then their blankets went back on. Once finished at the stables, Anne was kind enough to take us around town, to show us where everything is. We then did a little shopping, and got sim cards for the internet and phones, but all the instructions are in German, so we had to go to Anne for help on Friday.
Friday we went to Anne at Guido Klatte, she helped us get the sim cards registered and print some paperwork that needed to be signed. We were there for quite some time. Once we were done by Anne we went shopping for some groceries and we each got a good pair of boots, because we walk everywhere and it was raining and snowing. We were quite surprised that in the one shop – something like builders, they even had horse stuff, so we managed to get some grooming brushes, and some treats for our boys.
Saturday morning we were up early, and after breakfast we went to our boys. They were so glad to see us. We gave them a quick groom, and then waited for the horses to finish in the walker, so that we could put them in the lunge ring in the middle to play – and did they play – they loved it. Peri also befriended the local cat, who walked on him. After they played we took Peri to the wash bay, and washed his legs – with warm water mind you. Both our boys then got a good groom. By then it was lunch time, and the horses got a handful of carrots – they are really spoilt, they get muesli for breakfast and dinner, carrots for lunch and lots of grass. The people at Guido Klatte are really so nice and friendly, and today they lent Kayla and I bicycles, so now we have transport.
Sunday we went to our boys on our new transport – the bicycles, and it was really nice. The weather was great, sunshine and not too much wind. Our boys went in the lunge ring to play again, and did they play. After they were finished playing, we gave our boys a good groom. Peri’s new friend – the cat, did get in the way though. At lunch time we went back to the B&B and sorted out a few things. It gets dark really early at 4.30pm, so at 6pm it already feels very late, and this is what is taking some getting used to.