Saturday, January 24, 2009

Beach Trip 200?

This is the one and only time I've ridden Lester on the beach and I seriously can't think of what year it was...The American Red Cross sponsored this beach ride and for $75 with an ugly blue hat you could ride on the beach...the sad part is that none of us that went on this trip together are even friends anymore. Not because of this trip, just for other reasons.
Tanya from South Carolina brought her trailer down the weekend before the trip so that she could trailer Lester and I to a Field Trial. Lester and I played the judges just like at an England coursing event. My job was to hold up a colored flag representing which dog had won that course. I wasn't the real judge and the winners were called into me by waki talki. Lester did wonderful at this as he usually loves big crowds, he thinks it's all about him. Tanya decided to leave the trailer here in Georgia instead of taking it back with her to SC.
I get to the farm on the Thursday before our trip and Bill the farm hand (this guy was a complete nightmare of a worker, but that's a different story) informs me that Porsia, his Rottie has chewed up the trailer light adapter wires. He says that he noticed it the day before, but didn't mention it because he didn't know when we were needing the trailer. In other words he just didn't care. Tanya and Todd arrive and they realize that what Bill has half ass fixed isn't going to work so before we head to SC we'll have to stop at an Autozone store to get the correct parts. So we load Less up and hit the road, with no looking back...
On the way to the Autozone I realize that I cannot find Lester's Coggins paper- you know the little yellow paper which is like the MOST IMPORTANT paper you can have on a horse and must be with you at all times when traveling. So I turn to Tanya and say "you're going to kill me:-(" and I told her what I didn't have. She was good about not killing me then in there, it might have been becauseI thought me not having Less' coggins paper was a short lived. Because shortly after I told her I went rummaging through my purse and was so excited when I found "that yellow toned paper", but turns out it was an old vet bill:-(. So then Tanya was back to wanting to kill me and I really couldn't blame her. We get to the Autozone and Todd goes in to buy the necessary parts- turns out they didn't have exactly what we needed so he had to make due with what they had. He was able to get it to work and got the trailer lights turned on! "Yeah- we're all set"!! (except for the coggins paper). So we hit the road again, well try to anyways. Tanya pulls out of the parking lot and has her foot to the floor and the truck and trailer are barely moving. Todd jumps out to check on it and notices that Tanya has drug the trailer about 50 ft because the trailer brakes locked down when the trailer lights were turned on.
Tanya and I go into the shop to get a flashlight and wire cutters. Fortunately there were some really helpful guys behind the counter - NOT. Todd even asked one of the guys working there if he had any other speed than "dead"! Turns out, he didn't. So with no register help what so ever, Tanya and I tear into the packages so I can take the tools out to the truck and let Todd get to work on the trailer. Tanya stayed inside to pay for it. Then Todd began his work on "disarming the bomb" so to speak- we had our fingers crossed that he would cut the correct wire and still enable the trailer lights to work!! Phew, with a snip of a few wires we were good to go. Though we had no turn signals the entire trip, at least the trailer moved now and the brake lights worked!! THANK GOD FOR TODD!!!! Had he not been with us with all this (he almost didn't come with Tanya to pick me up), we NEVER would have made it. Again, onto SC we go, well not yet. Remember, we still have to backtrack back to the farm and find the coggins for Lester. We didn't have a safe place to turn around so I arranged for Debbie (John the barn owner's late wife) to pick me up at the front gait and drive me to the house. I tear apart my car and can't find the coggins anywhere!! But I got the brilliant idea to take Chase's coggins with us, so that we would have the correct papers on at least the same color horse. The only thing different was the face markings and believe me, we thought of everything as to how to prove Lester as being Chase......Once again we are off. We pick up Karyn shortly after, about this time Lester has been in the trailer for over 2 hours and we aren't even out of Georgia yet. He was a trooper though and never got fussy.
During the road trip we are discussing ways to get Lester in the beach ride without having his own coggins. We actually weren't too worried about it because we still didn't know the whole procedure of the horse and coggins check. We didn't know how thorough it would be. Though we were 4 hours behind schedule, we were still in good spirits. We pulled into the driveway of Tanya's barn about 1am, put Lester to bed and then headed back to her house for a good 3-5 hours sleep. Friday morning we head over to the barn where the farrier is there waiting to put new shoes on Jeebs and Lester. Yeah, did I mention Lester threw a shoe the day before the trip? Shoes back on, horses loaded as well as tack, off to Myrtle Beach we head. On the way there I started reading more material about the ride and the coggins test and began getting more worried about the whole switch-a-roo Coggins thing. At one time we even had the idea of buying some white shoe polish to make Lester's marking even more similar, but decided against it. Friday afternoon we finally arrive in M-beach, I know Tanya was ready to kill me if she heard me gasp one more time while she was driving! For the record she and Todd both did a terrific job driving the trailers .....After we settled the horses in at the barn about 10 minutes from the beach we were back to our "criminal" ways and scoped out the coggins inspection ground. We wanted to stake out the joint and pick the best time to plan our attack, or arrival, which ever you prefer,for the following morning. So after this we are all a little bit more settled on how we are going to pull this off. We got to the beach house ready to settle us humans in and take showers, but are locked out! We called the lock smith and he said he'd be a couple of hours, so we decide to go on to dinner....laughing all the way and wondering what could possibly happen next. Over the course of dinner Tanya was facing a huge dilemma, "Should I wear blue or black jeans tomorrow"? I realize that this is a "have to be there moment", but Karyn then said "OMG, that is the least of our problems!!" it was all in fun though and we all got a huge laugh out of it. On the way home from the dinner Kayrn spotted some shaving cream and sprayed it all over Todd's ear- it was a definite "Something About Marry" moment! We laughed so hard that we all complained of chest pains....
Back at the beach house, once the lock smith lets us in, we get ready for bed. Over dinner we discussed ways of getting Lester past inspections and our last and final plan was to arrive there in the AM while it was still dark so they wouldn't be able to see him as well. Saturday morning came fast and we load Lester in the stock trailer first and cut out the trailer lights so that there would be no attention drawn to his face and that he in fact was am imposter! At this point I'm so nervous I think I'm going to puke, Tanya and I were both pretty nervous and taking deep breathes as we pulled up to the inspection line. Tanya hands the man the notebook and luckily it looked to confusing and or buckly to even want to deal with, so as it turned out, the man NEVER SAW the coggins papers themselves. He asked Tanya to do him a favor and call out all the info to him. As Tanya was calling the info out, Karyn came up to my window and brought makeup to distract me and get my mind off of it:-) Then the man said, OK, now let me go and check and make sure you brought the right horses! but In fact all that was written down about Lester was his color- and from that he matched their form perfectly! HOME FREE! all the while, Todd was back smoozing the other inspector and said "What jackass would actually try and fake a coggins"? and she told him that they had caught a lot the night before!
We drive in and find a good spot close to home base. I have NEVER seen so many stupid hillbillies in my life and neither had Lester!!! We were both pretty worried on the same level at them- never knew what they would do next. There were about 800 horse and riders there and all but a few of them were CRAZY! Many had bells and harnesses jingle jangling all over the place. I really wanted to be last in the last group heading over, but some how we just all kinda got pushed into one of the early groups. We traveled across the hwy with police escorts in about a pack of 100 or more horses. Lester and I were in front of Tanya, Todd and Karyn. Then some kid's horse got spooked and dumped him and took off bucking into the road. A driver got out and got the horse and Lester didn't want anything to do with it, so we just kept heading for the beach. When we got out there it was about 9am and the beach was BEAUTIFUL and so was the weather! Lester was really good heading out and we even were able to do some working trot and canter which all the on lookers liked! If only I had pics of that. All the horses were great, but the worst one of all was Storm, the horse that Karyn was riding- the person with the least experience. but she did good, and even stayed on when he decided to be a bucking bronco at one point. We rode out on the beach for about 3 hours when we decided to turn home. We got maybe a mile home before I decided to get off Lester and hoof it back with him. By this time it was noon and many of the locals, tourists and beach goers had come out to play. I looked down the beach and only saw people, towels, chairs, umbrellas and that's all Lester saw too. He was so scared of the little children playing and digging their sand castles because they were crouched down and then would just pop up unexpectedly. By this time Lester wanted to do anything but listen to me, he was spooking at everything, jumping around, going backwards, spinning, ect- and doing what I call the lippazan leap.- He wants to go back wards or jig in one place so I ask him to go forward and he decides to just leap forward instead of walk. I decided that there were too many beach goers to consider and it would be best to be off of him and that I had more control... looking back now and what has become of his back, hindend and lameness I would bet that after 3 hours of me on his back in the deep sand really took a toll on the time I was mad at him so I made him walk in the ocean with me because it was easier footing. Sometimes we were up to our chests in the water. My paddock boots and chaps and well everything were just soaked! Looking back I wish I gotten back on him in the water and done a little swimming, but maybe in another life....This one lady asked why I wasn't on my horse and I should I have told her because I didn't want to run over stupid people like you!!! The people on the beach were so STUPID and didn't even act like we were there- I'm not saying I had the right away, but they could at least stay away when my horse wants to jump on them! People were just walking right up to us asking to pet the horses and Lester wasn't about to stand for pats, he was too far "gone" by then.
Anyway we get back exhausted, sore and tired, but we all had a really good ride. The one and only time I've seen Lester pull back was when he was tied to the trailer and the lead rope got around his head and he was pulling back and leaping forward, but I was able to untie him without him getting hurt....
Sunday AM we park closer to the beach as to avoid the walk across the street. We parked at a deserted White Water park- I think Lester has now seen everything! This ride was quieter and shorter. Lester was stiff and a bit sore, so we only walked. I tried to get him to go into the waves with me on him, but he wouldn't and I didn't press the issue. So we all survived another beach ride so we head home for the trailer. As we are walking, I'm not sure who noticed it first, but we all look to our right and see a bomber jet flying straight for us, only about 50 ft above our heads! We all brace and get ready for the worst! All the horses did pretty well with it. Lester danced around in the spot where we stood and he was a good boy considering, because I knew he was terrified. I hate the sound of those things and I KNOW where it's coming from, he doesn't. So we all said Phew and caught our breath just in time to hear "Oh shit, here comes another one!" So we all brace again. Karyn jumped off Storm who at that point reared up and she was able to contain him, I jumped off Less as the jet passed and he went backwards, not knowing where to run, but I was able to hang on to him.
Monday AM we head home. We stayed together with the 2 trailers until we reached Columbia SC, at this point we put Dancer on the other trailer and sent him home with Todd. Poor Tanya still had Kayrn and Lester and I to take home. Not long after we cross the GA state line, we see flashing lights and get pulled over. We were all thinking it was for not having turn signals. Turns out that the Georgia dept. of Agriculture was pulling us over to check Lester's coggins and health certificate! Well we didn't have a health certificate. but we had "his" coggins so we showed him that. He took the paper back to his car and we all looked at each other and thought not in a million years would this ever happen and here it happens on this trip! Karyn said that the coggin papers fraud was still haunting us. Thank god he didn't check the paper to Lester, he just took down the info. Even though I was taking Lester to Myrtle Beach that was in South Carolina it didn't even occur to me that I was taking him "out of the state".


allhorsestuff said...

Man that what a time! I was cracking up with all the stuff that happened to you all.You guys got nerve I tell ya!
Less looked so good on the beach and I loved the pic of your stading there with your hand on hid forleg!
Great Story D!

Grey Horse Matters said...

It sounds like a lot of fun, great pictures. You and Lester looked great. I can't believe you actually got pulled over - thank goodness you had that coggins test for Lester, even if it was a fake.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Gosh what a story! Everything that was going to happen did! sheesh! What an adventure. Whewee! I'm glad that nothing really horrible happened and that noone was hurt and no tickets or citations were issued and that you were still permitted to ride.
It would have been a bummer if you had driven all that waqy and not been able to ride.

Sounds like you need to add a second beach trip...a little more laid back and less crowded and organized. All those horses and people would make any horse a little nutty.
Oh and I know all of what you said about South Carolina hillbillies. hah!
We lived in SC for 7 looong years. Oh! The people drove me batty! lol!

Those pictures of you and Lester were wonderful!


SunnySD said...

Great story! I love the beach pictures. Talk about an adrenalin rush all the way! That's just a riot - out here it's brand inspection if you take a horse across the Missouri. So many ranches straddle the state line what I think we have reciprocity with Nebraska & North Dakota, but if you live east of the river & cross to the west, technically you're supposed to have your livestock inspected by the brand inspector. It's only happened once that it was an issue, when I was helping move some cows, and it turned out that the inspector didn't much care once he found out that a) the horses weren't branded, and b) we weren't selling the horses.... But he still collected his fee from the rancher for "inspecting" them!

Stephanie said...

Ahhh yes - we have to do that crap every year - now I do with with two horses. Only coming into WA you need to have your papers, health certf, coggins, AND a brand card. Geesh.

Sometimes i think its a scam to see how much money we'll pay before we go completely broke just for the chance of travel to and from a horse show.

Great memory though! Its got good stuff, bad stuff, and scary stuff. I hope in the end its a pleasant memory but one you're glad to let be a memory.

cdncowgirl said...

OMG! That could not have been worse... but I bet you guys all have a laugh looking back at it.

I've never really understood the point of Coggins papers.

cdncowgirl said...

I was avoiding answering the shoes question in that "interview" because I don't know the exact number. (but I do know its over 30 :o )

Rising Rainbow said...

Geez! What an adventure. I can't even imagine trying to fake it through over a coggins.

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