Aero & Flurry’s Big Trip

This is the journey my Boys endured.

Having been collected from Kingsland at lunchtime on Friday, they were taken to George Mullins’ holding yard in Bagenalstown, Co Carlow.  They spent the night and most of Saturday there, while the rest of the horses for the trip were gathered from around the country – fourteen horses, in all.  In the evening, they were driven to Rosslare, where they boarded the ferry for Pembroke – I think that particular boat docks at about 1am.  They crossed the full width of Wales and England en route to Dover, where they were unloaded and stabled for the whole day, to give them a rest – about eleven hours, we were told.  Back onto the truck in time to catch the 9.30pm boat which got them into Calais just after midnight (remember there’s a one hour time difference, the crossing is about 1.5 hours) and then there was the long drive to St Trivier-sur-Moignans, just North of Lyon. We were waiting to meet them, they had about ten minutes mooching around picking at grass, then they walked (as willingly as ever, I must add) into our trailer and we set off on the last leg.  Five hours later we arrived at their new home in Reillanne, just over three days after their journey began.

Eleven horses in the truck and three in the trailer

Waiting anxiously for the first sight of the Boys


It turned out I kind of knew one of the drivers.  He was based in Cork about twenty years ago, working for a chap called Denis Duggan who owned a riding school not far from us, which later became our regular Winter show jumping venue.  I’m sure I was introduced to this guy – Kevin – at some stage, but it clearly didn’t make much of an impression on either of us.  This time, though, he instantly endeared himself to me by saying Aero and Flurry “are a pair of angels to do anything with.”  Smile!

First glimpse of Aero.  A bit rubbed on his ribs where he was leaning up
against the doors, but otherwise no marks.

Me and my “son.”  He looked tired.

Flurry was next, looking as cheery as ever!

Hi Mum!
This lucky horse was at journey’s end.  All of the others
had at least another five hours to go

Ahhh!  That’s Grass!

In the box and ready to roll once again.

Aero caused me some concern by seeming so tired and then by having a slight nosebleed when we stopped to check them along the way.  We finally arrived at Reillanne and unloaded, earning another compliment, this time from Alexandrine’s father, who remarked that they were “Bien dressé” (well, they are!) On the way to their paddock, Aero walked happily beside me, alert and taking everything in – maybe he was starting to feel better because he knew he was with us and no longer in the hands of strangers?

We turned them out and left them be, while I took the LSH and the Hyperterriers home and cleaned out the horsebox, then I went and just spent some time with them.  It was nice.  Aero was being needy and picking on Flurry a bit, but Flurry got a few cuddles from me anyway and we shared an apple.  Alexandrine arrived then, to be introduced to her new tenants, and gave them a couple of carrots, too.

Aero saying hello to the new neighbour

Flurry sneaking some hay while Aero wasn’t looking – Aero is being quite bossy with him.
The boys and their abri (shelter) Aero is mostly lost in the shadows,
the head on the right belongs to the neighbouring horse
What wonderful, kind, tolerant animals they are to accept it all with such grace and still be happy to see me when I visit them again.

I am in awe of them.

I hope they like their new home.

The arena in the foreground and the boys’ abri with the Alpes Maritimes in the distance, frosted with the first snow of the season

Thanks to all at George Mullins for making it go so smoothly & thanks to the LSH for the unloading photos.

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