My trip across the country with horses - Part Three!


So a quick recap of events up to this:


  • We are moving from CA to VA. 
  • Mass panic.
  • Serious planning.
  • Plane ride!
  • We are in Kentucky.


I have flown on “Air Horse One” with the boys and the husbo has driven from CA with the two cats and the horse trailer.  While we considered putting the giant cat carrier in the horse trailer, we thought that perhaps Chris would enjoy their melodic cat sounds as the truck and trailer sped across many, many states.  Turns out, the cats travelled just as good as the horses!  My FIL Johnny has driven my car across as well, so it’s going to be a mini family reunion as we continue on and all meet in Lexington, KY.


Miggy's butt and Comet upon our arrival to the layover station.  Notice Comet's leg wraps, matching exactly the color of the earth.  He is fascinated by this grass stuff that is largely absent in CA but now everywhere.  



Migs is wearing his feeding instuctions, just in case.  Courtesy of Shapley's Show Touch Ups, a handy way to mark your horse for emergencies or travel. 



The horses and I are getting settled in the layover barn just outside of Lexington.  When we arrived, Mr. NO HAY decided that he was going to eat all of his straw bedding, so we had to strip that stall and the barn owners were gracious and kind and went to get him shavings.  (This is perhaps the ONE detail I forgot to find out about when planning the trip, what bedding is in the stalls.)  At any rate, the boys had big drinks of water, a nice lunch, and then I waited around a bit.  And by waited I really mean the following:  Take TPR, organized travel trunks, made meds and meals, washed water buckets and feed bins, answered emails and texts, made friends with baby horses, game planned the rest of the day. 



Baby horses everywhere - this one was a few days old.  Comet was across the barn aisle from him and the two of them talked for hours.  I'm convinced Comet's gift is that of nurse maid to baby horses, he's obsessed.  

By this time, it was late afternoon and Chris, Johnny, and the cats were due any minute.  My very specific plan of NAP and FOOD was curtailed by the reunion, and of course there was no way I was going to sleep with the cats there - too entertaining as they explore the latest hotel room.  But I did get to eat - a LOT.  Then it was back to the barn for a nice long hand walk, more TPR, and dinner time for them.  I topped off the evening with a check of the weather - oh no….


Our original plan was to pack up before dawn on Saturday and head out to West Virginia to spend the night, before one more short-ish trailer ride to our final destination - Virginia.  Seems that Mother Nature had other plans - the remnants of a tropical storm were passing through Kentucky and headed east.  The forecast for Saturday was bleak - but we decided to get up ridiculously early anyway and check the weather.  The alarm rings at 4 am on Saturday, and I bolt out of bed.  The weather forecast consisted of massive red blobbies on the radar from Lexington all the way to West Virginia and beyond.  We decided to stay one more day in Lexington and then head to WV on Sunday.  


My basic thoughts were:  

  • I can sleep more.
  • I can sightsee a lot.
  • I can visit every major TB racing barn.
  • Do we have time to go to Louisville, too?  
  • I can definitely catch up on sleep.
  • There are HOW MANY breweries in Lexington to visit today? 
  • I never knew Lexington was such a foodie town - so many great restaurants to try today!
  • The boys can get 27 hand walks today! 


Orange Man in the hotel room, doing his cat thing and acting like a weirdo.  Generally obsessed with fans and a/c units, he spent a lot of time letting the air blow his fur around.  


The reality was:

  • Horses - AM, Noon, PM, Night check.  TPR, hand walks, love, attention, grooming. 
  • Cats - well, they CAT in the hotel just fine by themselves.  (See photo above)
  • People - little bit of sightseeing, some breweries, great lunch, tiny nap. Early to bed for the 4 am wake up call.  And it did rain most of the day in Lexington, which was wonderful.  Coming from crispy CA, I had almost forgotten what rain was like.  The other sightseeing trips, Louisville, and all of the barn oogling would have to wait for another trip! 


We all had a wonderful time in Lexington.  Chris and Johnny are both craft brew fans, so we sampled a bit, then ate lunch at a wonderful little restaurant called County Club.  We had dinner at the “world famous” Ramsey’s.  It had been YEARS since I had comfort food and it was amazing.  Fried green tomatoes!!  For some reason we also immediately adopted a southern drawl.  I also amazed my waitress when I told her I was from San Diego and she immediately wanted to hear all of the famous movie stars that I know! Which is none.  I also learned that Hun, Honey, Babe, Ma’am and Miss are all terms of endearment and used by strangers when talking to you.  


Lexington was also my first trip to a Tractor Supply Store, and now they have passed Nordstrom’s on my favorite places to shop list.  Where else can you get horse food, a lawn mower, jeans, plants, and this amazing new candy?  




As much as we loved Lexington - it was time to carry on.  On Sunday we loaded up and headed for West Virginia.  We got up at 4 am, and were headed out of Kentucky by 6 am.  Only a few hours to the layover spot there.  Of course I had been emailing and talking to the owner there, I had to let him know I was delayed anyway.  As we are trucking through West Virginia, he lets me know the THE ROADS TO HIS BARN ARE WASHED AWAY from the storms.  They averaged about 2 inches, every hour, for 8 hours the day before.  (A big PHEW that I did not decide to carry on and brave the weather as originally planned.) But now how to deal with the roads?  We had a few things on our side - the weather was sunny, the roads had mostly dried up by the time we arrived in the area, and the barn owner was gracious enough to meet us by the washed out area and lead us back to the barn on a different route to avoid other road “stuff”, like limbs and debris and more water.  


Turns out, the washed out area was tiny when we got there, we watched several other small trucks and utility vehicles cross without incident.  The rig did it’s heavy duty thing and we were clear.  The car, however, which had been a constant sight behind the rig for almost a dozen states, was now abandoned in a country church parking lot as it would have floated away.  No worries, we dropped off the horses and Chris went back to the car to pick up his dad.  


By this point, the horses were catching on to the routine.  Get in the box on wheels, go somewhere, hang out in a new barn, meet new friends.  This layover barn had a menagerie of animals for me to swoon over, including goats (obsessed), a tiny mini horse stallion that was FULL of himself and grew about 4 feet when he saw the horses, lots of chickens, and two pigs.  Two friendly pigs that loved attention.  The boys have, at this point, decided that nothing bothers them, and the settle in immediately.  Lunch is served, and I now have the meal making and organization routine down pat.  


The cats are also now total pros at this whole moving thing, and while I get set up at the layover barn we park the truck in the shade and open the doors for the cats to look out.  They are in a large kennel together, and in one afternoon have seen more barnyard animals than most kids by age ten.  Also unfazed by it all.  


We check into the hotel in West Virginia, get the cats settled, and then bolt for food.  Then back to the barn for hand walking, TPR, and dinner.  If I had a dollar for every horse temp I took on that trip….well, I would have a LOT of dollars.  By this time I’m less jet lagged than the previous days, but I still have one more 4 am wake up call.  Oh boy.  


The next day we land in Virginia!!  


You can read Part One - Planning here, and Part Two - The Flight!