Bernard, Dagmar & Anna
& SS Jo Jo's Nevada promise
in the mountains in Austria
SS Miss Klondike Kitty & SS Sunnybrook's Misty Whitney
with Dagmar & Anna in Germany
747 Calgary to LUX
Our five fine foals arrived in Europe safe and sound on April 25th. We loaded them into our horse trailer at 5 PM on April 24th, transported them to the Calgary airport and we flew off to Luxembourg. It was a very interesting experience for me as I had never flown in a 747 Cargo plane before. The horses were loaded into a 6' x 7' steel crate, weighed and then taken out to the tarmac with a forkilft. They were then lifted into the belly of the plane on a scissor lift and hydraulically maneuvered into position. They were then latched down to the floor of the plane. I was amazed at how calmly the horses took this part of the procedure. Immediately upon them being secured I video taped their behavior and they were all looking at me as if to say "What's the big deal!". I was very impressed with their calm attitude throughout the entire journey. Every hour or so I would go down into the belly of the plane to check on them and they were all busy munching on their hay. It is a very strange feeling to go into the belly of a 747, all alone, when it is full of freight. There are only seats for 6 passengers on these planes up top, behind the pilots. I was able to take about 6 steps from my seat and be looking out the front window of the plane.
Arrival in Europe
We arrived in LUX nine and a half hours later and it took about 2 hours to clear all the horses through the vets and customs. SS Dallas Sunset headed off to Hanover, Germany, SS Clooney, SS Sunnybrook's Windy Sue and SS Jo Jo's Nevada Promise were transported to Austria. I traveled with SS Sunnybrook's Misty Whitney to Lambsorn, Germany, which is close to Frankfurt.
It was 28 degrees Celsius on the Friday. This was very hard on the horses as they still had their winter coats and when we left it was snowing here! Pictured on the left is Whitney taking a rest as she was panting from the heat.
Finally meet Dagmar!
Whitney went to Dagmar Stenger's home. She is the lady whom purchased my first export into Europe, SS Miss Klondike Kitty. This was my first opportunity to talk to Dagmar and her family as all of our correspondence when she purchased Kitty was via email. (About 750 emails to date!) Dagmar does not speak English and I do not speak German, so it was very interesting. Her husband, Bernard speaks some English and we were able to figure out all we wanted to say with the assistance of our handy dictionaries. Whitney was to be at Dagmar's house to be offered for sale in Germany, but the moment Whitney arrived at Dagmars, the entire family fell in love with her and they are probably going to be purchasing her. It was an excellent two days that I spent with Dagmar's family, and we felt like very old friends by the time I departed. There were lots of tears and sad good-byes, and promises from Dagmar that she will visit us here in Canada next year!
Train to Austria!
From Lamsborn I traveled via overnight train for 12 hours to Austria. There I stayed with Karen Zierler who had taken three of the foals. These horses have a view to die for. They are in the mountains on lush green grass (In April!) overlooking a beautiful lake. We attended the Spanish Riding School in Vienna (a must for any horse lover) and I spent the evening learning many of the local customs. Karen's in-laws had many a story to share (via translators) on the family history and local traditions. We had to cap the day off with some home made Schnaps!
31 hours to Home!
I then returned via train to Frankfurt, Germany where I met up with another lady that had emailed me for information on the curlies. She has extreme allergies to horses (as does Karen Zierler, her husband and Dagmar) and was thrilled to learn only 6 months ago about the Curly horses. Both her and her husband are now planning on coming to Canada in October to see the stables and take a trail ride. We traveled along the Rein river and learned many a legend of this famous river. There were castles everywhere, every couple of miles one would see another castle and wonder at the stories of these magnificent structures. From Frankfurt I traveled again via train to LUX, bus to the airport, flew into Los Angeles, Portland and then Calgary. It took 31 hours to get home! I was sure happy to finally be in my own bed. Calgary had just received two feet of snow on the weekend, so I did not miss much.
The one thing that stands out in my mind the most was the farms and houses in the villages throughout Europe. They are so clean. The yards are spotless, no junk lying around, no extra vehicles, no falling down fences, everything is impeccable. I belevie it is mostly due to the lack of fences. Since most of the farmers feed year round and only have a few head of livestock, they keep their animals in the courtyard. This courtyard is in the middle of the the farm buildings. So it is not visible unless you enter the grounds. The second thing was the history behind the area's that I visited. There is so much culture there and the traditions are different in every little village. The family bond is so much stronger than ours. People don't relocate their as they do here and there is a respect for everything. Everybody knows everybody.
Curlys well received
I covered a lot of ground in the 7 days I was gone, saw a lot of people and I was very proud to arrive there with the Curly horses that I took. Everyone that was in contact with the horses on thier journey complimented me on their behavior. People are always impressed with the easy going temperament of the Curlies and their willingness to please.