Photo credit Kerryn Edmans.
And they are off! Despite Covid, despite Brexit, despite the coldest period in the UK for a decade ( Minus 27 degrees in Scotland, about minus 8-10 down here), despite the costs and despite the fact that for every horse there are 33 pages of health papers and a barrage of paperwork that we, Pedens and Valley Equine Vets have been navigating through for the last three weeks the horses are finally en route to Spain. It made me laugh last week when the show jumper Peter Charles wrote in Horse and Hound that ” you would have to be a brave man or woman to be thinking of taking horses on the Sunshine Tour right now” as that was exactly what we were doing!
Team Price ( just the 15 horses) were the main part of the 27 horses that travelled Portsmouth/ Caen on the overnight ferry on Wednesday 10th February. Scooby had his own 12 page documentation which is impressive for a Price Boxer as they have ( in another pre covid world) required the minimum paperwork. This was the first equine trip through Caen so it was a nail biting time and with just 10 stables on site at Caen the first hurdle was to get past unloading 27 horses. The upshot was they quickly dropped the unloading part and just three hours later the trucks were on the road again… not ideal, but we had all the horses through which was a major success.
Classic Moet ( Molly), aka the fastest horse in the world, does not do hanging around and she was not impressed with the wait. Molly is now, ahem, 18 and she has a bit of an old gal approach to life in that she doesn’t do ‘hanging out”. She was on the big transporter, she knew she was heading to Spain, she knew it was a long trip and she was pretty unimpressed by the delay!
The team reached the stabling in France last night ( Thursday) and the horses had a good rest before pulling out at 2pm today ( Friday) and will hopefully arrive at the venue early tomorrow morning. Tim and Jonelle brought 6 horses to squad training yesterday at the awesome venue of Brazilian eventer and good friend Ruy Fonseca and they, the kids and Harriet fly to Spain on Saturday. Jonelle assures me she is flying into 19 degrees and wall to wall sunshine which is but a tad depressing when we are facing more snow.
Second riders Tayla Mason and Lorenzo Monachesi will be holding the forte at home with yard manager Lucy Miles in charge and with Kerryn Edmans in charge in Spain it will be a tight ship for sure. We will keep you posted with regular updates but check out the Sunshine Tour app ( XXVII Sunshine Tour 2021) for masses of information on the horses, riders and results.