The Perils Of Show Jumping Sport - 7

Well, what can I say? A week in the lives of the WKD Team is probably equivalent to a month in other people’s!

With less than two weeks to go until the show jumping starts at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy, we were in full scale preparation mode. After returning from the LGCT in London it was full steam ahead to get bags unpacked, re-packed, horses unloaded, loaded and so many other things we became dizzy!!

Thanks to the kindness of a friend, Georgie Crumley, the horses had stabling not far from the show in London and on Monday night they crossed over to Calais - on the way to the show that weekend in Macon - a 3* where most importantly the course builder was Frédéric Cottier who is building in Normandy. To be in Macon was an important part of our pre-Games preparation strategy!!

That just left Sam and I to get there - and in a plot worthy of a James Bond movie it was decided that we would drive the car to the south of Ireland (6 hours from home) to the port of Rosslare “and cruise" across to Cherbourg this coming Tuesday night the 26th- arriving fresh in Normandy where we would leave the car at Caen airport - conveniently located for us for the Games the following week. And then hop on a flight to Lyon where we would pick up a hire car and drive leisurely to the show an hour away in Macon. What a plan - what could possibly go wrong?!!!!

Yup you guessed it of course it didn't work like that!!!!

All went smoothly until we tried to get OFF the boat in Cherbourg. Apparently, although the actual boat arrives at 11 pm - the crew seemed to be very keen to extend our cruising experience for as long as possible. As I anxiously worked out distance to the airport from the port - it became rapidly clear that unless Sam turned into Lewis Hamilton and the car into a formula one model - the flight to Caen was going to wing its way to Lyon slightly lighter than expected - minus two passengers and a lot of cases...... Yup another transport malfunction for the WKD Team looked inevitable.

So we now had the slight problem where the lorry and horses were in Macon, with the show starting the next day - and Sam and I were several hundred miles away...and the only flight option was gone! But of course, as usual, I was a girl with a plan.....Lol.

No problem, I cried, we’ll just get the train - my usual optimism kicking in again as I imagined a jaunty "orient express” type voyage through deepest, picturesque France to arrive at the show. Indeed, I even went as far as to convince Sam that this was probably a more relaxing, less stressed way to do the journey anyway - and am surprised I had not thought of it before (at this stage we had left Ireland a mere 27 hours previously to get to the show!!).

We parked the car at Caen train station (a familiar pattern of abandoning my car is beginning to develop for those of you who have been following these blogs!) and took the train which would involve a "slight" change in Paris....Oh and of course Sam decided that rather than leaving the luggage for the Games - which I had spent the night before separating from that required for the show in Macon in the car - it would be much better to bring it with us. “Of course - it's always so much better when undertaking a cross country rail journey to have as much baggage as possible to lug on and off the trains”.... Said no one - EVER!!!

The train to Paris was fine...We managed to get the two giant cases and two smaller cases onto the train. Only causing minor inconvenience and bruising to other people of course, however when we arrived at Paris we realised that we had to not just change trains - but change whole stations across Paris! Oh and just to make things a little more of a challenge we had under an hour to do it in!

Lots of stairs, suitcases and sweat are my only memories of this bit... At some point I resorted to riding my suitcase, much to the amusement of my fellow Parisian commuters, down the stairway as the elevator was broken.... But we made it!!!

Exactly 36 hours after the start of our journey we arrived in Lyon - a breeze really!!!!

We arrived at the show at around 10 pm, where I saw they were still jumping under floodlights. This, Luke informed us, was a warm-up class for my ladies competition that week. A good job I had previously declared the warm-up idea as far too tiring for my mare, as there would've been no chance of me making it on time - which was slightly surprising considering we had left for the show nearly two days before it started!

I expressed out loud how glad I wasn't in it as I am not known for either my enthusiasm for late night jumping, and my mare had never competed under floodlights before. It was at this point that Luke provided me with the schedule where I joyfully discovered that the ladies class was to be a nightly featured under the floodlights.

This trip was just getting better and better!!!



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