UK Trip 2018 – Day 12

June 25, 2018

Time to say good bye to our camper and to the UK 🇬🇧 and head to France 🇫🇷 for a few days.

We left the show grounds bright and early at 430am. There were deer and fox playing as we drove away. We hopped on some major roads and dropped our camper off near London. Then caught a ride to the train station for a few hours of travel on trains to Paris.

At our first train station waiting – Leighton Buzzard.

As promised yesterday, video of the Open A final, two parts.

Southerns Open A final part 1 of 2 video:

Southerns Open A final part 2 of 2 video:

We are currently waiting to board our Eurostar train to Paris.

It’s crowded but customs was easy. We could even keep our drinks in our bags and our shoes on. We did have to check our passports with the UK and then the French/EU customs.

While we wait I want to take some time to express our gratitude to the pony owners that made our competition possible this past weekend.

Tanya Upshall lent us the lovely little firecracker Max that Steph rode. She answered our post on Facebook looking for ponies for loan without knowing us. When she told me about Max I immediately had Steph in mind. He is exactly as she described. We got to meet Tanya the weekend before at Future Stars and she is a lovely women which made meeting Max even more exciting Friday night of the competition. He was an absolute asset to the team and I hope we were able to ride and care for him to her satisfaction. He is everything we hoped he would be. Thank you Tanya.

Sian lent us her furry child Wispa that she has had for just a year. Still a novice, this was Wispa’s first team competition and Sian fully disclosed her concerns about Wispa’s lack of hand off experience, her over all minimal experience, and her slight weight issue. But having known Sian for quiet a few years now, and being a bit of a Facebook stalker, I have followed Sian’s adventures with Wispa and I felt she was not giving herself or her pony enough credit and I also felt Eliza would be an excellent fit. This turned out to be the case. The pony was amazing. I cannot thank Sian and Juliet enough for bringing her over, perfectly packed in all matching blue gear, and cheering us on.

Finally, Mel. What can I say? Mel and Andrew do so much for us. They lent us three amazing ponies. So let’s start there. Gem, Smokey Joe, and Jazmina are all three very different but outstanding ponies. They each ride completely different and each fit a different rider, and really only fit that one rider. I was excepting Jaz to fit Caroline best, and I had a feeling Gem and Fenya and Sadie and Smokey would click but I was not as sure about these three matches as I was about Steph and Eliza. I also didn’t say anything to the riders before they all got a chance to get on the first three so I wouldn’t lead anyone.

Jazmina is fast. That little mare can cover some ground. And she has amazing breaks. Oh if Caroline just had another session on her, I feel like she had just got her really figured out on Sunday.

Sadie rode Smokey like a sports car. He was strong, more so than last year. Gem was sensitive, and again, I think more sensitive than last year. All three of Mel’s ponies, and like all her other ponies, are amazing. Still novice to a degree, they do require the rider to actually ride, but they are just amazing. The last race of the weekend was Windsor and Sadie on Smokey, rode up at a canter to the bucket in fourth position, swooped down, grabbed the ball from the bucket, still cantering on, did a minor S turn and placed the orb on the top of the turret and pushed over the line for home. That pony rode on like he had riders doing that from his back on daily basis. Champ.

Mel and Andrew had us to their house and let us come and go and made us part of their home. We played with their dogs and their kids and their other ponies too. We ate with them and laughed with them. And we already miss them. This trip would not have been possible without them. They let the team see what it’s like to live in Wales and what a real Welsh family is like. They got to step out of just being tourists and really experience the real Wales that’s to this amazing family. This is an invaluable experience that they will always remember and will take with them through life. I hope our presence can give some of this to their family in return and I also hope when their girls are ready they will come over and let us return the same favor.

Same to all of our pony lender friends. And really all the friends we make over here. We realize the schedule over here is packed full, but we would absolutely love to host more riders at our competitions. So hit us up and come have fun on our side of the world!

We finally made it to Paris, got the subway from our train and then walked to our Air B&B. That’s one of the paintings on the wall. It’s not in the nicest looking neighborhood but it is so nice inside. And let me just say – the shower – amazing. We all got cleaned up, and then ran out and grabbed some pizza and some pastries. Now we are eating and watching some Netflix before calling it a night. It’s nearly 1130 already and it’s been a very long day and we are hoping to pack in plenty of adventures tomorrow. So I am closing this blog out. Good night from Paris!

This is the Pastry I picked out. And here is a quick view of the selection. I am sure there will be more over the next few days.


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