Saturday, July 23, 2011

A tale of two countries

So yesterday I headed off to the states yesterday afternoon to pick up my 'new' saddle. I left work at 2, and thought, "I can make it".

First, UPS wasn't showing my package as delivered, which made me uneasy that I'd drive all the way down there, only to find it wasn't there. So I tried calling the parcel service, who informed me to call back in 30 minutes because they were having computer issues.

Not wanting to be delayed 30 minutes (tight was time as it was; needed to get to my folks for dinner at 5:30), I left without calling. I needed gas so I went to the closest gas station...only to discover there was construction and no right turn into it.

Get across the city, driving through 4 construction zones, and one old man who didn't want to go over 40 kmph.

Gas station, fill-up. I'm on my way.

But there's construction on the main highway down. Traffic slows from 110 kmph to 60. Time keeps dissapearing.

Make it to the US border crossing. I've crossed the border plenty, this was nothing new. I pulled into the left lane and then thought the right one was moving better. So I moved over...

...and discovered that it actually had MORE cars.

Time ticks away...

...I get up to the border guard. Doesn't worry me, this is nothing new. I've nothing to hide. Just heading to the states to pick up a saddle I bought off a girl online.

I guess that wasn't the right answer.

They haul me in to have my entire car searched. They ask me to leave the keys in the ignition; take away my nexus card ("trusted traveller" card that you have to be fingerprinted, iris scanned and background checked by the US government in order to recieve...more difficult to obtain then a passport).

I go to the counter where they search my purse. Of course, all I can think about is the fact that now I'm DEFINATELY going to be late home for dinner...and I had forgotten to charge my cellphone, which was dead, which meant I couldn't just call to tell them to go ahead without me.

Questions start. They like asking you the same question multiple times to see if you change your answer. The standard questions: Where you from, where do you work, do you own a horse, what breed, etc.

Ask me if I've ever been fingerprinted. Well, once for Child Find purposes at the mall...apparently that doesn't count.

Sent to the waiting room while the search the remainder of my car. Of course, I didn't clean it before I left home, so there's all kinds of crap in there. Sweaters, pony helmets (strange they didn't ask why I have THREE...should probably give those to the girls at the barn before I head back to the states!), dog food, boxes and mcdonalds bags.

Yes, I'm messy. The BF would say it's my own fault.

They ask me if I have a dog. Yip. Explains the multitude of white hair all over my car. Probably looked like I hunt small white bunnies or something based on how much is in there...

...I finally get out. It took awhile and now I'm definately late. No doubts there.

Get to Pembina, pick up my parcel. Open the box to make sure that the saddle is there, and *just* to be certain there's nothing suspicious that will land me in jail when I cross back over to Canada. No offence to the seller, she seems great, but I DID just have my entire car and purse searched. I'm a little on edge. And LATE. Being late makes me sooo anxious.

Get to the Canadian border at 10 to 5 pm. It's an hour and 20 minutes home. NO way I'm getting home on time. AND there's no surprise, a line up at the border. Longest one I'd ever seen. That's what happens when the dollar reaches 1.06/USD. time, maybe I'll try this during the day. On a Wednesday. Or I'll just pay the dang UPS charges and save myself the hassel.

Get to the Canadian Border at 5:05. THANKFULLY, the guard was really nice, no searches. Sends me on my way.

I drive to the Welcome Centre to call home on the payphone to get the BF to leave now without me. He'd still be on-time.

...except it's $5 to make the phone call. And I only have $3 in change.

Get back in the car. Drive to the next small town.

Find a payphone...with no dial tone. AURGH.

Next town...$4.75 to use the pay phone.

Next town...$3.75 to use the phone.

Drive to the perimeter of the city. Payphone: $0.50.

Call BF, apologize and tell him to call the folks. Get onto the perimeter, it's already 5:40 pm, and I'm anxious, stressed and miserable. I SERIOUSLY HATE being late.

There's a construction sign up on the perimeter warning of sudden stops do to construction (yes, it's that season here). And traffic slows.

Then I notice the fire trucks. And police cars.

People are taking to the service road to go around. I decide that things have been going wrong enough, I'm just going to stay on the highway.

When I get close enough, I realize that a car had rear-ended a van. COME ON people. It WARNED you of sudden stops. Back off!

...and as I get past the van, I realize he TOO had rear-ended someone...

...and him someone, and that someone someone...

7-car pile-up. That's pretty rare in Manitoba; even more rare to NOT happen during a snowstorm or in the winter. I mean, the weather was PERFECT. Clear, warm and dry.


I finally get home, it's 6:10 pm.

The rest is history.

It was seriously NOT the adventure I had wanted nor expected. I'm really rethinking this whole US Parcel pick-up thing...

To make things better? Last night we were awoken at 4:30 am by drunken partiers up the street getting physical with one another. I hate violence. Scares the crap out of me. And we don't even live in a dangerous neighbourhood. Feels like it's getting everywhere. Alcohol does such horrible things to people. By 5 am, we heard police sirens and suddenly all was silent. Wonder if it'll make the news...

Awoke late because of all of that. Wound up late out to T's for the trail ride. : (

Moon got a pretty half-a$$ grooming. Into the trailer and out to the park.

He was NERVOUS. I mean, I was NERVOUS. I'm sure it was more me then him. I was determined to NOT let him get his way. So we fought. The whole first hour and a half. THEN some fellow starts galloping his horse around. Moon gets right worked up and suddenly we're in a big fight over what speed we're going.

The 'galloping guy' comes over and the next thing I know, Moon's connected with him.

Put his rear hoof right into the guy's cowboy boot. I think he was aiming for the other horse, but who knows. Thankfully, neither was hurt thanks to steel shanks and our close proximity.

Moon was a devil for a bit there. Never seen a nicer spin on him...hmmm, should we switch disciplines? Get into barrel racing or something? : P

He didn't settle down all the way back to the trailer. Was DETERMINED to kick that other horse again, though the fellow finally buggered off to the front of the group. No idea what go into Moon, since he was fine with all the other horses there.

After a quick lunch, we went back out onto the trails and I kept him at the rear. Suddenly, he was MY horse again. I even rode without stirrups and could clamber all over him without worry. He hung out with the other horses, stayed back when I asked and only protested when I would circle him away from the others. He even started to soften and come into the bit.

Went great until towards the end when the same fellow starts trotting and cantering again. Suddenly he was back to Mr. Irritable. It's times like that that I'm reminded that his father and grandfather were top QH race horses. He REALLY seems to want to challenge a run...

No kicking, and behaved with the other horses, but I could tell he was on edge. sigh. We'll keep working on it. Bound and determined. He'll get more exposure and with that, be less of a brat.

Got back to the trailer and I was sore. That ride was a lot of work.

Did meet another lady with a horse named 'Moon'. Which was pretty cool. White face too, but an appy.

When we got back to the barn, we were all content and happy. T had a wonderful time, and we both loved getting out and riding together. Her horse was COMPLETELY relaxed the whole time and an awesome little trail fellow. Just easy going.

Moon'er, well, he DID untie himself and walk away twice after we got back. And refused his treat. I think he was a little displeased with all the nagging and pulling and circling I put him through.

Oh well. He NEEDS more time like this. He's AMAZING alone on the trail and it's not spooking or 'objects' that are his problem. It's other horses. And if we're going to show, we're going to have to get him over that.

He's proven to me a lot, that with experience and clear direction, he comes around wonderfully. So that's the goal!

I've got pics, but will load them a little later. Didn't have a chance to try on the new saddle, but I can say that it's in wonderful condition and beautifully made. And LIGHT! Probably 1/3 of the weight of my Blackburn, which is a lot.

Maybe Tuesday I'll get out to try it on him...

We also moved him back with the big herd because he's getting left out and picked on by the other horses he's with. Not sure what I think as I like him in the back paddock better (more room and fewer horses), but I think he'd benefit from hanging out with the others...hmm...

Well, I'm off to go oil my new saddle!!


  1. Crossing the border has become really crazy. I remember years ago crossing the border to go visit a friend's horse that was with a trainer and not even having any ID with me. Times have changed. What a stressful day for you. Looking forward to hearing about the new saddle.

  2. You won my giveaway! Please see my blog for details:)

  3. Holy crap, what an emotional roller coaster! I hate traffic and caught in traffic that is making me late drives me crazy. That border crossing incident is a bit unnerving. Glad it worked out. I have a Courbette and I am looking forward to seeing yours.

  4. Wolfie, what do you think of your courbette? I'm pretty pleased with the fit and finish of the one I got so far, but am having trouble getting it to polish up nicely... : ( (using "Leather CPR" that the local tack shop suggested...)