Left nice and early on Friday to get to Dover. It was a beautiful sunny eve and the white cliffs looked very inviting and we were all in great spirits. This was soon dashed when Mr Sea France man said we didn’t have our export licence and we couldn’t travel! The atmosphere in the camp soon changed and everyone realised it was rather serious- eventually a very nice man from DEFRA turned up from Ramsgate and issued us with an emergency one. We missed the first ferry at 6.40 and ended up getting the 8.00pm. Export licence is still somewhere in the computer system. Eventually we got on the boat and the ponies were excellent and didn’t bat an eye lid at all so we left them eating hay and went and had some dinner!!!

We got off the boat driving on the right hand side and headed towards our overnight stabling. As we headed down the motorway there were road works and both our junctions we needed were closed off so we had to do another U turn a few junctions along. Eventually we found our stop over in Calais but everyone else was already tucked up in bed so we unloaded in the dark and put the ponies in the extra large stables that we could have lunged them in! Ponies settled in fine and we got into bed all 4 of us in the front of the lorry and Carl in the back and Les and Pete in their lorry.

The following morning we were all up a 5.30am. Sara fed whilst the rest of us packed all the living areas up. We loaded the ponies on the lorry and headed off in the dark heading South in France for Strasbourg. Sara at the wheel for the next 4 hours. The roads were excellent and there was hardly any traffic. We popped the music into the CD player and all started singing away ready for the next 10 hour leg of the journey! We went through Reims and headed towards Metz. Ponies munching happily in the back, Phil and Sarah snoozing in the back. After their 4 hours, Sara and Pete had done their stint of driving so the 2nd in command took over Trish and Les. Nervously, Pete and Sara got into the passenger seats and let us take over. We got into the drive and did the next 3 hours which gave the others a chance for a sleep. The roads were amazingly quiet and we had a fantastic drive through southern France, before finally swapping over outside Strasbourg. Each time we stopped we offered the ponies a drink and most of them had one. We had this special stuff called thirst quencher which you put into the water and it makes them want to drink- it was excellent stuff.

The final leg of the journey took us into Baden-Baden race course. Trish was navigating and as we neared the final stop over tensions got a little high as we drove up a one way street and missed the turning. We finally found our stop over and unloaded the ponies into these massive stables but with doors that they could not look over. There was lots of whinnying as they could not see each other.

As the last of our fellow competitors arrived, James Broom ( 2 blow outs later!) as he put his ramp down out ran a little kitten that had snuck in and had come all the way from Calais!! After much discussion it was decided that we would ring the stables in Calais and they said they wanted the cat couriered back to them. We all had a shower with a few offers from the boys for a communal one! and had some tea (lasagne and salad)and settled down for bed early at about 9.00pm ready for the next days journey.

Early up on Sunday am at 5.30pm and it was pouring down with and blowing a gale. We did the tacho for the 2 drivers and Sara set off following Julie Camm- who was driving like a women on a mission. We stopped at the first garage only to find that they wouldn’t take HGV’s so after some reversing and causing chaos on the French roads set off on the autobahn heading towards Munich. You could barely see the lanes on the road! We had some breakfast on route and then stopped after 4 hours for Trish and Les to take over again. Sara had a kip in the back and we drove all around Munich up and down through the mountains as it was blowing a gale. George (the lorry) was getting a bit hot again so we had to have the blower on in the front. It was a really miserable day and rained the whole way. Sara took over for the last 2 hours of the journey. The final stop over was at the Glock Performance Centre and if you google it and have a look it was an amazing place. Really beautiful and the stables were stunning with solariums and wash down areas. We put the ponies out in a paddock and they went mad bucking and kicking and rolling in the mud. We then gave them a bath later and made the most of the facilities. We had shepherd’s pie for tea and lots of wine as the rain poured down and thunder and lightening struck.

Ponies slept in fly rugs as it was so warm and were protected by security guards all night.

It was a race in the morning who could leave first and Anna and Julie left at 7am. We left  about 7.30 and headed into the Karawanken Tunnel which was 6 miles long through the mountains. It was absolutely blowing a gale and lashing down with rain and thunder and lightening. We carried on through the mountains headed into Slovenia and then into Italy. Eventually we arrived at show ground about 11.30ish and were waved in by a very wet Slovenian guy. The ponies were unloaded and had their temps taken and were checked by the official vet. It was absolutely pouring down and luckily the showground is hard standing! They had travelled very well and looked good. They are in stable block 6 with stallions opposite and the girls are now in season. Parking on the campsite was the size of a postage stamp and there were rather heated tempers as everyone tried to get their spot. We are wedged in and have a hornets nest in the tree next door!! All Brits are now parked with bunting flying and camps set up and tea urns on the go. We have put up all the GB flags on the lorries and red, white and blue tape on the carriages! We then checked out the hotels and had some beers with James Broome and his dad and saw the Lipica stallions been herded through the camp site. We then had a lovely chicken dinner cooked by Lesley and lots of wine. Ponies were taken for a good walk and had some grass. We have all now settled in and got the base camp sorted out.

Tues am Sara has been for a drive with 2 pairs and ponies are definitely feeling very fresh. They are going to have a good drive this afternoon in the main arena with all the spooky flags.