Monday, June 21, 2010

Austria, Austria

W warming up for the CDI*** Achleiten. Photo by Danielle Thomason.

Austria is not normally on my showing tour, but I seem drawn to it this summer! We drove through the Austrian Alps to get to Lipica two weeks ago, and this weekend finds all of us (Danielle, myself, Gizmo and W) back on the road. This time we landed at Schloss Achleiten, the home of Victoria Max-Theurer in Austria.

Danielle, Gizmo and W made the trip in what has been dubbed by others as the “Swedish Taxi.” Gizmo views the little blue truck as his doghouse on wheels, and W seems perfectly content to munch his hay on these long cross-European tours. He is learning to travel.

I flew into Linz yesterday after a brief change of planes in Munich. I get my best sleep on airplanes, Rita. My response to “Please fasten your seatbelts...” is as Pavlovian as Gizmo’s response to dog treats except that he salivates, and I fall asleep. I can’t remember the last time I was actually awake for a take off.

Buckling my seat belt made me fall sleep before the plane was ever off the runway in Munich, but I woke up 20 minutes later with a start. Our little prop plane was losing altitude, making sounds like a struggling lawn mower, and just managing to stay above the hayfields below us. I thought, “OMG, we don’t have enough power to reach altitude. We are going to make a crash landing in the hay!”

None of the other passengers seemed concerned about our impending doom, however, so I played it cool until a runway appeared out of nowhere, and we landed rather unremarkably in Linz. I had no idea how short the flight between Munich and Linz really is! Twenty-five minutes gives a whole new meaning to the expression “hopper.”

Another 20 minutes in a taxi and the domes of Achleiten Castle marked my arrival at the show.

It’s hot here, Rita—86° in the shade and forecasts of higher temperatures tomorrow. I normally use electrolytes when the horses travel, but in this kind of weather they get a dose with every meal to offset the debilitating effects of dehydration. Travel stress combined with hard work and high temperatures can be a dangerous thing. Take special care.

A small group of us arrived here yesterday. After unloading and hosing off the horses, we found a bit of relief from the heat at the Biergarten in my hotel. A nice finish to a long day.

I rode W early this morning to avoid the heat, and all of us will be on hand for the vet check this afternoon. More competitors are arriving as I write this, and the competition will begin tomorrow.

Here is a short video intro to the show. More soon, Rita!

I’m Catherine Haddad, and I’m sayin it like it is from Achleiten, Austria.

Training Tip of the Day: Dehydration is the biggest danger during transport, especially in the summer months. Try to travel at night when it is cooler and support your horse’s hydration with electrolytes.

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