Saturday, September 29, 2012

Almost There!

Sometimes flying horses on cargo planes can get pretty crazy.  This has been one of those times where a good sense of humor and flexibility that would rival Gumby and Pokey come in handy.

During the past month we had the privilege of preparing some adorable miniature donkeys to fly to South Africa, along with some beautiful Arabian horses to go to Saudi Arabia and a very nice mixed group of miniature donkeys, Quarter horses and a Missouri Fox Trotter to go to the EU this week.  Everything was going along quite nicely ... until departure day.

The flight was scheduled for departure from Houston on Wednesday night - well, actually, a few minutes past midnight on Thursday morning.  So, as is our fashion, we called the airline before leaving the ranch (All of you show people know the rule - call before you haul!) - and found out that the plane was delayed by a couple of hours.  Oh, just a couple of hours.  No problem.  That just gave us a little more time to get everyone loaded.

The airline told us to call back in about 45 minutes for an update.  So we did.  And then we learned that the plane was going to be delayed by at least 5 hours - or maybe more.  They really didn't know, because the plane hadn't even arrived at the hub airport in Europe yet - much less taken off for Houston. 

Hmmm.  This was turning into a long day.  So we left the horses in their stalls and sat around for a few more hours, waiting to find out when we were really going to need to leave for the airport.  We were getting a little anxious because the donkeys for South Africa had a connecting flight to catch.  Were we going to make the connection?  Could the airline delay the connection?  What was going to happen if they couldn't make it?  Would the quarantine in Jo'berg accept them if they arrived late?  Anxiety started to creep into our otherwise happy little brains.

More time passed - and finally we got word that we would be loading the containers at about 3:00 a.m.   The plane had left the airport in Europe so that was a good sign.  So, Terry and Megan and Henry and all the equines headed out the gate and down the road to Houston.

When they got there, they learned that the crew had run out of duty time - so guess what?  More delays.  Loading time would be at 8:00 a.m.  So ... horses and donkeys had a nice night's rest in the airport stalls and Terry, Henry and Megan had a less than comfortable night sleeping in the trucks!

This meant that the donkeys for South Africa would miss their connecting flight - and would have to stay in Europe til Sunday night, arriving in Jo'berg on Monday morning.  This would be fine except for one little problem.  Their import permit was set to expire at midnight Sunday!  Thanks to his charming personality and positive attitude, Gert Vortser was able to get a one-day extension approved through the South African authorities.  Whew!  That was a worry off our minds.

Finally, at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, the plane took off.  The horses to Saudi Arabia had also missed their connecting flight, but happily their import permits would still be valid for their arrival on Monday morning.

So, I am happy to report that our European-bound horses and donkey are at home with their owners now.  Thank you, Renate Daub, Dirk Hendrickx and Veronique Placet for sharing your animals with us!

The donkeys and Arabian horses are safe and sound in Luxembourg, waiting for their flights tomorrow night.  Thank you for your patience, Gert Vorster and Harry Moore in South Africa and Dhafer Al Qahtani, Majed Bokami, Abdurahman Alkafan, Yasser Al Hafenawi and Aiman Alshumrani in Saudi Arabia.  Thank you also for allowing us to share in your animal's journey.  It has been a pleasure working with each of you.  And as they say, all is well that ends well!

An extra special thank you also to our friend and professional horse groom Hans Van Dyke for meeting the donkeys in Luxembourg and accompanying them to Johannesburg.  We appreciate you more than you can ever know, Hans.  And we can't wait for you and Els to visit us in November!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Horses to Riyadh and Dammam

We have just completed shipments of some more beautiful Arabian horses to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Some went to Riyadh and others to Dammam.  Thank you, Hatham, Mohammed, Ibrahim, Vidya and Ghassan for sharing your lovely horses with us. And, as always, a huge thank you to Dr. Mohammed Al Hamad for your assistance with ensuring that all went smoothly.  We appreciate you all very much and look forward to the opportunity to work with you again in the near future.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Our first shipment to Iraq!

We are very proud to announce that our first-ever shipment to the country of Iraq is happening today.  Many thanks are due to Anwar Mangal and Amir Orders for their hard work in paving the way for this shipment on the arrival side.  It was quite a learning experience as we worked through and overcame a number of interesting and sometimes frustrating challenges along the way.  However, with patience and perseverence, we got through the difficulties and now this first group of Iraq-bound horses are at the airport, waiting for flight time.  Many thanks to Abdur Rahman Mohammed for your faith and trust in our ability to make this happen.  We look forward to shipping many more horses for you in the future!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

horses to the EU and Kuwait

Wow.  September is here!  And we have already had our first September shipment.  Today horses left Amsterdam for Kuwait.  Thank you Rashed, Ali and Khalid for sharing your lovely Arabian mares with us.  It was a pleasure caring for them and we look forward to shipping horses for you again in the future.

Thank you also to Virginie of France, Gorill of Norway, Marije of the Netherlands and Christina from Germany for sharing your horses with us.  They arrived in Amsterdam on August 30th.

We are currently gathering horses for our next quarantine groups for Amsterdam, Kuwait and Dammam, Saudi Arabia - so let us know if you are ready to book a space for your horse!

We also find ourselves in the unusual situation of having horses for sale.  If you are looking for a nice Arabian stallion, a Half-Arabian mare or a weanling Paint Colt - send us an email.  We have these horses for sale, and they are all very nice quality animals.  The top photo is the stallion - MC Niitrous and the bottom photo is the mare, Sweet Lady Fames. Both photos were taken when the horses were on the show circuit.   Email me for photos of the colt or for more information about any or all of these horses.