Hey everyone, sorry for the delay in posting! This is really the first chance I’ve had to sit down and write since we left. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s happened so far:
Monday – My husband and I left Sherwood Park on Monday afternoon
and made the 6-hour drive to Prince Albert, SK. We enjoyed a quick date night at Mr. Mikes (food was fabulous!) before grabbing a hotel. As you can see, the weather was gorgeous.
For any of you who have never been to Lloydminster, these 2 red posts mark the border between Alberta and Saskatchewan, which runs right through the center of town.
Tuesday – We were up and out of the hotel by 7 am and were blessed with another beautiful day for driving. We arrived at Avant Garde Canadians at around 8:30 and sadly my husband had to leave immediately to make the trip back home to catch a flight the following day. Remember those supportive horse spouses I mentioned? They actually DO exist, and I’ve been fortunate enough to find one!
While I was sorry to see him go, it did leave me free to spend the majority of the day just loving horses while Monique finished packing! I have no idea how she gets any work done, I could pass hours just standing with these animals, soaking in their presence.
Avant Garde Uriel Divinity
Black Diamond Divinity Illicit & Locksley Kidou Illuminati
There’s something about these massive animals running to the fence just to be loved and scratched that melts my heart. Standing there, that softer than velvet muzzle in my hand, the warm breath with the faintest metallic tang on my face, and those eyes, so deep, so incredibly expressive, just starring at me with total trust and relaxation. No artifice, no deception, just a free spirit who’s honored me with their affection.
If I sound a little excessive in my obsession with just communing with horses, please understand I haven’t so much as touched a horse since May, I’m suffering withdrawal! Plus, how could anyone not fall head over heals for animals that are not only spectacularly gorgeous, but so incredibly friendly and affectionate?
Coline Azhuree Gwendolyn
Wednesday – The magical day arrived! I woke at 4am, ready to go (lol can you say excited?) Thankfully, Monique was up early as well, and we finished getting everything ready. We had to make sure the “Monster Rig”, was loaded. This is a photo of our home for the foreseeable future. Obviously, Monique does all the driving as there is no way I was driving something this huge!
Finally, our precious cargo was on board, and it was time to hit the road! We have been absolutely blessed with fantastic weather and we made excellent time. We made a quick stop in Lorette, MB to visit the exact center of Canada. However, it was on a small dirt road with no where to turn around and only one small driveway to back into. Monique, however, was undaunted and backed that beast into the driveway in a perfect 3-point turn! The gentleman standing on the side of the road starring seemed even more impressed than I was!
Then we were back on the road and drove until about 8pm before stopping somewhere in northern Ontario. We found a decent spot at the back of a truck stop and settled in for a much-needed night of sleep. It was not to be, however. One of the horses we were transporting (Black Diamond Divinity Illicit) is only a yearling and while he trailered like a pro and contentedly munched his hay the whole trip, he did not like being parked and not being allowed to get out. So, we checked water buckets, made sure he had enough hay and went back to bed. Nope, kept pawing and moving around, which of course shakes the whole trailer! After maybe an hour’s sleep, we hit the road again. We tried again a while later and managed to get a whole 3 hours sleep this time before hitting the road again.
Thursday - We drove until around 11am when we found a beautiful spot with a gas station, a restaurant and most importantly, room for the rig and a place to unload the horses. As you can
see the view was spectacular and the boys were perfect gentlemen! After a long stretch and a good graze, they went back into the trailer and Monique battened down the hatches while I ran over and grabbed us lunch. No time to stop for a leisurely brunch on this trip!
It seems like most of northern Ontario is covered in two lane highways that twist up and down hill after hill. After dark the number of big trucks on these roads increase drastically and they are not exactly interested in slowing down for anyone. I was white knuckled in the passenger seat on more than one occasion, while Monique drove on, seemingly unphased. Of course, I’ve already told her she must have balls of steel to handle 3 stallions, so I’m not sure why this surprised me!
We found another truck stop and after tending the horses, settled in for the night. Despite our exhaustion, or perhaps because of it, the hilarity of…well everything, hit us and I’m sure the truckers wondered what the hell we were giggling about! But we had to sleep! So, we finally quieted and started to doze of. HA! Thought we were going to get to sleep, didn’t you?? Wouldn’t that have been nice! The little man was at it again.
Now, it’s the 3rd day with not enough sleep, but I can sleep in the truck. So, I decided that Monique needed to sleep far more than I did, and I set out to keep him company while she grabbed some shuteye. I must admit, it’s not as altruistic as it might sound. I fell so madly in love with this little boy that I didn’t want to pass up an opportunity to spend more time with him before he went to his new home.
I have mixed emotions about the fact that nobody got a picture of me that night, but it was so incredibly ridiculous, I’ll share it with you, so you can laugh at me as hard as I did. It was 4am at this point, I’m wearing tropical print PJ’s, a flannel and my work boots, sitting in a lawn chair in the truck stop parking lot, talking to a horse! Apparently, it worked though because he settled down and around 5am I was able to come in and get some sleep. We slept to the obscene hour of 9am!
Friday – Back on the road we found another truck stop with a huge back lot that ran right up to grass and trees. We parked in the back and unloaded the boys again so they could stretch and put their heads down. Monique stood still while Yugo quietly grazed around her, while Illicit led me all over the field. Please understand, this is NOT a case of lack of manners, lol the fault was entirely mine. I am so incredibly smitten with this boy he has me wrapped around his little hoof!
Back on the road, we grabbed lunch at a town called New Liskard (I only know that because I asked a very confused looking waitress where I was) and then set out for our first destination.
We arrived at Tangled Dreams, home of Andrea White around 6PM. I was so happy to see that she was as thrilled with Illicit as I was!
Andrea and her daughter Karli live in Coldwater, Ontario on a lovely farm that was once used to rehab racehorses. It’s fitting that they should reside here as their herd includes several special care rescues that will live out their days in peace, receiving top quality care and all the love they could desire, thanks to these ladies. In fact you can read the story of Libby and the struggle to rehab her feet on the Formahoof site under laminitis care!
After getting everyone unloaded and settled for the night, we spent a few hours getting to know Andrea and Carly (well at least I did, as Monique already knew them) before our stomachs decided dinner was in order.
No roughing it for us! The trailer is fully loaded, running water, fridge, furnace (and a/c!) bathroom, microwave, stove; glamping works for me!
After days of fresh air and exercise I’m sadly not used to, dinner was the best thing I’ve ever tasted, but with a full belly came exhaustion. Andrea was gracious enough to offer us her shower and Monique managed to go get one, but while she was gone, I dozed off sitting at the table and decided maybe it was time to call it a night.
I’ve spent most of the last four days tired, wet, covered in horse snot (I wasn’t fast enough to dodge the sneeze), as predicted, with hay in my bra, grime under my nails and mud in my boots, and I don’t think I’ve ever been happier! Stay tuned for more adventures!
PS: If you're wondering why there are no photos of Monique; she's been threatening to strap me to the roof like Bill Murray in What About Bob since before we left, so I decided maybe it's best not to push my luck!