Twas the night
Before the flight
The nerves have set in
Yet Hilly oblivious and is calm within.

The bags are all packed
By the stables with care
In hopes
That all horses travel well in pair.

The horses are nestled
All safe in their beds
While visions of kangaroos
Are dancing in our heads.

One last kiss to say goodnight
Hilly I do hope you will be alright!

I have a secret to tell you. I had help with that from Jenny (pictured above with Hilly), oh and also I don’t like flying.

Hilly rolling in quarantine

Hilly rolling in quarantine

I have never understood the whole concept of 450 tonnes being up in the air. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of these nervous flyers that shriek every time we hit a bit of turbulence. I’m more of the type that clings onto arm rests so tight my knuckles go white.

So many emotions are going through me right now. I am excited but I am nervous of the unknown for Hilly (Fernhill Present) and I. I worry how he will cope with such a long flight. What will he be thinking? How will he cope?

Horses are confined to box rest or even crossed tied for much longer periods of time but we cannot escape the fear of travel sickness or other travel related issues. My cousin Tina Cook has just had to make the awful decision to put to sleep De Novo News after he suffered with complications from shipping fever.

For those of you who have not come across shipping fever or travel sickness, it is a bacterial infection of the lungs and pleural space around the lungs. Otherwise know as pleuropneumonia. Horses may contract this if they have been traveling for over four hours but as we all know, not all horses fit the mould!

Horses are more likely to get shipping fever if their heads are tied up in a high position. Horses need to be able to drop their heads to clear mucus from their respiratory system as this makes a wonderful breeding ground for bacterial infection.

With vet Amy Kelly on board the plane and the very experienced flying grooms who will be with Hilly, I am happy we are all controlling the controllable. We will take every measure possible to make sure Hilly has a happy, healthy, safe flight. The horses are our utmost priority.

At the beginning of this week Hilly was shod in quarantine by Mark Spriggs and we have two sets of Hilly’s shoes with us if he is needs to be shod again whilst we are out there. Unfortunately Mark will not be flying out with us! Some horses have their shoes off for flying but Hilly will have his shoes left on and taped up to to and prevent him pulling them off.

Hilly's wings!

Hilly’s wings!

Earlier today Hilly was given his IRT headcollar or as I like to say, Hilly has been given his wings! I honestly cannot believe we have almost completed leg one of this epic adventure. The time has flown by and a part of me will be sad to leave our little safe bubble here in Newmarket.

My boyfriend Dave has been brilliant at keeping me calm. He knows me better than anyone and although I may appear laidback on the outside I’m actually like a duck on water with my legs paddling madly below the surface.

Not only am I worried about what’s in store for us with the flight, Sydney quarantine, the drive to Adelaide, the two weeks before the competition at the Magic Millions Complex and then the actual competition, but I’m also worried about my yard at home.

I have left Amanda Lysaght in charge at home and I am confident everything will be ok but I am still away for six weeks and I can’t help but worry like a mother hen. Most of my horses have been turned away on holiday. I still have a few in though such as hunters. Helen Wilson will be going into school a couple of horses twice a week for me. I love the way she rides and she has legs Cindy Crawford would die for.

Me with Dave

Me with Dave

I am in my seventh season of Mastership of the Surrey Union Hunt. This responsibility is a huge part of my life and to be leaving just before the start of the main hunting season isn’t ideal. I wish everyone all the best for our opening meet — for any Master this is probably one of their toughest days of the season or even their life! Good luck! Lizzie Calvert MFH, you will do a brilliant job field Mastering for the opening meet! ( I write this tongue in cheek because normally I field Master for the day and I know Lizzie will do a brilliant job if she accepts the challenge!)

I want to mention in this blog if you have any questions for me about quarantine or the travelling involved please email me at alicedunsdon@yahoo.com and I will try and answer them in my next blog!

Until next time, when if all goes to plan I will be down under!

Alice x