It’s the evening of 23 September, two days before we go into quarantine. We are going into quarantine couple of days later than expected as final vet checks need to take place tomorrow.

“Jenny!” I shouted from across the yard.

“Jenny!” sounding ever more like a banshee.

“Irish!”

“YES!” replied my ever faithful groom.

“Do we have everything?!”

Jenny (pictured packing) took a few moments to reply,

“I think so!”

Good, I thought. That usually means yes.

We came to a conclusion that I think most people come to before they travel; as long as we have the horse (a necessity that my mother once forgot), my saddle, the passports and Hilly’s extra shoes we would be fine. You can buy pretty much everything else if you forget it.

However, I’m sure my friend Emma Grellis from our locally saddlery will disagree. We have indeed bought everything you can buy. Jenny and I have discussed every possible scenario we might face in quaurtine while in the UK and Adelaide.

Snow (unlikely but one can never can be to sure with climate change these days), monsoons, hurricanes, twisters, Sahara Desert heat. Whatever the elements throw at us we will be ready!

Trying to pack for you and your horse “back packer” style is not easy. We have limited ourselves to 12042990_10205417324456110_3970911161520269828_ntwo main trunks (as demonstrated right). Boarding school type trunks but without the yummy tuck inside.

Speaking of tuck, Hilly’s tuck more commonly know as feed, has had to be changed.

Hilly is normally fed on Spillers and Dodson and Horrell; a mixture of nuts, mix and chaff. Early on we found out it was near impossible to get this feed out to Australia to meet us in Sydney quarantine. I rang an old chum of mine, Kate Kenny, who is based in Australia and used to compete in eventing herself. I asked what she fed her horses and what she recommended. She suggested a feed brand called Mitavite. I was quick to email them and they suggested that we moved Hilly slowly onto Keyflow feed as it was the most similar to their product.

Hilly has taken well to the diet change. We have also had to think about his roughage intake. We will not be able to import any hay or haylage into Australia. This is a slight worry but it’s one I have no control over.

12032953_10153677747801060_9102181809574162196_nSupplements have also been an issue. I usually use Lintbells’ range. They are amazing sponsors of mine and their products really work but unfortunately I am not allowed to import their range into Australia. Luckily Nupafeed do a huge range of supplements here in the UK and Australia, so we have again slowly introduced these into Hilly’s diet and he has taken to them well.

We have been told that everything that goes with Hilly must be quarantine treated, i.e fumigated. Rugs, tack, bandages, boots, grooming kit, buckets, everything.

Every time I go into ride him I must be quarantine treated. Interpret that how you like…

Hilly (left) has had one of his final canters at home and he feels great. I can’t help but wonder, does he have any idea what is about to happen?

I am getting very excited! Part one of this epic challenge is about to commence and I cannot wait!

Until next time when I’m fumigated fantastically clean.

Take care,

Alice xx