Alice Dunsdon’s Adelaide blog: We’ve made it!

  • I can’t quite believe I’m here. I’m actually here in Australia with my horse of a lifetime. We’ve made it. WE’VE MADE IT!

    Following on from my last blog, we arrived in Singapore, the aeroplane was refuelled and some cargo was taken off and other cargo put on.

    As the door opened to Singapore airport the heat and humidity hit you. There was a deep fog like mist throughout the whole plane caused by the air conditioning, which meant visibility was very poor. The experienced flying grooms told me that you can be in Singapore for up to three hours while cargo is loaded and you can sometimes even have to change planes. Luckily for us it was a fairly quick turn around and horses stayed on board so we were up in the air again in no time at all.

    The next leg of our journey was about eight hours. Straight after take-off, when the captain gives the all clear, we go down and check the horses. We allow them to drop their heads and offer water regularly. They have haylage throughout the flight and Hilly (Fernhill Present) also ate carrots in water and wet Readigrass. I love Readigrass – if you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it for horses that are bad drinkers as it’s a brilliant way to get some water into them.

    We landed in Sydney at around 2pm and the relief that Hilly had travelled well was overwhelming. Straight from the plane, Hilly and I were loaded up on an IRT transporter to head to Sydney quarantine.

    When we arrived I looked at my watch, which was still set at at UK time, and it read 6.10am. The flight took around 28 hours and Hilly looked happy and well, but we were exhausted and I could see behind his eyes how tired he was. He’s never been a particularly affectionate horse, but on that last leg of the journey I felt a huge responsibility to make him as comfortable and reassured as possible and I could tell he needed me.

    When we arrived at quarantine I put Hilly straight into his stable and watched him drink and roll. I would recommend always watching your horse roll in a new stable in case they get cast or do something silly and injure themselves.

    After I had sorted out all the paperwork and unloaded the lorry, I went to see Hilly after he’d had a little quiet time to himself.

    He had his temperature taken and was checked over by the vet. His temperature and heart rate were good and bloods will be taken too.

    We were both tired, but I would not be controlling the controllable if I didn’t walk him out after such a long time confined to such a small area. His legs were still filled and wanted to walk them down and get his blood circulating. Surprisingly this does not take very long to do this and after a good 15 minute walk his legs were back to normal.

    I gave Hilly a small wet feed (I will talk about his feed and hay in more detail in my next blog) and soaked hay, nothing too rich, then put him to bed.

    I sat with him for a while not wanting to leave him but I know if he was a human he would be telling me to go away and leave him alone to rest. I went to the head of the stable block and watched from afar and he seemed settled. In quarantine they have IRT grooms that live on site. They check the horses regularly and there is also 24 hour security so if there was any problem I would get a phone call immediately.

    As I walked away I couldn’t help but wonder, was this too much? I love Hilly as if he were family and his health is my utmost priority. The days to come will tell me whether it is or not.

    Until next time when I will update you on Hilly, spiders and running out of clothes in quarantine!

    Alice x

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