Two leading eventers had travel problems as they rushed back from Kentucky to compete at Badminton.
“It’s just added to my list of bad luck at the moment,” said the New Zealand eventer, whose top horse Wesko is injured and who fell off at the penultimate fence at Kentucky. “It’s a bit boring, really tedious.”
Tim was originally scheduled to travel home on Sunday night, but when he fell off on Saturday he decided to travel immediately and ride Cloud Dancer II at Withington (30 April — 1 May). The horse was entered for the event with Tim’s wife Jonelle, but with Wesko off the road, he is now one of Tim’s options for Rio and he is taking him to Saumur CCI3* (19-22 May).
Tim’s first flight was from Lexington to Charlotte, North Carolina.
“There was bad weather across Charlotte, so they landed us in on a rural runway about 50 miles away and we sat there for 3½ hours on our little tiny plane, with a broken toilet, not drinking much water,” said Tim.
By the time the plane reached Charlotte, Tim had missed his connecting flight to London and it was 1.30am on Sunday. After trying three hotels, he found a bed for the night.
“The next day I got up, tried to do a bit of sightseeing, but there isn’t much to see,” said Tim. “I headed back to the airport on Sunday evening and jumped on the 6.40pm flight.
“We sat there for 3½ hours, waiting for the weather to get better. Then they taxied us to the runway, but said there was a problem so we needed to go back and refuel, but there was nowhere to park, so we waited another three hours.
“When we made it back to the gate, they took off a lady in a burkha, because they thought she was something to do with a jammed toilet door. Then they opened the door cautiously and it was just jammed, so they apologised to her.”
With the seven-hour delay, the pilots would have been over their permitted flying hours if the flight had gone ahead, so it was cancelled and Tim was off to find a hotel for the night again.
“By this time all my Kiwi mates who had left Kentucky on Sunday night were home,” he said.
After another day in Charlotte, he finally caught the overnight flight on Monday night and reached his Wiltshire home about 9.30am on Tuesday (3 May). He will be leaving tonight for Badminton with his ride, Ringwood Sky Boy.
“I’m going to do a bit of jump training with Luis Alvarez Cevera, wash some clothes and head to Badminton,” he said.
Drama for Jung
Tim was not the only person to have a drama getting to Badminton from Kentucky. US website Eventing Nation reported that Michael Jung and his parents Brigitte and Joachim were bumped from their overbooked flight out of Lexington on Sunday night.
Luckily kind eventing fans Asia Vedder, Michelle Emmermann and Holger (Max) Hoetzel gave up their seats so the Jungs could fly to Houston and make it to Britain sooner.
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Meanwhile commentators Mike Tucker, Giles Rowsell and John Kyle missed their flight out of Lexington on Sunday night, resulting in delayed returns home. John made it to Britain this morning, with Mike and Giles expected back tomorrow. All three will be working at Badminton this week.