TO FLY OR NOT TO FLY? THAT IS THE QUESTION

Ben pony has since mid November 2013 done 3 trips to the East from WA. There was Adelaide in November, Sydney in April and Melbourne in June. These trips are respectively 2500km, 3900km and 3200km. That means in 8 months he has done 9600km and that is only the trips outside WA. A dressage lesson for me means a 900km round trip.

So one of the questions once he was named on the team was how do we get Ben East yet again?

Equestrian Australia have a travel arrangement with IRT (International Racehorse Transport ) to take our horses from Melbourne to Europe. At this stage IRT do not fly West to East in Australia. This I am told is something they are working on but not in time to get Ben to Melbourne.

There is another carrier who do the route whom IRT are working closely with to try and pull it off but the number of horses that want to fly at the moment are limited.

 We could send Ben by him self but here in lies the conundrum. Ben has a very low boredom threshold. With another horse to share the journey he would have someone to annoy.

A great friend of mine Sally Gwynn trained her children to travel in a car beautifully. At the start of the trip she had a bag of lollies in the car. Every time the children played up a lolly went out the window. Now can I apply this to Ben? He likes carrots but the pilot may get grumpy if I open a window!

 Next idea, eye spy perhaps? Suggestions please?

One problem with flying is the fact that I have quite a lot of gear to take. Sending this by plane seems a ridiculous waste of money to me. However if I don't need to tow a float I don't really need to take a car. What to do.

Ramseys horse transport are a Perth based company that specialise in transporting horses across Australia. I have in the course of my travels got to know them quite well. Our paths often converge at Mundrabilla Station which is about 1 hour west of the WA/SA border.

This very old and enormous station is home to Colin and Bree Cambell. At the station they have built a great set of yards we can spell horses in. If you want to you can hire the cottage and have a very comfortable bed. All at an unbelievably cheap rate. You are talking ambience plus here.

Ramseys also use these yards to spell the horses over night. You see the horses wrapped up in any rugs owners have requested with lots of feed and water having a good sleep.

As a result of these meetings in the middle of the Eyre Hwy I took the liberty of ringing Ramseys and asking if they could possibly take my gear if Ben did fly. Bless them they agreed. They said to call it their contribution to getting me to WEG. Another random act of kindness to help me on the way.

The other problem with this flight is the flight stables are open topped due to the smaller aircraft. To stop the horses jumping out they put a neck strap on and anchor them to the floor. I can just imagine Ben spending the whole trip working out how to undo the knots. Well at least that would be one less game of eye spy!

The next problem with flying is how do I get around in Melbourne?

Once again it's friends to the rescue. Neil Clinton who Jaguar and I based with prior to Beijing Olympics said no probs I can lend you a towing vehicle while Caroline Taylor has offered me her float. There is another problem solved

So currently Bens owner Nikki, team vet Nathan Antony, my vet Michael Procter and I are weighing up the pros and cons. 4 hours on a plane or 40+ hours on the road. I know Georga and I who would be driving think plane sounds good in terms of time on road for Bens health and safety and also ours.... As long as we can persuade the little toad not to dig up the fuselage and eat the wiring!