Off to Belgium

We arrived last night in Achel, Belgium at Henk Van der Wiel’s. It was comforting to see familiar faces on the evening of our arrival – Andries, Annamique, Margo, and Henk.  Before even unpacking, we started to look for a local restaurant for dinner.  Oh, oh!  It is Wednesday in Achel;  most everything is closed.  (It is no wonder that our USA is the most productive country in the world.  We stay open for business for 24 hours.) After three stops and one phone call, we headed for the Achel Pizzeria, which we were told was open.  It was like …

To Cuts, France

We are staying in a beautiful old hotel in Blerancout, France attending a Concourse de Attelage in Cuts, France held at the chateau of Anne Storme and organized by Antoinette and Christian De Longlad. This type of competition requires antique carriage and horses or ponies of any suitable type for carriage driving, as long as they are presented in the traditional manner. I did not anticipate being in France at this show so did not arrange to drive here. I drove my Frisians here in 1999 and my Andalusians here about seven years ago. A picture of me driving those …

Picking up the SUV

After picking up my car at the docks in South Hampton, we made the decision to drive to Dover and travel through the Eurotunnel at night. We thought it better to stay the night in Calais, France, so we might drive around Paris in mid-day to avoid traffic. Well, the best of plans often go astray. There were problems with the tunnel train, so our crossing under the English Channel was delayed by almost two hours; which meant bedtime was 2AM and there is no way to avoid the Paris traffic no matter what time of day you are there. …

Where do you still hear ‘Clip Clop’?

If you are in England and know where to look the sounds of horses, the images of horses, and the real things are everywhere. At the Prince’s birthday party for his equestrian friends … on a stage at the New London Theater (War Horse) … in the British Museum … or at the Royal Paddocks … they are everywhere. My first experience hearing the sound of horses while visiting England was the ‘clip clop’ of horses at Hampton Court Palace, while we were standing in the courtyard watching the guests arriving at the palace for a banquet hosted by Henry …

Young adults are headed back to USA tomorrow. What great people! David Saunders picked us up in London, and we are in Windsor to pick up hat boxes and extra suitcases that we left here during our bus tour of Great Britain. Globus bus tour was great in that we got to really see the landscape and major cities of England, Wales, and Scotland. Amy really liked the Scottish countryside littered with wooly sheep and recently born lambs. We overloaded Gene with visits to churches. The boys, Corey and Steve, noticed all the mechanical details of the buildings and machinery, …

A Prince, Horses and a Birthday Party

The flight was flawless and the British do know how to be on time. David Saunders picked me up at the airport and was my escort to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Equestrian Birthday Party celebrating Prince Philip’s 90th year as a blue blood and horse enthusiast. Prince PhillipThe Prince born in 1921, it was fitting that guests contributed to a cigar box made in the year he was born, but newly embossed with an image of the Duke driving his Fell Ponies. As the Prince arrived at the podium, he fained not being able to support the weight of such …

Victorias and Broughams, Country Carts and Peddlers Wagons, Roofseat Breaks and Coaches; all can be seen in very special driving events in Europe. I drove two rented horses and a rented carriage in the coldest of weather in a CAIT event in Diepenheim, Netherlands.  Even though the weather was cold, the spirit of the competitors was warm and enthusiastic.  It was the first of these one-day Sunday events to be held in the Netherlands. As I drove on the 16.7 kilometer Routier (marathon), there was rain and snow flurries blowing sideways into our faces.  I could not keep a hat …