Mini Tour Of Gemert

September 28, 2009

A local was kind enough to give me a mini tour of Gemert this afternoon after finding out I hadn’t done anything but walk to the square, the Lidl market, drive to Anky’s, a horse show and Eindhoven thus far. Gemert totally reminds me of Ashland, Oregon and definitely makes me home sick (home for me has been Ashland since I moved there in the mid 90s)! It’s this cute little town with shops, restaurants, a complete little town living experience yet with cobblestone roads, a church from the 15th century and a great deal of sad history from WW2. There’s so many neat stories about Gemert that I’ve heard only in a short time but here’s a few pictures of my little walking tour yesterday.

The vast majority is Catholic here. I’m guessing typical none practicing Catholics except for high holidays kind of Catholics tho. This is an amazing church in the middle of town. I can see it from my flat and hear the bells chime on a regular basis. It’s quite soothing actually.


This is a tomb in the very old cementary adjacent to the church. Many of the graves were dated 1800s!


This is the inside of the church. So it’s not Notre Dame but it was quite a lovely building. They were about to have a funeral so we quickly exited.


I don’t know the Catholic term for this but it’s the pulpit where the priest stands. As per the course, beautiful stained glass.


What would my mini Gemert tour be without a final stop in front of the flat where Anky lived for 10 years while residing in Gemert. The building is a flower shop on the ground floor then the apartment above.


Compact Cars And Fuel Economy

September 27, 2009

So I has just finished filling up my super compact car hire with the cheapest petrol per litre you can buy here and I spent 37€ (approximately $57.00). I paid and pulled out of the station to follow this vehicle. Of course I would imagine you can’t get these from the car hire and it only goes max 40km per hour (about 25 miles per hour) but I bet the fuel economy is GREAT!

Being so lucky as to have my stable, arena and horse right in my back yard it’s an event to go to Anky’s twice per day (and keep up with HorseGirlTV’s current minimized production schedule). The drive from Gemert to Erp is lovely and only 15 minutes but still it consumes fuel even in my tiny, tiny two door super compact Ford Ka!

I remember driving in Spain, Germany and checking out petrol prices in England while touring the countryside and vowing never to complain about USA prices again. How quickly we forget. Perhaps if our prices were this high the massive trucks would quickly come off the roads? Nah, perhaps we’d just have even poorer rednecks if that were the case? Haha!

Well the car was cute even tho it didn’t have much “get up and go” and it definitely made the SmartCars look big!


Misc Anky And The Netherlands Slice Of Life

September 27, 2009

It’s been a long and short weekend. Is that even possible? Yesterday seemed like it lasted forever but today is going by so quickly. The dedication was yesterday then Anky did a clinic in the afternoon so I gave Carrara the day off with some hand walking and hand grazing. There were large crowds of spectators at the stable and it was really cute to catch a few little girls patting Carrara on the nose as they toured the stable. Future HorseGirls right there! Here’s Carrara doing a tiny bit of digging before she gave herself a good roll!


Traffic was backed up due to an agricultural vehicle on the road so I had the chance to snap this beautiful view of a portion of my drive to the stable lined with trees.


After a long day at the barn I met Marien Hendriks. I just thought this was interesting lighting between the glass and the candle. I was joined for very interesting conversation by a famous local artist, Martien Hendriks, ( who’s not only been commissioned for sculpture at Anky’s stable but has had the honor of the Queen on The Netherlands sitting for him not once but TWICE! Not only with Martien but others here the intellectually stimulating conversation is sooooo welcome. It’s something I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed (apart from conversations with Ex) since leaving Ashland. How fun to be able to openly express your views knowing you’ll create conversation and not stifle someone into fearing your opinions! Awesome! Back to Martien, he’s a very interesting person and some amazing works!!!!! Do check out his website and make sure to see the rearing horse piece! Wow! I’m hoping he’ll give HorseGirlTV an interview as listening to his creating process is very inspiring.


Later at home there’s no explanation for this other than I just thought Picollo was too darn cute in this moment and had to snap a picture. The intensely red carpet is such a nice juxtaposition again his coat.


On the other end of the spectrum of life in the The Netherlands, they do have join the military commercials as well and they too try to make the military look glamorous and action packed for youths. Of course they roll ever other commercial break on MTV! Of course!


And last but certainly not least yesterday evening I went with a friend to Eindhoven to see the downtown nightlife. Eindhoven is an interesting city and, I believe, one of the first ones leveled (in The Netherlands) by Nazi Germany in WW2. Coming round the bend of a small alley this church appears in the city center and of course I had to play tourist and snap a shot. They walked me up to the base to show me to look down these thick clear windows revealing human skeletons of adults, youths and even babies. The whole area was a cemetary packed with people who died from the great plague in the 1300s!!! It was interesting and sad all in the same time to remember the history of knowing it killed about 50% of the entire population! And we thought swine flu was rough!


So no lessons today at Anky’s and I’m off to review my notes from lessons this past week and work hard to train solo today and be even better prepared for my lesson tomorrow!

Dedication At Anky’s Stable

September 26, 2009

I’m not sure of the specifics but there was a dedication with the representative of the Queen of the province at Anky’s stables today. They had a reception. Anky gave a speech. The representative gave a speech. They placed a inscribed stone at the front of the new offices being built onto the indoor and gave a tour of the stables to the guests. Even not speaking Dutch it was quite interesting morning. My highlight was getting to meet Tineke Bartels! I asked her if I could come to see her stable and her reply was of course, bring Anky and we’ll have a coffee! Oh my goodness! How nice they are here! Here’s some photos of the dedication event.

The garden reception…

Anky giving a tour from her private stable…

Tineke looking on at the new stalls in the training barn…

Picollo saying hello to one of Anky’s dogs…

This looks like Sjef is showing some aspects of their quality construction.

The dedication…

Watching Anky’s First Reining Competition

September 24, 2009

I went with Anky, Willeke and Whiz last night about 1.5 hours north from Erp to attend/watch/video Anky’s first reining competition. It was so so cute to see the Dutch walking around in western wear with country music piped through the intercom system. There were some really nice horses there and per Dutch style, everyone was very friendly! It was like I was a child back in Texas again in many ways. Here’s some fun photos. This first one was just odd the see the Oregon Trail in The Netherlands!


I took this one for Chris @ Equestrian Collections!DSCN8232

I started having flashbacks of bad handbags from my childhood at this point!DSCN8235

Yep! That’s a dually in The Netherlands!DSCN8237

Getting ready for warming up. I told them both the Texas saying “Wrangler butts drive cowgirls nuts” and got smiles. 🙂DSCN8244

More getting ready.DSCN8249

Practicing the slides before the class starts.IMG_1908

Sliding stop practice. Whiz is really good at these.IMG_1915

Leaving the pen. I’m wondering if they call it a pen or arena over here?IMG_1920

It was a very fun evening overall. I must cut this short now and get ready to depart for my lesson today! So much fun here!

One last thing, here’s a quick vid clip I took with my iPhone.
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Kermis And Life In Gemert

September 22, 2009

Here’s a few photos of the Kermis going on in Gemert right now. This is the downtown area. The carnival ends today and I can hear the workers outside tearing down the rides and booths. It was quite a cute little carnival (I’m not sure on the translation of Kermis because they call carnival something completely different). Anyway, here’s some pictures and now I must run get ready to head to the stable.





Here’s a photo of the building I live in.

Here’s a photo of the Gemert church. It’s hugely Roman Catholic here. Doug and Patty you should come visit!

This is my workspace.

Flying Horses And I’m Not Talking About The Circus

September 19, 2009

All of this took place, depending upon what time zone you are talking about, between ten in the evening on Thursday the 17th through Saturday evening on the 19th.

The horses were loaded in cargo. Here’s the cargo door closing. Yes it’s blurry but at that point in the trip so was I. Haha!

This is the front door/ramp of Carrara’s container.

This is me and Carrara inside her container.

This is Carrara in her container. All of these are before take off.

So then there was take off. I was stressed having never experienced standing up, facing backwards as a jet liner took off so I wasn’t certain what to expect. As soon as we started going up it was soooooooo amazing! Carrara was standing leaning forward like one of those long jump skiers as the jet ascended into the sky. I could only imagine how good of a stretch this could be for them! Wow! She was quiet through the whole thing but breathing with deep breaths which I understand is standard. We leveled off and all was quiet. She began eating hay. It sounds so simple but being my first time it was simply too cool of an experience. After over 24 hours on the road from North Carolina to New York we were finally in the air and coasting along to Holland. The official KLM groom for the flight was very kind and wonderful to speak with. He raises Dutch Appaloosas which is something I’d never heard of. This of your typical American Quarter App then add the magnificent confirmation of the DWB with very nice movement! The flight seemed so short. The KLM groom offered to sit in the jumper seat (saying he preferred more leg room) and gave me his seat so Olivia the Swiss girl, Ricardo the Columbian guy and I could have more space between one another to relax. I think we all quickly fell asleep! I woke to breakfast being served and knew I needed to go back and check on Carrara to give her some water. She drank some but after almost 48 hours of travel I am sure she was getting dehydrated. She was mellow. Just hanging out and occasionally taking a bite of hay so I didn’t linger as to not keep her up. It seemed so quick that the landing came and just the same as take off, I was in her container standing facing away from the motion. Landing was even more smooth than take off and I recommend standing backwards than sitting forwards for landing on flights. It was very fun. Again, Carrara was a rockstar just being mellow even after landing and during the taxi. We then needed to de-board but the attendants were kind enough to let us watch the cargo people work a bit from afar. Like typical passengers we left out of the plane and went to the car hire. I can’t explain how I felt walking out of Schipol that morning other than I felt like I was home. This isn’t something I’d felt in a long time except when in the presence of Ex. A fun side note on the car hire… Humberto told us to take the red bus as it would take us to the cargo area where we could meet up for customs and taking our horses so Olivia saw a red bus as we were pulling out the parking area and said “follow that” so I did but we ended up going down a buses only area, people were staring at us and it was hilarious. I jokingly stated we I could just smile and apologize for being a dumb American and hopefully they wouldn’t arrest us all but then the Columbia jumped in that we might not have the best of luck with him in the car! Haha! It was hilarious but I am thinking you’d have to be there to fully understand the lack of lucidity in the moment. We arrived to cargo, got our visitors passes and they allowed my car (a cute, tiny Ford Ka) inside. We’re talking cargo as in cargo for many different things including animals. The horse boxes were already inside waiting for us and all we needed to do at this point was to have the vet look at the horses and approve our customs paperwork to be allowed entry. There was plenty of fun conversation, unpacking our gear and Picollo was let out to run around in his cart. He immediately made friends with everyone that came by and the dutch are so nice for dogs, they gave him a disk of water and many, many pats. This is Ricardo wrestling with Picollo while we awaited the vet at the animal hospital KLM cargo.

Oh yes. One very important moment upon arrival to the cargo area is a massive banner with Anky and Salinero was in the area of the horse containers. I couldn’t pass the opportunity to take a photo with the banner.

We offloaded the horses from the containers. Again Carrara was a superstar. We all walked to the vet for a quick inspection, boarding straight on the Dutch side ground transports and the waiting for customs began. Picollo quietly waited in the car.

I hired Marcel Jordon ( per a recommendation from Karin Offield and he was fabulous. His lorrey was super and he was so kind to talk to me about the special features and some of the customizations he made. He was definitely pro and unlike anything I’d ever worked with stateside. It was like a Rolls Royce for the horse world. Here’s Carrara inside the transport.

Here’s the outside of his lorrey.

This is as we were driving out of customs.

And now on the road to Erp!


Being a Friday at about four in the afternoon it was a long drive which typically takes about an hour and one half. We finally arrive to Erp and the Stal Anky but I was completely exhausted by this point and far from conherent so I have no photos of this. I got her settled, with food and the tack trunks in line. The new barn is still under construction but it is quite nice. The outdoor has the old roof removed and the new roof is waiting to be installed as it’s sitting in pallets in Anky’s outdoor. The mentalities are so different here but in a very good way. I’m exhausted at this point but so happy!

My eight in the morning alarm was shut off and I rose about eleven instead but the sleep was welcome! My first full day in The Netherlands was spent organizing my tack boxes, hand walking Carrara several times, a sandwich and fries in the afternoon (I took this photo with my iPhone from an indoor table next to the open window. Yes they are as good as they look and yum mayo!!!),

and working on the laptop looking out at Carrara grazing in the pasture for a few hours. This is Carrara meeting the horse next to the pasture I placed her in.

It’s quite green and lovely here with tall trees lining the road. I was surprised to see they have not chopped down their corn fields yet (you can see some of the crop in the right side of the this photo)!

Here’s a few photos of the new stable which is almost complete. This is from the opposite end of Carrara’s stall.

This is the door leading out to Anky’s outdoor arena which is now home to the pallets of roofing materials waiting to be constructed.

As the stable is not complete, neither are some of the stalls so the stall opposite from Carrara is where I was told to place my tack boxes. Hey… It’s close by so quite convenient and I do most of my tacking in her stall.

This is further back showing my tack boxes in a not yet completed stall and the stall opposite is where Carrara is living now.

There’s much more to follow but we’re all here, safe, sound and I’m loving my home in The Netherlands!

The Flying Dutchman – KLM

September 17, 2009

I was nervous about flying but this was a once in a lifetime chance for training with the best rider in the world and I wasn’t about to let a bit of fear back me out from it. Humberto (of Fly HFR) drove us from the Vetport (I met some FABULOUS people in the quarantine with lovely horses) to check in at the airport and pick up our boarding passes, board and get the prep for flying away! The check-in was fairly painless and I was completely shocked that TSA didn’t stop me with my carry on bag which has all my video equipment in it. Perhaps they have better scanners now and could see it was all video and audio equipment? I had my a comment to my flying colleagues that my bag was a target for TSA and I am appreciated them waiting for me to obtain Picollo’s boarding pass but that I would likely slow them down at the security point as I always get pulled. It was a joke that since I was with a Swiss and a Columbian we might all get tagged. Haha! So that was a nice point. Walking to the jet way I snapped a quick picture of the containers. If you look closely just behind the engine you’ll see a series of white blobs which are the containers with the horses in them. They load them up to the cargo area with a crane. It’s all so amazing to me! Oh and if you’ve taken the JFK or LAX flight to AMS then you’ve quite likely flown with horses in your cargo.


Rise And Shine

September 17, 2009

We arrived to Brent’s farm about 11 in the evening Wednesday night. The transport up to Brent’s took about seven and one half hours as the regular drive (no horse box or horse) takes about four and one half. It was long but I was very glad I estimated for a fall out plan and left with lots of extra time. Carrara had drank some water and was eating her hay and apart from a few shifts she was hauling very quiet and comfortable. That Brenderup horse box works like a dream and it was so easy for me to work with by myself!

Brent offered to use his Suburban to tow the rest of the way up to the airport in New York and knowing it’s like driving a Cadilac (complete with seat AC!) I quickly jumped at the chance to drive such a fun/fancy vehicle plus he’s more familiar with it too and since he was dropping me off and making the empty horse box return to DC solo, I thought it would be less stressful on him. OMG! I can’t believe we didn’t get a picture together that day!!!! I just realized I don’t have a photo of us driving up but I was exhausted and stressed and it completely slipped my mind! Dang it! Well, here’s a picture of Brent’s hands driving the last leg to the airport. You’ll see NYC in the background. Thanks Brent. You made my maiden voyage in the new horse box and my send off to Holland so enjoyable. It’s so nice to have such a close horse enthusiast friend and we celebrated several decades of friendship that day (I won’t spill the beans and go into just how many!). Seriously, you’ll need to come visit me!


Okey so did I mention we drove out of Brent’s farm that morning just after three? Yes, only a few hours sleep and back on the road to arrive at the Vetport of JFK about half past nine in the morning. Here’s Picollo just after arriving to Vetport JFK with everything we’ll use for the next several months. I love the simplicity and spareness of living out of a suitcase! Two tack trunks for Carrara (one large and one smaller) and two suitcases for me (one large and one smaller too! actually one is my clothes and the smaller is all the HorseGirlTV video and sound equipment) and then there’s two bags for little Picollo of course!


Here’s Carrara munching on hay in her Vetport stall. They must quarantine there for, I believe it was, seven hours prior to departure. I later pulled her wraps so her legs could enjoy some air and used the comfy padded wraps to make a very uncomfortable bed on top of the tack trunks. Picollo and I curled up together and tried to nap. Hilarious side note is Humberto (the super awesome rock star exporter I worked with!!!!) came in looking for me and to check us in and didn’t see me as we were completely covered with a blanket (yuh it was kinda chilly in New York). I heard him and sat up and he about came out of his skin. I guess I must have looked like a ghost!


This is Carrara and I in her stall. Before preparing to load into the container and fly away!


Holland Or Bust, Part 2

September 16, 2009

This is Picollo not being a very good co-pilot. He might not be the best of help with loading and transport but he’s definitely cute and that makes up for much of his lack of ability to be of help with the horse.


We drive to Brent’s near DC and then continue on with the rest of the journey to NYC and JFK airport.