Man I have REALLY missed my horsey related travel. I haven’t been on a plane since we went to Burghley in summer 2019 (thank goodness we did it then at least) and since we used to do 1-2 fun horse trips every year, I’ve really been jonesing. We’d planned on finally hitting Ireland last year with a Millstreet/riding/stallion viewing combo (a big horse show plus stallion/young horse viewing has come to be our preferred method ever since Bundes in 2017 – it’s definitely the way to do it) but of course covid derailed all that. At least it happened early enough to where all I’d done was spend hours plotting an itinerary but we hadn’t actually booked anything yet. The little airbnb cottage I had found though, y’all. Le sigh. It lives in my dreams.
It’s my style to try to get as much bang for the buck out of any horsey trip, hence putting horse shows and breeding stuff all together into one maximum bang-for-your-buck experience. If I’m getting on a tin can with a bunch of other people and being hurtled through space while spending a lot of money for the privilege, you can bet I’m gonna milk it for all it’s worth. So when I started thinking about planning a trip out to see Presto, the gears started turning. I mean, it’s Ocala… the potential is huge and it must not be wasted.
Of course, this is the worst possible time of year for my usual travel buddy Michelle. There are 6 mares due to foal starting sometime between ANY FUCKING DAY NOW PEYTON and late May/early June. Plus those mares need to be bred back, and Michelle does the majority of her own breeding work, which means a lot of ultrasounding and monitoring of cycles. She’s pretty much tied to the farm from March through June. Too bad, because she and I are really good at finding trouble any time we travel together, and we definitely enjoyed our last Ocala trip (one of the YEH/FEH symposiums in… early 2019 I think? That was a great travel year…).
But you know who else is an exceptional Trouble companion? Bobby. And you know who’s currently horse shopping? Bobby. Guess where’s a great place to go to look at lots of nice horses in one relatively small geographic area? O-freakin-cala.
I pitched my plan to him, which took about .00005% convincing on my part. April is Bobby’s birthday month, it’s extra easy to talk him into treating his’self anytime in or near that month. Plus like – who doesn’t want to go spend a few days trying horses in Ocala? Pffft. The idea sells itself.
We’ve been floating the idea for a week or so, while I dug through and looked at what dates would actually work for me. Bobby is already fully vaccinated but I don’t get my second one until the 10th, and I wanted to wait until after that. Looking at our two schedules, and Megan’s schedule, it seemed like the best bet was the following weekend. So yesterday we buckled down, starting hunting flights and rental cars and hotels, and started BOOKING SHIT.
And I have to give Bobby props (even if it pains me to do so, because it goes straight to his big overinflated head) he is a really useful person to travel with. He travels a lot with his husband so they rack up a ton of airline miles, and he has all kinds of special perks and memberships, plus hunting good travel deals is part of his job. He got us hooked the hell up with some flights, a discounted rental car, and a decent hotel at a great rate. Split that in half and, well, thanks to him this trip is costing me next to nothing. Well, except the pain and suffering that comes with having to deal with Bobby for several days. Pray for me. He farts in his sleep.
Jk, we’re gonna go find him a nice horse and then we’ll be even.
When those booking confirmation emails started to come through I got hella excited. It’s been SO LONG since I had a fun horsey thing like this to look forward to. So long since I’ve gotten to obsess about an itinerary, trying to figure out how to maximize every last minute. Plus I have like 36 vacation days to use and don’t want to end up losing 20+ like I did last year since we can only carry 5. I’ve only taken one day off in the past 6 months and I’m ready for a fun break. I’m excited to be going back to Ocala, and I’m for sure ready to see Presto’s crazy face again. I already started thinking about what to pack, because it’s not too early to start packing yet right? 3 weeks in advance seems totally reasonable.
The next step will be to start finding horses for Bobby to try, which is also super fun because I get to try to spend someone else’s money. My one true talent in the world! We’ve already got some plans brewing for other stuff too – we’re definitely gonna pack as much as we can into our long weekend. I can’t freakin wait. And just imagine the high quality blog fodder that should come out of the two of us idiots taking on Ocala together… comedy gold, surely. You’re welcome in advance.