Bromont, Canada
Jun 11, 2009

Getting to Canada…

It never fails.  No matter how organized and diligent I try to be about paperwork, I always seem to miss something.  Entries, permission from the USEF to compete abroad, health certificates, Coggins tests, there was a lot to get organized, and a lot to remember.  This time it was my passport, not my horse’s because that would be too obvious, but mine.  The fact that it had recently expired had escaped my attention and only when I called my mom last week and asked her to bring it did I discover the problem.  And so, we set about the twisty, precarious task of getting the US government to issue a passport in less than a week.  I headed into Philadelphia armed with enough documentation to enter the pentagon, and a formal letter from the USEF pleading on my behalf, but alas, that was not meant to be. 

So the next attempt was in Norwalk, Connecticut on Monday.  Yes Monday, as in the day before we needed to leave for Bromont, Canada.  Thanks to the generosity of a friend of a friend, I was able to make the five hour drive Sunday night, and was given dinner and a bed by an extremely kind family.  It really felt like something from a day-gone-by, when you could just knock on a door and ask for lodging.  So first thing Monday morning I was off to the Department of State to try again, this time with a little more success.  Until that is, the lady informed me I would need to pick up the passport between 12:30 and 1:00 Tuesday.  When I pleaded with her that that would not work because of the horse, the trailer, the 5 hour drive… she took a sick pleasure in holding up the USEF letter which stated that I would travel on Tuesday, and asking “you’re traveling tomorrow?”  “Then I guess you’ll be coming back to get the passport, won’t you?”  What is it about power that brings out evil in people?  I quickly realized that continuing to plead would only sink my ship further, so I drove back to Pennsylvania instead.  A trip to the airport to pick up my mom and younger brother Chris and my day was complete.

Tuesday morning we loaded up and were on the road by 5:00 am.  With absolutely no room for failure, we made sure to get to Norwalk with lots of time to spare.  After killing a little time at a Walmart, we drove over to the State Department, horse and all.  Not a common site for the security officers I can promise you!  After so much bureaucracy and trouble, the prized document was most unceremoniously handed to me and we got on the road.  Another 9 hours of driving,  an easy boarder crossing, and only one little detour in rural French Canada, and we made our way to the event.  I knew I should have paid more attention in French class!  Oh well, no time for regrets. 

After all of that, not much seems noteworthy.  The horse is well, the course is big, and the people up here are really neat.  Today we had trot ups which went smoothly for us, but did eliminate a few unfortunate people because of unsoundness.  Tomorrow I’ve got an early dressage ride and the whole rest of the day to ponder whether my horse is fit enough for cross country.