Well well well there’s nothing like a bit of fluid on the lungs to take the wind right out your sails and leave you eating low fat frozen yogurt with a plastic spoon while sitting on your bed in a hotel room far from home. And you have to eat the whole lot because there is no fridge/freezer in your room and well quite frankly it’s safer than a bottle of wine!!!
OK some of you may have been hearing rumors that jester was sick, well it’s correct but i’ll give you the full story just in case there are colorful versions of it going around.
OK horses all left Sydney as planned - two horses to a pallet so plenty of room for them on the 30odd hour flight they were about to embark on. Team vets for each discipline went with the horses no riders allowed. My plan was to send Jester with a hay bale bag with a bale of wet hay so the front bars could come out once they were in the air and he could eat off the ground so his head was down and nose was draining. This has worked very well for all of his very long flights he has done before.
Well the front bars couldn’t come out as the pallets they had didn’t allow for this. They arrived into LA to go into quarantine........... Now i must say i obviously didn’t see it but was told the boxes were small and dingy and they were not walked at all and they wouldn’t communicate to Bear (our team vet Denis Goulding) any details of how much they were eating or drinking. No one was allowed in. then 12hours into the 40 hours quarantine Bear got a call saying Festy’s temperature had spiked “slightly” but again no actual figure. By the time we got a figure, 40.3 (and that is way more than a spike) the damage was done. They gave him 10 liters of fluid when he should have gone on a drip all night. 10 litres.........they may as well have hosed him off with 10 liters the good that amount was going to do. By day 2, with the intervention of the FEI head Vet , Bear was allowed in every 6 hours to walk him and treat him. Festy's temperature came down and he stabilized. The rest of the team flew out to Kentucky but Grace kindly allowed Rolly to stay to keep him company. His temp was still a bit unstable but they allowed him out to the farm next door so Bear could continue treating him hands on the whole time. The plan was to travel Rolly and Festy on sat but there was no direct flight to KY so it was a 5 hour flight to Indianapolis then a 5 hour truck trip down (or across or up - I didn’t look at the map) to KY. But knew we couldn’t do that route with Festy - to much stress and he would probably get sick again.
So only Rolly made the flight and Festy got transferred to a fancy Equine Hospital in Chino Hills about an hour from LA. So i flew to LA or actually Ontorio airport and Bear flew out back to KY to join the rest of the team. The plan was to then jump on the next direct flight to KY from LA and that was to be on Wednesday morning.
As soon as i arrived at the hospital Festy nickered to me and i hadn’t even been to buy carrots yet. He was so happy to see me it made me cry. I spent nearly all day with him grazing him walking him and feeding him about 5kg of carrots a day - he’d eat more if i let him. His appetite is back and he is not a fan of going back into his stable. He wants to stay outside. He had another lung ultra sound today and there is still a small patch of black there so no flying on Wednesday even though everything else is back to normal and has been since Saturday. I would have kicked and screamed to get on that flight on Wednesday but then he coughed in his stable and that is very much not the kind of thing he does. So i made the call with the vets to withdraw from the World Championships for the welfare of Festy. Risking a trip and stress is not worth it. Festy is my left arm my right arm and my soul i would do anything to keep him happy healthy and safe.
I’m taking Festy on Thursday to a farm about 20 mins away that is actually Cammy O’Rourk’s aunty's place (Trish). So we’ll have a place to stay with some friendly faces and Festy will have a stall and a paddock to recover in. i’m staying until next Monday and then the plan is for my groom Kate to fly over and take over looking after Festy and i will fly back to join the team and give them my best support. I’m sure they’ll do just fine without Festy and I. Just means more pressure on them to pull out a flash Festy test.
A big thanks you to Trish for taking Festy and i in - i had to have some good luck in all of this mess.
So now you all know why i won’t be in the green and gold next week i’m really sorry this has happened. You have all been such amazing supporters and sponsors. Also, so you know, i won’t have any horses in for Adelaide International this year as i will be staying here in the states to fly back with Festy at the very end of October so i will have only two weeks schooling to get Floyd and Bosco ready and that’s not fair on them.
See you all soon.
Megan and Festy x x x x