Wednesday, January 28, 2009

DC trip part 3

Monday morning came quickly. The pair of Toronto Canada Police Officers that were invited to ride with us finally arrived late on Sunday night but were up and ready to spend the day in the DC area and have fun. They had performed the drill with us in 2007 and we told them if we do something like this they would be invited to go too. I personally haven’t seen Rob or Jeff since that ride in 2007 but it was great to see them again.

We went to the barn and cleaned stalls and feed the horses and took them out for a morning walk. Renia and I had to have a small interview with the Secret Service but that went very well and they told us to have a fun time in the parade. It just added to our experience. To be asked to sit in a black SUV with two SS agents and be questioned is something I will never forget.

We were then told by the drill master that we were free to roam at will until 2pm. So the Manistee group headed for downtown DC. The traffic didn’t seem too bad considering it was the day before the inauguration and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We grabbed lunch at a local Applebee’s before heading into the downtown area.

As we headed into the heart of DC we looked at and took in a lot of scenery. It was a lot to take in. The buildings are some of the most amazing that I have seen in my life. The history alone behind some of those buildings is amazing all in itself. We crested a slight hill on the street we took into the capital and straight ahead we got a wonderful view of the US capital building.

Traffic continued to get heavier and heavier as we got closer and closer to the downtown area. We played out the complete roll of tourist and rolled our windows down and took a lot of pictures. I said we look like Japanese tourist!! We got about a block from the Mall but then the traffic got so heavy we started to worry that we would get stuck there and not be able to get back to the barns on time. So we did a u-turn and headed back out of town. We stopped at the edge of DC and parked, ran across the road and took our picture at the “Welcome to Washington DC” sign.

We headed back to the barn for our 2pm practice with the drill team. We got to the stable in time to saddle up and ride. We rode in formation around and around the PGEC. We determined our order of ride since we had to have that in place before we stepped out onto the parade route and we had to stay in that formation. We had three horses at the front to carry the American Flag, Michigan State flag and the Mi. Horse Council flag. I was placed in the third line, second horse in from the left. I had Jeff from Toronto on my left and Judy from my group on the right. Jeff rides an 18.2h Clydesdale/TB mix gelding so his foot and sometimes his spur was kicking my calf muscle, talk about busies!

On our last few travels around the PGEC we picked up a few more riders when the members of the US Border Patrol joined into the formation. They did great. We started talking to them and found out that they were from Spokane Washington and they ride nothing but Mustangs. Beautiful horses by the way. They had four buckskins that looked like they could have been twins. They left the Spokane area on January 9th and got into the PGEC on the 16th, and we thought we had a long trip!!!!

Once we finished up our practice we went into grooming mode. I had to put some finishing touches on Missy. We had to hoof black everyone and make sure every hair would be in place for the parade the next day. Some people actually bathed their horses but I chose not to, it was only 22 degrees outside (they bathed inside but still our stalls were outside in a shed-row type barn) and I was not out to make my horse ill, she has a thick winter coat because she is in an open air barn up north. The entire Manistee Unit chose to just do some really heavy grooming and our horses looked great in the end. Plus it helps to have a black horse.

We again tucked the horses in for the night and went back to the hotel for uniform preparations. First though we stopped at Chili’s for dinner. That was even better then Applebee’s earlier in the day. I had baby back ribs, mmmmmm.

We tidied our uniforms, made sure every pin was in order and every button was in place. We then went to sleep since we had to be at the barn at 4am we decided to turn in extra early.

End of part 3

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