Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Trip to DC Part 5…………..

Well we successfully striped the horses of their shipping gear and replaced it with saddles and tack. We were directed to a secured holding location where we had to be searched, and swept with a medal detector. Once inside that secured area we were allowed to get on our horses. At this time it was just a little after 10am.

We knew that we would be out there for a few hours so we had to stay warm. We rode in circles between the two parking lots that we are secured areas. We were penned in by a ten foot tall fence all around. We were joined there at first by the United State Border Patrol and the Crow Nation Native Americans. There were in our wave of horses that came in.

Soon our transports moved out of the secured areas and were gone. We were then joined but other mounted units that we didn’t meet at the barns because they came from local areas.

Soon the hour or two that we knew we would have to wait turned into three and four hours. Then we were finally told to move into line. While we were in the secured area of the two parking lots we at least had the sun shining down on us and keeping us a little warm, especially when the wind died down. Then the fourth hour turned into the fifth hour and where we stood now we were getting really cold. My friend to the left of me was starting to get so cold that her leg muscles were cramping up. Mike Foote from the Michigan Horse Council talked her into getting off her horse and walking around. While another rider from the Eaton County group was even colder she was taken off her horse and placed inside a Washington DC police car to try and warm her up.

Matt Kempt from the Muskegon group decided that we needed to start moving our horses so he stared calling out drill movements that we performed in the space of 50’x60’ area of the street. It got the horses moving and warming up some, which in turn started to warm us riders up.

Once we stopped and started the waiting process again we got to do the watching too. As we stood at the area of 4th Street and Independence Ave. we were still behind the 10’ tall security fence. There was fence as far as we could see went all the way to Pennsylvania Ave. However there were gates closing off Independence Ave. from traffic, foot and car. Every once in a while the military would open those gates and it was like the flood gates or the parting of the Red Sea, which ever helps you imagine the amount of people that pushed there way down Independence Ave. to the other side of the road. I am only assuming that the people had themselves had been locked on the Mall since the actual inauguration just a short time prior and were just wanting to move down to the parade route or to go home. Then the gates would close again. This process was repeated several times. After about two hours we were finally moved across Independence Ave. just three blocks to go to the start of the parade.

We really thought we were on our way, but no. We inched along slowly as the sun went down behind the sky line of Washington DC. As we crawled along we got to see the US capital build come alive in the evening lights. This made for some wonderful photo opportunities. Those photos however were taken with my friend Judy’s camera so I don’t have them yet but I will soon.

It seemed like hours and hours before we finally made it to the start of the parade but we finally did make it. Though it was dark by the time we got most or the way through the parade it was still an exciting moment in life. Again as it was when we where sight seeing the day before to be actually riding our horses down Pennsylvania Ave. in the Nations capital was amazing. We rode by the National Archives building, the Ronald Reagan building and International Trade Center, the FBI headquarters and several other famous buildings.

Then we turned the corner for the final leg to the White House the street was lit up by hundreds of flood lights. The excitement was unbelievable. Closer and closer we got to the President and his family. Then we were there. He and Michelle were standing behind a glass (bullet proof I am sure) enclosed room. They both waved to us as we rode by. Then within minutes it was all over.

We then were directed down to Constitution Ave. were the Hughestons were waiting with the trailers. We quickly reversed the process that we had done some eight hours earlier. The horses were once again packaged up for shipping. Tack and saddles were loaded into the equipment trailer and the horses were loaded onto the stock trailers.

We then all climbed into the vehicles that we came in and headed out of town, just happy to be in a warm vehicle again.

End of Part five.

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