If I have gone very quiet for the last few weeks, it is because I have been madly concentrating on negotiations to get the horses into the EU. Last weekend they fulfilled the 90 day requirement for importation rather than temporary entry, so it was decided to go for that. Dr Halasz of the Hungarian border vet service at Zahony has been indispensable in identifying all the necessary documentation, and I have been frantically emailing the wonderful Natalia in Kiev to keep abreast of progress in the Ukraine. The horses had a series of veterinary tests over Christmas (all clear) and another set last week, giving me a week's grace to transport them into Hungary. So everything seemed positive.
On Sunday I set out to drive to Zahony, arriving late Tuesday evening - as the snow was whirling outside the windscreen for much of the way and the heating in the lorry is not working, my feet were like blocks of ice and I had to stop regularly at service stations to defrost.
I was expecting to spend today in the border vet offices double-checking requirements for both horses.
But this morning I received the tragic news that Bolashak (whose passport name is Sunkar) had unexpectedly died due to a freak accident. Apparently a couple of days ago he slipped and fell on ice, knocking himself out on the edge of a well. He received immediate veterinary treatment, and the vet thought he was recovering satisfactorily, but last night he was found dead in his stable. Another heartbreaking tragedy as he was a lovely easygoing horse who was proving increasingly perfect for the job in hand - a comfortable ride who was good to shoe, load, handle, tether, and in traffic. He will be difficult to replace but replace him I must.
I am plodding on with arrangements for little Zorbee, and intend to travel into Ukraine tomorrow with copies of EU approved Health certificates for the Ukrainian vet to fill in and sign. If little Zorbee crosses successfully into Hungary, then he heads straight for a 30 day isolation period that I have organised at a nearby stables.