Aimee and I started out driving fairly early on Friday morning, with the goal of visiting Penny that afternoon/evening. We were driving from Boise, ID to Buckley, WA (where Penny is)... and then from Buckley to Federal Way, WA where we would be staying with one of Aimee's friends. The distance from Boise to Buckley is 511.46 miles, and then it's about another 24 miles between Buckley and Federal Way. So we definitely had a full day of driving ahead of us.
It was cool watching the scenery change from this....
To this, in just a matter of hours:
Finally, after some GPS mishaps and a few wrong turns, we found our way to Buckley. I could hardly sit still... partially because I really needed to pee, but mostly because I couldn't wait to meet my new horse for the first time ;)
I was pleasantly surprised by how pretty the facility was, especially considering that April (the gal that is taking care of Penny for me right now) has only lived there a very short time (like a week or two!) Penny has her own stall and little run inside the red barn here:
It's a very peaceful and serene place, perfect for Penny to decompress, relax, and get healthy.
But this post isn't totally about her. We *did* have another very important reason for making the trip... the fall tack sale at Olson's in Bellevue. Olson's is a super swanky tack shop, clearly catering to the wealthy riders in the area. But they were having an awesome sale and Aimee and I couldn't wait to check it out. We planned in advance to get there early to get one of the free swag bags they were giving away to the first 25 people in the door. We were afraid that we would be, like, #26 and 27... but we lucked out and got goodie bags full of neat free stuff, like a pair of Kerrits socks, a Pikeur water bottle, and an amazingly-bright LED hat. Totally cool.
Aside from everything inside the store on sale, they also had a tent outside where everything was an additional 10% off if you bought it before 10 AM. I found a pair of Kerrits gloves for 50% off (plus the 10%), a pair of Kerrits Cargo tights for 40% off (plus 10%), and a cool pair of Kerrits "Storm Shelter" coverall pants for a sizeable discount as well. Score! I also found a cute cream and gold Eskadron Fly Bonnet for FOUR dollars. They are normally around 50 bucks... so I just had to buy it ;)
I also bought a Nunn Finer Figure 8 Bridle for 20% off, and an Eggbutt snaffle to go with it. The bridle and bit together was still $30 less than the retail price of the bridle. Score! It is a gorgeous bridle and I can't wait to try it on Penny. Don't you think she'll look adorable in this?
Aimee bought a bunch of stuff, too, which I'm sure she'll talk about sometime on her own blog. Here's a photo of all our loot in the back of my car:
I would highly recommend attending this sale if you are in the Seattle area when it's going on. AMAZING stuff. I was drooling over all the pretty saddles and found the softest stirrup leathers I've ever felt. But I couldn't afford another $100 or so. Guess we'll just have to come back next year :-P
After the sale, we went and visited Penny again for a few hours, took some pictures, and tried on some of the stuff we bought. She looked adorable in the fly bonnet, as to be expected, and was pretty good about letting me put it on her. However, I don't think she's ever seen a bridle before... so we need to work on that ;)
After visiting with Penny on Saturday, I had the bright idea to drive to Enumclaw (about 10 minutes away) and visit the Enumclaw Sales Pavilion, where Penny was sent to auction and sat in the kill pen for a few weeks. It was getting dark and raining at this point, so Aimee turned on the headlights. Remember this later.
We got out and I snapped a few photos of the building and sales yard. I gotta tell you... it's a pretty grim, depressing place with a weird vibe. The footing is terrible (broken up concrete) and the waterers were straight-up disgusting and full of algae. Not a place I'd want to spend any time in.
Unfortunately, that's just what Aimee and I got to do, because my car battery died. Oh Joy. After unsuccessfully asking people around us for a jump (again with the creepy, weird vibes), Aimee called her friend and they drove out to help us. It ended up being okay, but we spent just a little bit too long stranded in a creepy town in bad weather for it to be much fun ;) We joked that we were just trying to really "experience" what Penny went through in order to understand her better. LOL.
Some pix of the auction yard:
We were so happy to finally be rescued and GTFO of there!
After that debacle, we went to the Washington State Fair with Aimee's friend, her friend's boyfriend, and his daughter. WOW-- I was totally impressed with the number and quality of the horses in the 4H barns. In Idaho, our 4H program is small and pretty crappy, with lots of bad riding, dirty kids and scrub horses. Not in the state of WA, apparently! Every third horse was a Thoroughbred or Warmblood, and with a few exceptions, all were healthy and in good condition. And they have dressage as a 4H event! Color me impressed.
We also visited the draft horse/carriage horse barn. My favorites were this giant, 18hh+ Percheron (one of my fave breeds):
And this adorable Shetland Pony team. How cute are they??
Unfortunately, my car battery proved to be pretty much fatally dead. With another jump, we were able to get back to Federal Way, but I had to go buy a really expensive battery (ugh, of course!) in the morning. Figures this would happen right after I bought a horse. Oh well.
On Sunday, after getting and installing my new car battery, we went by to visit Penny one more time on our way back to Boise. She definitely recognized me from earlier visits and was quite a bit sassier and more affectionate.
I can't wait to see her again.
All in all, it was a super fun and eventful trip with great company, killer shopping, lots of pizza, and a wonderful new pony to top it all off.
It was good to be home, though.