We ended up surviving another 4 days without power. Although farms closer to town got theirs back within a couple of days, we’re quite a way out and so we were one of the last places to get reconnected. Us girls actually became quite proficient at existing in the dark… Even though we’ve had electricity back for a few days now, I’ve found myself still wandering around the apartment and using the bathroom with no lighting on more than one occasion.
On a wider scale, Paradise Horse Trials was delayed by a day, and the USEA Aiken Eventing Gala at Stable View Farm was postponed – I was quite grateful for this, I couldn’t imagine us trying to get ourselves looking presentable without decent lighting and our hairdryers!
As if the ice storm wasn’t enough, Aiken even experienced an earthquake one evening. I have to admit I was keeping an eye out for the Horsemen of the Apocalypse – it’s hard to ignore so many warning signs for the end of the world!
Our farm became pretty popular with neighbouring farms because we were one of the few places with running water, thanks to our big propane generator. Lots of people dropped by to fill up water containers to cart back to their barns, or to borrow the wash bay to prepare for Paradise.
I must say a huge thanks to everyone who kindly offered up their couches, floors, beds and showers so that we could retain some sense of civilisation throughout the week. All in all we were very lucky to escape relatively unscathed – aside from the inconvenience of no electricity and the big clean up job ahead of us, there was no major damage to the property and all of the horses remained happy, safe and sound.
Riding in the aftermath of the storm – there is a hell of a clean up job ahead of us!
By the second day, we began to realise that we may be without power for longer than expected, so we were just going to have to try and manage as best as we could. With Paradise Horse Trials coming up on the weekend, the horses couldn’t afford to have another day off. The ice had stopped falling and one of the guys managed to use the tractor to drag a basic track around one of the paddocks, so by midday when it was starting to warm up and thaw out a little, the competition horses were able to be given a basic workout.
The rest of the horses were given some time out in the paddocks, which was pretty exciting for them after being cooped up inside for much longer than they’re used to. It’s always nerve-wracking watching them being a bit wild outside, and even worse when they’re galloping around on ice! Luckily they were all pretty sensible after their initial hijinks and everyone came back in safe and sound.
We were still without power for the second night, but a few places in town had regained theirs and Phillip kindly offered to put us up in a hotel so we wouldn’t have to endure another freezing, showerless night. This however turned into a huge ordeal – we tried a number of times to check in but kept being told our room wasn’t ready, and by nearly 9pm they finally admitted they had overbooked and we didn’t actually have a room. We were cold, smelly and hungry and had been so excited by the idea of a hot shower and a big warm bed, so we were on the verge of a complete emotional breakdown. Fortunately, the power had just come back on at our barn manager’s place and we were able to take showers and crash on her floor and couches – that shower genuinely felt like the greatest moment of my life!
This hilarious post from Eventing Nation perfectly sums up how all us Aiken eventers were beginning to feel…