Sleepless in Seattle

Our Quest for Kim's Next Superstar!


This all came together so quickly and happened so fast, its hard to believe we did it!

It all started when Kim got a bug up her butt to have a Purebred made working hunter to be ready for next year's Sporthorse Nationals. With Superman's physical (and MENTAL) limitations, she wanted something fun and easy. Immediately, Tim (SLA Protector) came to mind and I called the owners to see what they were looking to get for him. I made them a half-brained low-ball offer and left it at that (he is going to be SIXTEEN). Kim was antsy enough when we didn't hear back that she started searching the net for other prospects.

One that comes to mind is a supposed 16 hand Purebred in Arizona that was out of the question the moment they told me they wanted SIXTY THOUSAND DOLLARS for him (you sure you don't mean PESOS?!?!?!). Kim found one in Washington state that was supposed to be 15.3, his jumping photo reminded her of a young Sohn, so she was excited. I called the owner and asked for a video. They immediately told me they had someone VERY interested that was coming back in two weeks with their trainer for a second look. Kim was adamant about going IMMEDIATELY out to see him before they did. So, she booked the flight, car and hotel. I got a guarantee from the owners that they would not sell him before we got there. We scheduled a vet for the day after we saw him first, just in case we needed it.

Monday, again in the wee dark hours of the morning (this is becoming a HABIT!), we hopped on a plane bound for Cincinnati first, then Seattle. Armed with a portable DVD viewer and our headphones, Kim and I settled in for the long ride with a fistful of movies to watch. We arrived in Seattle at 11 am after being on the plane for like 7 hrs (must be the NEW math). Collected our bags and headed to the car rental place.

They offered us an upgrade to a Mustang for like $20/day - that took all of 2 seconds for us to decide YES! - and we were sent off to find our RED Mustang CONVERTIBLE...YAHOOOO!!! Of course, being Seattle, convertibles don't get much use, as it is ALWAYS cloudy and rainy, and it was that day.

Armed with Mapquest directions to our hotel (is it me or do they always take you past your destination three times before they actually say YOU HAVE ARRIVED?!? Isn't that typical of a New York Cabdriver??) we found out that we couldn't check in until after 3 pm, which was SIX pm HOME time. ( I refused to change my watch to Seattle time for just 3 days stay). We were hungry, so we drove around and found a good burger place...aaaah, red meat, not airplane food! We had an appointment about an hour up the coast to see "PA Solidor" set for 4 pm, so we decided to start the drive and perhaps take in some scenery.

So close to B.C., yet so far!!

Well ahead of schedule, we hopped off the Interstate to take a scenic route to Camano Island where the horse was. It was raining steadily now, but we drove slowly through an Indian Reservation called Tulalip.

Probably the most amazing thing about Seattle is that like the snowball stands we have all summer long, they have a COFFEE stand on EVERY CORNER! Even in this poor looking Indian town, there was the Espresso stand...

As we drove close to the coast, we craned our necks to see some water, but apparently, rich people have bought up all the scenic overlooks, except for the Park that charges admission. Go figure...

We arrived at the farm early, drove through and headed back to the feed store in town to check out their stuff. By the time we were done, it was almost 4. We arrived, parked our little red 'stang and waited for signs of human life.

Stanwood Equestrian Center, where they were bringing Solidor so we could try him, is quite a place. Two big indoor arena/barns side by side, with acres of little tiny paddocks for individual turnout. A huge clay outdoor ring, then a cross country course beyond that.

Yolanda Smith and her daughter, Sol's owners, met us there and we proceeded to tack up and head to the indoor. Jackie rode him for us, then I hopped on to try something (he was not moving from his shoulder and just didn't move pretty, so I wanted to see if I could free it up worked), then Kim got on. There were no jumps in the ring, so we headed outside in the rain to the other ring with a couple of jumps in it. The top inch or so of the surface was like GLUE, stuck to your feet each step, and it was hard to get a good idea of Sol's jumping ability.

We took him back inside and dragged a jump with us. He had lovely form, but didn't really know HOW to get there properly, again something fixable. What really struck us was how laid back and mellow this horse was...and BIG!

We decided to have him vetted the next day as scheduled. We headed back to the big city to check in and change for dinner. Kim was very excited! We found a crab house for dinner and to our delight they had OLD BAY at every table...made us feel right at home!

After some great Margaritas and filets, we headed back to the hotel (thank God for the Space Needle, or we'd never have found it again!). On the way, after turning on a divided highway from which there was NO EXIT FOR MILES, we went across a bridge that had those green w/reflective white lettering signs on each end saying "Pedestrian Underpass." The one on the opposite side of the road, which I caught out of the corner of my eye, looked like it said "UnderPANTS" not "UnderPASS!" I told Kim and she didn't believe me. When we finally got turned around the right way I told her where to look back to see it and I was right! It did say PANTS!!!!! We laughed so hard I almost we my OWN underpants!!!! We agreed we'd go back tomorrow and get a picture of THAT!

The next morning, at THREE A.M., Kim and I were wide awake and couldn't go back to sleep (it was SIX at home, our normal wake up time!) Geez, it was still 3 hours til BREAKFAST!! We tossed and turned until we couldn't stand it anymore and gave up on sleeping.

After breakfast (finally!) we headed up to Camano Island to meet the vet. This guy was great, I wish we could have him here at home! Unfortunately, Sol had a suspensory that was sore to palpation, and he flexed badly on that same leg. We x-rayed to rule out anything in the joints, then set up a time the next day to meet the vet at his hospital in Mount Vernon (remember, its Washington!) to ultrasound the ligament.

Taking into consideration that they had started out doing reining with this horse, and that his jumping was fairly new to him, plus the daughter had yahoo'd around on him for fun in the last 6 weeks, we hoped it was a temporary condition and the ultrasound would not show any permanent lesions, etc.

We took Yolanda's suggestion for a place to eat lunch, and had the biggest, juiciest burger ever! It was actually sunny today, so we had the top down and even ate outside. This area of the island was BEAUTIFUL!

Rather than sightsee upstate, we wanted to go to the city and see the markets and the harbor, plus we had yet to go to the Space Needle. So off we went, being tourists. But FIRST, we had to nab a picture of the SIGN. We drove back across the bridge from the north, and planned to make a right on the street where the sign was. I stood up with the camera in preparation as Kim Andretti made the turn. I almost fell out of the car as she flew past the sign and only managed to get the right half of the sign:

For our downtown tour, we started at the Fish Market. The market was incredible, I have never seen such HUGE bouquets of fresh flowers, for under $15! The fish and dungeness crabs were humongous too. The hilarious guys that throw the fish across the counter were hard to see through the crowds they were entertaining.

The market went on and on for blocks, and was full of junk, good and bad! The window boxes along the street were spilling over with flowers too. It was GORGEOUS!

We headed to the Space Needle, the view from up there was great! On a clear day you can see Mt. Ranier, but since Mt. St. Helen's blew her stack a few years back, you can't see it anymore. We watched a cruise ship set out to sea, with fireboats and all. Big surprise, there was a Starbuck's at the top of the Needle...

We didn't really know where we wanted to eat that night, so we drove around aimlessly, and like true non-imaginative people, we went back to the same crab house we ate dinner at last night. But TONIGHT, we were gonna do the CRABS. Since the menu said the crabs weighed 2 lbs minimum, I thought I had better get just 1/2. Kim ordered a whole one. Being Baltimorons, we made quick work of these monsters, and I called the waitress over to ask if I could have my other half! They had a flavor much like lobster and you dip the meat in butter too. (Hell, I could eat sticks and rocks if they are dipped in butter!)

Kim was sort of bummed out about Sol's leg, but I convinced her not to worry. Whatever the vet found would make our decision for us. We looked up some things on the net about suspensories, but that didn't help her mood much. We stopped on the way home to get something to drink at a convenience store, and were amazed at the assortment of condoms they sold there, but only one kind of toothpaste...hmmmmmmm.

We rose early (late here at home though!) to head to Mt. Vernon to this awesome hospital. The ultrasound didn't show anything horrible, so we negotiated a final price with Yolanda and headed back south to the airport. He was Kim's!!! It was so exciting!

After a gross lunch at a stand in the airport - having had my bags thoroughly searched at check-in - and not knowing that just beyond where we stopped to eat there was a PIZZA HUT dammit! - we got to our departure gate. What a whirlwind trip it had been.

At the gate, upon boarding, I was again pulled aside to be searched (was I wearing my terrorist face that day?!?!), even had to take off my shoes. We settled in on a huge plane and watched a bunch of movies, while checking the TV screen from time to time to see where in this great country we were. We landed in Atlanta after dark, changed planes and took off on our last leg towards home - at least the last FLYING leg.

At BWI, we waited to find our bags, then because Kim didn't write down what parking lot we left her car in ("I'll remember it, don't worry!"), we boarded the wrong bus and had the guided tour of all the lots BUT OURS!! Luckily, the nice bus driver drove us to our car. I guess he felt sorry for the morons that would be so stupid!

After a Kim Andretti drive home, it was all over, except for poor Sol. His journey had yet to begin!

The following weekend, the shipper picked up Sol and headed for their lay over in Colorado. After a couple of days there, he was loaded up and headed for the East Coast. Sol arrived 2 weeks after we had bought him, during the night, and has adjusted so well to our farm. What a delight he is!!