After an exceedingly long trip, I finally made it to my destination near Borculo this morning. I left Boise Monday afternoon at 2:30pm and flew 2 and 1/2 hours to Minneapolis. From there, I took a direct flight to Amsterdam, which was rerouted to New York City over Greenland after some mechanical problems with the plane. There was some sort of generator problem on the Airbus and we only had 2 engines. We landed in NYC at 4am on Tuesday, then I had to sit in the airport and wait for the new flight, which left at 4:30pm that afternoon. Thankfully that flight went smoothly, and we arrived in Amsterdam this morning at 6am.
From there I rented a car, and drove to the hotel, which was about 1 and 1/2 hours from the airport. That was a bit of a rough drive, since I was sleep deprived from the last couple days, driving a manual (which I very rarely drive), and in a country I haven't traveled in for several years. I had no trouble finding my destination however, thanks to all my preplanning and my helpful GPS.
I had forgotten how old Europe really is. For some reason this trip I more aware of the weight of history in this area, it is much more palpable to me this trip that it has been in the past. Amidst very modern automobiles and other technologies, you can drive by old churches that are probably hundreds of years old (some possibly older). I didn't get to do much sightseeing today, mostly because I am totally exhausted and having a hard time focusing on much at all, but I will definitely try to do some more after the auction tomorrow.
Today I met Dutch breeder Emmy de Jeu, who has had several horses with Edward Gal, including Sisther de Jeu. She showed me a local farm that specializes in raising young horses in case I decide to buy a foal and keep it here for a period of time to grow up. It was interesting how they raise them, they have large "stalls" (more like indoor paddocks) that house 5-10 babies all of the same age. They are fed much like cattle here in the United States, with the medal gates the horses can poke their heads through to eat hay, and the hay in put in a long heap out in front of the stall. In the winter they go outside for a short period of time in sand paddocks, and in the summer they go out on pasture. The weather in the winter is kind of nasty, and I think mostly they get a lot of rain and moisture so the horses don't stay out long.
As yearlings they are split by gender, so as an example they had a large group of yearling mares and a large group of yearling colts. The owner also foals out mares, and had a pasture full of about 10 mare/foal combinations. The babies grow up there and then move on to a training facility or sales or whatever when they are late 2 and 1/2 year olds. Some of the better colts are prepared for the stallion licensing which will take place this fall.
I did take a short nap in the late afternoon and then had dinner with some of the guests and committee members from the auction. Dutch people (at least this group) are a jovial and talkative bunch, and they were very interested to hear about me and my story.
Tomorrow is the auction. The foals will all arrive at the facility early in the morning, between 7:30 and 8:30, and I was advised to get there early to get extra time to see them arrive and see them in the stable (sage advice!). The foals are presented to everyone at 10am (which will likely take several hours, since there are 75 to go through), but the auction itself doesn't start until the early afternoon. I have a general idea of which foals I particularly like, what my budget is like, how much I would be willing to spend on certain horses, etc. I will nail that down tomorrow morning after I see them in person.