I was on the road with my trusty pony in the trailer. We were headed home after a horsemanship course I had taken in Florida over the summer. My head was bursting with new knowledge and ideas, swirling around in my brain like little dust storms. Spinning eddies of wonderfulness just waiting to come together in some masterful horsemanship state of zen.
Then I saw the lights.
Oh yes, I was being pulled over.
I had no idea why. I had been blabbering to my friend on the phone about everything I’d learned over the summer and had to hang up in short order when I saw the flashing lights behind me.
It turns out that I had missed the Agricultural Inspection Station on the way out of the state.
I was a little flabbergasted. I had dutifully stopped on the way into Florida, paperwork in hand without incident.
It never dawned on me you had to stop on your way OUT. I wasn’t even looking for the station….. <obviously.>
Unfortunately I made the mistake of commenting that I had no idea I had to stop on the way out too…… The officer took that as some kind of challenge to his authority and he began going through my paperwork with a magnifying glass, looking for the tiniest discrepancy.
He asked me to UNLOAD my horse on the side of the road so he could take a full look at him.
After eyeing the cars going by at 80mph and giving him a sidelong glance he changed the request to opening the large door at the back of the trailer so he could compare his markings to those on the Coggins.
I opened the door, and realized my predicament was spiraling out of control in a hurry.
Mere moments before I had left the ranch, a huge rain cloud had flooded the paddock he was in, quickly turning it into a sea of brown stickiness. My lovely WHITE horse had carefully packed the mud on every square inch of his body like some kind of expensive spa treatment. Not wanting to bathe him, and having no time to let him dry I had hopped him right into the trailer thoroughly coated with wet mud.
Officer Don’t-Ask-Questions informed me I had a chestnut in the trailer and the paperwork said the horse was supposed to be WHITE.
While I was telling my tale of the sudden storm, the coat of mud, and the reality that underneath all the crud he really was white……….I was hoping he didn’t notice that I was not only the owner on the form but was also the veterinarian. At that point I was certain that pointing out that I had certified the paperwork was not going to work in my favor.
After a stern warning, and some heavy persuasion on my part that it really was the correct horse he sent me on my way with a written form making sure I knew I had to stop on the way in AND on the way OUT of the Sunshine State.
Have you ever had something in your life that no matter what, you just CAN’T seem to get it right?
I was headed to Florida again. I had my coggins, my health certificate, I knew I had to stop on the way IN & OUT.
I was ready……….I thought.
As I was standing in the office of the agricultural station, one of the officers asked where I was coming from. I had been in Alabama for 2 weeks, and I SHOULD HAVE SAID Alabama, but I said Texas.
He was about to send me on my way when the other officer said, “Isn’t there some kind of extra test you have to have coming from Texas?”
After some shuffling of paperwork, and pulling out a large 3 ring binder, he proclaimed, “YEP! Here it is, you have to have an EXTRA blood test!”
My heart sank.
I was a LONG way from home. I let him know that I definitely didn’t have any other blood tests with me, and he let me know the new requirement for a piroplasmosis test, going on to explain that I could leave the state and return when I had it. Or they could quarantine my horse until the test came back.
My sad face must have had some sway, because he decided to call the state vet. The conversation went something like, “No she doesn’t have the test, yep, she’s a vet, unh huh she should know better…….She’s going to Ocala for a few lessons, and she’s leaving in 3 days………..OK, ok, I’ll tell her.”
It was definitely my lucky day because they decided to send me on my way with a very stern warning (ANOTHER written notice) and a promise to ARREST me if I hadn’t left the state with my horse in 3 days like I’d sworn I would.
I was headed East once again. This time I was doing the drive of all drives, trying to manage 1100 miles in one overnight. It’s been 100 degrees every day for weeks, so in the interest of pony welfare I decided driving overnight to avoid the heat, was the way to go.
At my second fuel stop I noticed large amounts of liquid POURING out of my living quarters.
It wasn’t one of the tanks and I quickly came to realize that the VERY ROUGH roads we had travelled in the last big city had jostled the refrigerator contents enough that the lids had blown off at least a 6 pack of beer.
Seriously, I had BEER flowing out of my trailer onto the ground. As I attempted some clean up I began to worry about REEKING of alcohol while driving and decided to deal with the problem when I reached my destination.
The horses didn’t object to one of the results of the fridge disaster – Beer Soaked Carrots.
Off we went. I was driving into Florida a way I’ve never gone before. On the route that I usually drive there is a Weigh Station just in front of the Agricultural Station so you take the second off ramp after the sign.
I saw the sign for the Ag stop. I saw the first ramp. And as I was passing it I had a dawning realization that the FIRST ONE was the ag stop this time.
I started to panic and slowed way down wondering if I should pull off on the side of the road, but not 100% sure it was the ag station. I kept on going to the 2nd ramp and sure enough that one was the weigh station.
I had passed it AGAIN!!!!
I was going pretty slowly at this point thinking that I should see how far it is to the next turn around, and wondering if I should just pull over or drive on to see if they were paying attention.
Well…………they were paying attention and in short order I had flashing lights behind me.
I got out and apologized profusely offering up my VERY COMPLETE and in order paperwork. The officer asked to look at the rest of the trailer and the living quarters to “be sure I wasn’t smuggling in sea turtles or anything” and that’s when I realized the floor of my living quarters was covered with BEER and this was going to go south quickly.
Sensing a breathalyzer in my near future, I began contemplating what it was going to take to get out of THIS ONE!
That was also the moment that I realized that all my horses are named after alcohol.
Yes Officer, my trailer floor is covered with beer, yes that horse is really named Intoxicated.
Me? Sober? Of course, why do you ask??
Fortunately, he had a sense of humor, and actually thanked me for “getting him out of the office”. He admonished me strongly that there was ANOTHER inspection station further on, and he said, “Be sure to stop there too…unless you’re feeling feisty…..then you can just give them a wave and floor it, but they aren’t as nice as we are.”
He sent me on my way and gave me ANOTHER written warning.
I suspect there is a MOST WANTED poster of Bad Eventer hanging inside the station.