Well, everyone…the adventure continues and my mind is spinning. I just got word that the Air Force is going to move me to the UK this coming summer (specifically RAF Lakenheath in West Suffolk)! I am completely beside myself with excitement as I’ve been trying to get an assignment in the UK for the last 11 years. This would be a two-year assignment then likely back to the States.
So here’s the potentially crazy part…I am looking at exporting my 6 yr old gelding, Sig, with me. I know most people tend to either lease their horses out stateside, or sell, rather than put them on a plane and deal with the hassle and expense of bringing them to Europe (and back). But Sig and I are finally starting to really click, he is going so, so well right now, and is really making me happy (“happy” has been a struggle for me lately, so that says a lot about him). It’s just him and me, he’s my family. The thought of leaving him behind again, or selling him, just crushes me. I already spent a year away from him when I was in Okinawa, Japan. Based off initial internet research and talking with some expats in the US, that area near Lakenheath seems pretty horsey and there should be several options for yards. I don’t have other major expenses other than the horse and financially this is something I can swing, albeit I won’t be rich but hey…I think it’s probably worth it for the adventure.
So, having only gotten the word this week and this assignment coming by complete surprise… What do I need to know either about exporting horses to the UK or the UK horse scene in general?
I’m already starting to price companies like Horseflight, Dutta Corp, etc on export costs and procedures and starting to get my head wrapped around that process. As I get closer I’ll start contacting yards, but I’m already thinking of moving myself to the UK first, leaving Sig here in training in KY, and moving him a month or two later once I’m settled and I’ve had time to visit some yards/liveries in person and find the right fit.
We’re pretty independent as a team and don’t need our hand held in a strict, trainer-driven “program.” He’s pretty easy to live with, very low maintenance, enjoys living out 24/7 or turned out at night. I do love taking dressage and jump lessons, love hacking out, and my plan over there isn’t to necessarily show or compete a ton, but just to enjoy my horse and make sure he’s happy.
There is a part of me that’s ultra conservative and thinking that moving him over with me is selfish and not in his best interest. So I’m not sure what this thread is for exactly other than to just vent some of this excitement and nervousness. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!