Where to begin. We had the most incredible trip to Sutherland Springs, Texas. Our Certification Course was amazing, however, the people we met were absolutely life-changing.
Our trip started out fantastic. We left cold, cold Calgary to head to warm, warm Texas. Kari and Karsyn were heading down to instruct the course.
Once we landed in Austin, we picked up our rental car and headed to our hotel. At this time in Austin, the SXSW Conference & Festival was happening, which is a HUGEEE event. So we arrived at our hotel and we find out that we don’t have a room and they gave ours away. Yup. That’s right. No room for us. Now the whole city was entirely booked up and so hotels were going at rates of $15,000 a night and upwards. We didn’t know what to do. We were confused about how this have possibly happened. And so we did what we do best. Call Carolyn.
She saved us from sleeping in the car. She somehow managed to find the last room in Austin and we didn’t care what it was, we took it!
Once we checked in, we decided to call an UBER and head downtown to check out the festival. It was neat, we had FANTASTIC hot dogs (seriously, the best hot dogs we have ever eaten), went on a little bike ride tour of the city and headed back to our hotel.
Then we woke up the next morning and headed to Sutherland Springs, where we would be running the Certification Course. We had the best Airbnb host and she had chickens… EVERYWHERE! We were in heaven. It was so much fun!
Then we had the opportunity to meet all of the horses at the facility we were hosting at. The facility was an equine rescue, so each of the horses had a story of their own. Meeting them all was incredible. It’s always such an honour to be around such majestic and honest creatures.
The Certification Course was incredible. Each morning we would start out with the theory on equine assisted learning and each afternoon we would apply the theory with working with the teachers (the horses) while running our programs out in the arena with the horses.
This is where we had the chance to meet these life-changing individuals. We don’t know if you have heard of Sutherland Springs before, but there was a tragic shooting that had occurred in 2017. The rescue that we were hosting at wanted to help the community with this tragedy, as well as other hardships in the community, to help their community members move forward in their lives through the power of the horse. We don’t know what it was about this trip, but we met such incredible human beings. And all of them had suffered some sort of loss in their lives. It was truly incredible and humbling to cross paths with these individuals. What a beautiful mark to be left on our hearts.
So once the 5 Day Certification was done, we were on our way back home. We drove from just outside of San Antonio to Austin, Texas to catch our flight. Once we arrived at the airport, we bought ourselves a coffee and muffin and we were ready to board our flight. And so we waited. And waited. And then we were told about 45 minutes after our boarding time, that the flight was going to be delayed. And so we waited and waited and waited some more. Half of the plane had already boarded at this point. We had then found out that our plane had a dent in the tail and it had to be analyzed, measured, sent to Chicago and given the go-ahead before the plane would be able to leave. So everyone un-boarded the flight and waited with us. We had to catch our connecting flight from Houston, Texas to Calgary, Alberta within the next hour and a half. AND, if we chose to leave the airport, it was the last flight out of Austin until the following Monday because of the huge festival. FINALLY, the flight was given the go-ahead. So we all boarded (again) and once we were waiting for departure, we realized that the clock was ticking and we were on the brink of missing our connecting flight. By the time we departed, we knew that we had officially missed our connecting flight to Calgary. And so we landed in Houston, went and talked to United Airlines Customer Service and were roomed at a hotel for the night. So another night in Texas it was. And a memorable one at that! We definitely made the most of the cards we were dealt. We always say that there is a reason for everything.
Memories were made during this trip. And needless to say, it was an unforgettable trip. Thank you to all of the beautiful people we met on this trip, as you have forever left an imprint on our hearts and made it a truly unforgettable experience.