Travelling in Style
Due to some last minute hiccups with my trailer I had to hire someone to pick us up saturday morning. I woke up really early and could not get back to sleep. After laying there for a while mentally reviewing my packing list I decided to get up and feed. I fed both horses and then let them out for a bit before James came with the trailer. We had settled on 8 a.m. as a very civilized time to depart. At 7:30 I stood up to refill my coffee mug and saw Irish staring at the road. I followed his gaze and saw the trailer parked there. I went out, brought in the two horses and walked down to meet this man that I was trusting my baby with. He seemed nice enough and I showed him where he could pull in for loading Steele. I explained that it was his first time travelling since he arrived at my place a few years ago (really? has it been that long? Seems like yesterday). He had brought a big stock trailer with two box stalls. He said that these are good for the young horses because they can move around.
I walked Steele up and he sniffed at it curiously. I stepped up (it was a step up trailer) and he jumped up beside me. When he did that it rattled a bit which startled him. He danced a little but when he saw that I wasn't panicking he calmed down. I walked him to the back and James closed the stall door. Steele looked around and was definitely up, but not too stressed. We let him figure out where he was and that there was hay (life is always better with hay). James and I discussed the best route. At the end of our road, if you go left it's the most direct to the highway but very twisty. If your go right it's more straight. We settled on right. I watched him leave with my baby, did a quick trip to the barn to check on things and was heading to my truck when I saw that Ed had let the dogs out. I brought them back in, gave Ed last minute instructions on Irish and left in the truck.
It took a long time to catch up to James. Not that he was driving fast- he wasn't but I had dilly-dallied too long. I was just beginning to wonder if he hadn't turned left after all and I had passed him (what if he broke down and you missed it? Shut up head! James has my cell he'd call. Not if he crashed. Knock it off) when I saw him ahead. I followed the rest of the way. I have to say that he gave Steele a nice and easy ride.
The show grounds are about an 80 minute drive so it doesn't take too long. When I went to get Steele I could see that he was alert but he was neither sweated nor stressed. And all his hay was gone. I walked him to the edge and James told me to not be surprised if he hesitates. "some horses leap off, others take a while". I gave him the lead line figuring that he was more experienced than I was. Steele was funny- sniffing the edge of the 'cliff', peeking down and looking at me. James rubbed his head and said "doesn't matter to me if you take 3 hours buddy. You take your time." Since I was paying him by the km and not the hour I was impressed with that. I realized that my friend had been completely correct in her recommendation. James and I chatted idly for about 15 minutes when I saw Steele ready him self and carefully bring his front end onto the ground. Now he was half on-half off the trailer. Three seconds later he was totally off. He looked quite pleased with himself. And rightly so.
I rubbed his forehead.
"Now we're going to walk over to that big barn. When we get there there's going to be lots of excitement- horses, riders, servants etc. Don't worry. I'm with you"
He followed me through the parked cars and trailer up to the barn just like we were home. At the door of the barn I hesitated to give him a chance to take it all in. We then walked in and up to his stall.
Now I should explain about his stall. In the Windsor Exhibition Show Grounds there is an ancient barn with stalls of all types. Knowing that Steele can escape at times I booked him into a big one made out of portable panels. that way I knew he'd be safe. So there is a cement ledge on which sits the pipe of the portable stall. All in all it's about 4 inches high. Steele looked at that and froze. He could not figure out how to step over it. He tried once and banged his toe so he stopped.
"sorry, it's blocking me. I can't get in"
My neighbours came over to help. A couple were gently tapping on his hind quarters while I urged him from the front. I even tried treats. Nope. He wasn't refusing, he just couldn't figure out how to do it. I also think that he enjoyed the attention. After about 10 minutes of this I asked Danielle to hold the lead line and I went up and took his front leg. He's used to me lifting it to stretch out the skin after I tighten the girth. This time I picked up his right leg and placed it into the stall.
So now picture this adorable young Andalulsian with one leg in, three legs out while three women are coaxing him in and he's completely frozen. Like a statue.
With a sigh I take a hold of his left leg and place it inside. Now he's half in -half out. In 10 seconds the penny drops and he goes 'oh!" and comes in as nice as you please. I thanked my helpers. One thing I love about the shows here is that everyone goes out of their way to be supportive and helpful.
We had arrived and were already getting attention.
|do not tell that story!|
|um, where's Irish?|