My Horses Are Home

I can’t believe it. All this time, working towards this goal and they are finally here. Everyday for the last month we have worked to the point of exhaustion on digging post holes, stretching fencing, finishing the barn, and removing weeds from the pasture. Finally, on Saturday I went to get Blondie and Zi. My good friend Patty went with me from my house to the barn and back, which turned out to be a very good thing.

(Yes, I know technically the heavier horse is supposed to be on the driver’s side. I had a reason for loading Blondie on the passenger side.)

The Trip Home

I put Blondie in the trailer first, thinking that would make it easier for Zi who had never been in a straight load. That turned out to be a mistake because Blondie was agitated – pawing, trying to turn her head around in the trailer, etc. It still didn’t phase Zi much though. Once she figured out Blondie was being silly she walked right into the trailer with me and stood like a champ. I figured at this point Blondie would calm down, but that’s not what happened. Instead I think she realized that it wasn’t JJ going with her in the trailer. Patty and I hopped in the truck, planning to get rolling which would get the horses to focus on staying steady on their feet. Right when I started the truck I felt the trailer jerk the truck around pretty good. My friends at the barn hollered, “don’t go – she’s over the chest bar.”

I jumped out and ran back to Blondie’s door. When I opened the door her front legs were 6 inches above the floor. She tried to stick her head out the door. For a second I thought she was going to try to come through the door, then I realized she was trying to get her hind legs up to support more of her weight. Ok, good so far. She was pretty calm. I managed to pull the quick release pin on the chest bar and then shove her back so the bar would fall out of the bracket. She dropped to the floor. Now she did move as if she was going to come through the door. I yelled at her and pushed her back (she would not fit through the door so it was imperative that she not attempt it), pulled the chest bar back into place. Phew. She was calm now so we jumped in the truck and got the wheels rolling. Both horses were quiet for the short ride.

At home, they both unloaded quietly. Blondie first – I did not want a repeat performance of her earlier antics. And then Zi, who again stood like a champ and didn’t even try to back out of the trailer until I asked her to. Patty was feeding them treats so that probably helped too! We walked them around the perimeter of the pasture and then let them loose to graze.

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The rest of the afternoon they were grazing, but were very much on alert for all the new sounds here. After a couple of hours on the grass I locked them in their paddocks and gave them some hay for dinner. Blondie was on alert all evening and probably all night. She was bossing Zi around, but wasn’t mean to her.

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First Full Day at Home

In the morning they both looked so tired. I’m sure neither of them laid down. I wonder how many days it will take before they’re comfortable enough to really rest? Hopefully not too many. After breakfast I let them out to graze for 3 hours. Our grass is not very green and I have been taking them out to graze for 30 minutes to 2 hours while they were at L&R.

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While they were grazing Richard worked on the fence and I continued pulling up ‘scotch’ broom and alder tree roots. They did stop eating for a little while so they could take a nap in the sun. The rest of the day they were in their paddocks. I cleaned up in the barn, moved my gear into the tack room, and Richard cut down some weeds. So we were outside most of the day where they could see us. Blondie was still on alert, but clearly more comfortable as they spent more time in their stalls where it was cool.

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Second Full Day at Home

This morning both of them looked more rested than yesterday. That’s a good thing, though I don’t believe Blondie has laid down yet. I don’t think Zi has either, but she is so laid back maybe I’m wrong. She will be a calming influence on Blondie. The herd dominance issue seems to be settling too. Poor Zi, yesterday she just wanted to eat with Blondie and Blondie wouldn’t let her. This morning they were both cleaning up scraps of hay in the same stall.

I headed off to work today. R had instructions that they can go out for 3 hours on the pasture. I know he can catch Blondie and if he catches her, Zi will follow. He called me 3 times with updates on what they were doing. 🙂

I am so glad they are home, but I have to say it is heartbreaking these first few days to take them away from their friends. Blondie and JJ miss each other terribly. JJ was not interested in grazing around his pasture yesterday. I’m sure Blondie is looking for him and vice versa. Zi will bounce back quicker, though I’m sure she misses Pepper. At some point I’ll be trailering up to L&R to ride and visit, but right now I’m wondering how much time needs to go by before I do that. I could see Blondie refusing to go in the trailer to leave too. Maybe I need to make the trip a couple days in a row so she realizes she’ll still get to see him?

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Tonight, they are obviously more settled. They are both staying relaxed in their stalls, instead of sticking their heads out every minute. They’re much more friendly with each other today too.

3 Responses to “My Horses Are Home”

  1. Terri Says:

    What an adventure. As a city girl I am fairly terrified of horses. You are amazing.

  2. Anne Says:

    The set-up looks fantastic – I am SO glad you have them home.

    I’d estimate a week before they get really really comfortable and understand they are “home”, and not just waiting to go back – Blondie anyway. She’s not used to going and “sleeping over” at a new place, so I’m sure she’s a little confused AND she’s technically “in charge” now on solo lead-mare duties, which is a big responsibility.

    If it were me, I’d wait until this first week is over. After that, mebbe haul her over to the barn, not even unload – just pull in, give her some treats, let her stand for 5 or 10 minutes and haul her home. And then when you do go to ride, try for a back-to-back, even if all you do one day is take her and unload her, and then have someone help you reload (if you need to) after she’s had a brush-down and a drink and a treat. So she gets that’s the deal.

  3. Monika Says:

    That’s so wonderful. Reading this choked me up some, and I don’t even know why. I’m happy for you!

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