Monday, May 20, 2013
Our First Mile Together
While I have truly loved almost every minute of raising my own (horse) there are those times where I really do wish I could just skip past those scary "firsts". Hola has been hauled a half dozen times. Always with the comfort of her bestie M and always in a big 3 horse angle haul. My goal this week was to get Hola in my new little 2 horse straight haul and take her around the block all by herself. A "first" I have been dreading for a month now.
I am all about prep work but I also have a hard time taking my time when I get fixated on my goal or schedule. I was really impatient to haul my own horse in my own trailer for the very first time (in my life) but I promised myself that I would take a week to get her head where I wanted it. She had been turned out with her buddies for two weeks straight while I was in Hawaii and so I took her for a walk every night down the road by herself and left her tied to the wall for a bit afterwards. I also had her walk in and out of the trailer a dozen times to help her get used to walking in and (most importantly) out on the ramp. She really wanted to turn around. I was dreading the moment I had to tie her in that trailer. I dreaded it enough that I put off for a full two days before I got mad at myself one evening, hitched up the trailer and headed to the barn with a determined objective of get'n'r done! I got her from the field and let her give the trailer a good sniff. She loaded easy and stood eating hay quietly. I held my breath a clipped her in. I held it through that first moment she figured out she was tied. I braced myself for the panic. It didn't come. She took a step back, felt that she was tied and took a step forward. When I closed the upper doors she still didn't panic. I had just about exhaled when I went to lift that bottom ramp. It squeeked. It squeeled. It grumbled. Hola just about climbed in to the manger. Her bum scootched right up and her flank quivered by she didn't pull back. Good girl. I closed up the trailer and headed down the driveway. I was a mile away before I realized I still hadn't exhaled. I took her for a five minute ride around the block. By the time we pulled in the driveway I had gotten over the anxiety over loading her. I was, however, well in to getting worried about unloading. When the time came I opened the doors and Hola, bless her heart, stood like a champ. I left her to stand in the trailer for a few minutes. I gave her grain which she ate with enthusiasm. It is hard work being a big girl. I had finally relaxed as I knew that she was well versed at backing out of the trailer. Without thinking much about it, I unhooked her lead from the manger door and walked around to the back of trailer. I had spent the past half hour so focused and so carefully planning every single step and right at the very last minute I just stopped thinking. I walked around the back of the trailer and found Hola with her head cranked around towards her flank and one step away from wedging herself against the wall in an attempt to turn around. I jumped forward, pushed her face back towards the front and grabbed her lead. She tried twice more to turn around and twice I was able to stop her. Finally I got in front of her and asked her to back out. She looked at me like, "Oh! Right! We back out of this trailer." And walked out just as cool as cucumber. Disaster averted.
I took Hola out again last night. She was as good as gold. This week I am going to haul out to a few local parks for some quiet walks and then we are going to start dropping in to some events. Hola doesn't know it but a whole new chapter in our life together began that night we drove our first mile