Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Trunk Full of Tack

Yesterday I left my house at 8:00 AM and didn't return until 5:30 PM. In between it was quite the day.

I arrived at the barn shortly after the crew had rolled off with the first load of horses, as I knew Steen was going in the second load. I pulled up, parked and first cleaned out my tack locker, which fortunately wasn't all that hard as I've tried to keep it pretty clean. I loaded everything in my car except Steen's nylon halter, grooming bucket, groundwork stuff (rope, stick, rope-halter) and bridle. Then I went and got Steen, and brought him inside. He was good while I groomed him and we went to the arena and did a fair amount of groundwork. Then I hopped on for a short bareback walk and trot ride. I'd have gone longer, but it was a hot, humid day and the indoor arena was heating up like a sauna. Also, the effects of my watering had expired and it was super dusty in there again.

After the ride, I put Steen back in the pasture so he could have a chance to drink and relax a little more. I took the rest of my things, except Steen's halter, to my car. Shortly thereafter, the trailers returned for load two.

As much as I adore Steen, I'd had some serious worries about how well he'd load. He hadn't, after all, set foot in a trailer in over a year and he is nervous and claustrophobic to begin with. However, he did alright. We loaded him fourth, after Star (alpha mare), the friendly Arab who's name I can never remember, and Mo (one of Steen's good buddies). Steen put his front feet up without a problem but then backed up four or five times, refusing to follow me into the trailer. I just let him retreat, talked to him soothingly and then tried again, and in a matter of minutes he stepped up, and after that was a good boy.

Cal loaded after Steen and Trailer One pulled off. Then we went to the other trailer and loaded Lightfoot, Leonard, Daisy and Shado. Trailer Two hit the highway and I followed in my civic. The drive across town went well, and we pulled onto the new land 40 minutes later. Trailer One unloaded nicely, Steen coming right off and then following me calmly to the new pasture, where the first load of horses was already grazing. Trailer Two had a few iffy moments, with Daisy deciding it was time to back out prematurely. Luckily, we had many people on hand and we got her back in place and untied without incident.

After that, I spent the rest of the day helping with the transfer of less temperamental cargo. We hauled the trailers back to the old barn and filled them again with hay, grain, tack, mounting blocks, bricks, palettes, you name it. If it was on the premises and portable, we took it. I think the highlight of the day may have been when Cathi and I were balancing on a little 4 inch strip of grass between a mud puddle and a fence by the horse trough in the upper pasture, chasing goldfish with an old colander. We caught nine, and they later rode in a feed bucket at my feet to the new place, where we safely placed them in their new troughs.

The new place is still very much under construction. Actually, construction hasn't even started on the barn. I am a bit bummed that riding is going to be difficult for a while, but I am trying to think of this as an opportunity to be more flexible in my habits and a chance to help Steen become braver by forcing us to encounter new things with more regularity. I have to laugh at myself a little, actually. In one year I've gone from scoffing at indoor arenas to relying on them. I need to get back to the realization that all I really need is something to tie my horse to for a few minutes and the tack in my trunk to enjoy my equine companion.

In the long run, it will be a good change. We'll have access to trails , as well as indoor and outdoor arenas as before. Most happily, however, is the drive. I clocked it on the way home. 15 minutes. Way better than 30.

A few photos:

The stall horses - their "stalls" for a while are made of temporary fence panels.

The pastures horses, who will now enjoy approximately four times the space as before.

Steen, cool with the new place, not sure about the camera.

The semi unloading into the machine shed, wherein Cathi and her family will live until the barn goes up and they can get around to building a house.

The fish. In their bucket.


  1. That's awesome that you guys have fish in the water troughs. :) I've heard of people doing that, but never had them myself (we always had automatic water troughs...until I started boarding, but we still don't have fish).

    Glad to hear to move all went well. I agree that you don't need an indoor arena to enjoy riding...I hardy ever use it even now that I do have access to one. I like being out under the blue sky (or sometimes overcast cloudy sky) too much. :)

  2. I got into the habit of using the indoor arena because Steen is just so much calmer inside, it's just easier. But before the winter I never thought of riding indoors if there was any alternative. Unfortunately, with the way the mud and the ice get here, sometimes there really isn't an alternative. Still, I'd like to get back in the habit of riding outdoors whenever possible.

    And the fish. Yeah. They're pretty great. ;)


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