Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Good Move

Well, that went a LOT better than I expected!

We got to Judy's early enough so I could ride before Sofie's ride got there. Sofie was quite calmed by the heat and not entirely thrilled about going for a ride, but we did our thing and the exercise was probably good for my nerves. Right after we finished up I saw the trailer pull in, so I led her straight to the barn and untacked her while the ramp was lowered and paperwork was signed. Sofie was still nice and calm, and didn't seem to suspect anything of us. I was so nervous. I just don't "do" trailers. I've never gone to shows or anything like that, and I had a bad experience when we hauled a weanling who had a fit in the trailer and managed to split her forehead open. Sofie didn't have trailering issues, to my knowledge, but still, it had been a long time since she'd gone anywhere. And I knew she really liked it at Judy's so I didn't know if she'd willingly leave. And I worried my nerves were going to affect her. But this was something I really needed to prove to myself that I could do. So I led her up to the ramp and I walked up into the trailer. Sofie didn't follow me right up, but she didn't pull back or try to go off to the side, so I just waited for a minute, and then she walked right up the bouncy ramp without hesitation. I took her all the way into the trailer and the woman who was hauling for us closed the divider as I slipped out. Sofie got a little high-headed at that point, but she didn't seem too stressed. So we finished loading up all our gear, said goodbye to Judy and then we followed Sofie out of the drive. Sofie's best mare friend, Piper actually ran up to the fence and called to her as she left (Piper actually looked more upset than Sofie).

I was a little emotional during the drive to the new barn, but Sofie trailered well. We were fortunate to be able to find someone with a nice stock trailer, so she was able to be loose in the trailer, which seems to suit her. She moved about and looked around, actually putting her head down some of the time! When we got to the new barn and she started to smell the horses she became excited and the head came up. I started to not look especially forward to the unloading process, but Sofie was actually very good. She listened when she was told to wait, and she came out of the trailer calmly. She wasn't quite sure how to get back down the ramp (I'm not sure if she had ever even dealt with a ramp before), so she jumped down. After that I decided to lead her around, since she was actually not freaking out/spinning/dragging me around. So we went all over, checking out the round pen where she would spend her first few days, and looking at the minis, which were slightly alarming at first but then not so much. I showed her the barn, which was rather big and different but still to her liking. Then we went in the (freaking gorgeous) indoor arena to get our introduction to mirrors! And...apparently we don't care about mirrors!

We spent some time in the indoor, and then I took her back outside and we decided to try and give her a bath since she was all sweaty from the ride (both of them). We had only recently conquered the hose (we used to not stand for it), but I halted her and we turned on the hose. And she stood like a rock, totally fine, happy even. After a while I let her graze, and she was even happier doing that. I just couldn't believe she was actually standing. I thought for sure she would regress, at least temporarily. It was such a big change for her, and she handled it fantastically.

After she dried off I put her in the round pen, where she ate her hay, tried out her shelter, and once again was totally fine. I knew she had come a long way, and I knew we had a much better rapport than we had before. I just never expected her to just be okay. It was such a relief, and just...amazing.

The next day we went out again, and she was still doing just fine in her round pen. She seemed pleased to see me, and she did pretty well standing in the barn. She was not entirely stationary, wanting to look at things, but she was still nice and relaxed. I got her tacked up and we went for our first ride in the new place. I wasn't quite sure about the weather and I was a little nervous, so we started out in the (freaking gorgeous) indoor. She got a little nervous when she heard someone yelling at a misbehaving horse, but she did stand and I did manage to mount up without incident. We just walked around for a while, doing our extended, somewhat bobbly warmup. Then we took it up a trot and started cruising.

I. Love. That. Indoor. First of all, it's massive. 200 by 100 feet! There are actual mirrors, so I can actually see what I'm doing! And it's groomed, watered and actually maintained. It's amazing. LOVE. IT. And Sofie seemed to love it too. She was able to really open up, and we did our straight lines and generous, sweeping turns. She was inverted at first, but I didn't worry too much about it. I wasn't going to sweat it on her first ride in a new place. I just worked in some turns and lightly asked for flexion, then released. And when I released she really relaxed and lowered her head, and then pretty much stayed in a really nice, open frame the rest of the ride. I was able to see what she was doing in the mirrors (love the mirrors!) and she actually looked really pretty once she relaxed. She was really moving forward, just cruising along, and she was happy. She was actually dripping foam (without being pulled in or nagged, I was pretty much doing nothing with the reins once she lowered her head). We did a couple canters, which weren't too great as she kind of wanted to run into them. Not sure if she felt unsure in the footing or what, but I just kind of left it alone after that, and we'll work on it later. I was mostly happy about the nice trot work she was doing.

After a while I decided I really wanted to go on a trail ride, so I got off, tightened her girth and got my mom to hold the stirrup on the other side so I could mount from the ground. Then we headed out. She was very good about leaving the barn and going out on a new trail in a new place, maybe slightly hesitant, but she went along with my request. The only issue we had was a terrifying junk car in the woods. OMG we do NOT approve of junk cars in the woods. We stopped and stared, and thought about going backwards but then we were courageous and we went past it. We also do not approve of sheet metal in the woods, although we do not hate it as much as junk cars. Basically, we don't approve of garbage in the woods. At all. Someone should do something!

We just went on a short ride, as I didn't want to overdo. But there are soooo many nice trails. There's an especially inviting, wide, grassy trail that would be great for cantering...we are going to get in shape, that's for sure! We could ride all day here. I was just thrilled with how good she was. I mean, how many people go on a solo trail ride their first day at a new barn? But that's how we roll. I'm so happy with my horse, and I'm glad we chose this barn. I think we're going to have a lot of fun here.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like she did really well - and you are both settled in.