Saturday, March 1, 2008

February's Progress

Early morning turn out

The month started out so well, didn't it? In fact, it seems like ages ago rather than just a month that I bought that new rope and started getting the halter on and off Firecracker. I printed a calendar for the month and listed all the things I wanted to accomplish with her. And at first, it seemed as though we'd get it all done:

Catching and Haltering
Sheet/blanket on
Pivot
Bridge
Pick up all 4 feet
Lunge
Walk over tarp
Lateral flex
Walk through creek
Flag without spook
Stand tied
Saddle Blanket
Side Pass
Load in horse trailer
Groom entire body
Walk over poles
Saddle Up

But mid month the focus shifted to keeping the pinched nerve and shoulder from getting any worse, and to spreading the new gravel in the paddock. Still, FC has progressed to a point where I'm comfortable having her. She can be caught while turned out as long as I'm offering grain. She'll stand tied (although to be honest, she's not been tied, just the rope looped around the post, but she does stand and wait patiently), and she's picking up all four feet. I've worked on her pivots and she's got some lateral flex (not a lot, but she understands the concept.) Darling has been able to groom her, and while I haven't got a sheet here to put on her, she allows the saddle blanket to be rubbed all over her body, so I suspect that'll be an easy enough step. Basically, she can be handled without endangering anyone, and whinnies and comes to the gate when she sees us. And of course, I've once again thrown the flag off to the corner in bitter disgust. Hey...did you really imagine a relationship could actually develop between me and the flag?

Because of my shoulder and FC's tendency to bolt the first couple times I led her in the pasture, I opted not to take her for any walks outside yet. Naturally, after a few turn outs and some time to stretch her legs, she's settled right down, but I'll wait until I heal up a bit more before risking a runaway in the outside world. Ought to be interesting to see how the shoulder holds up to Sandy, eh?

And in other news...

Don't Shout for Joy Just Yet...
or...
God Is So Good!

Before securing the big four horse trailer, a neighbor had told me I could use his stock trailer to pick Sandy up with. I had access, of course, to the two horse, but really wanted the extra space. But when I went to take a closer look at it, I found it was built for cows; only 6' high. Which led me to the four horse that I showed you the other day.

The owner of the borrowed trailer was needing to use it this weekend. As I was hauling it back to her, I decided to have the brakes looked at. It would never do to be traveling over the Siskiyous and have no brakes to aid in stopping. That's a heavy trailer, after all.

And guess what? No brakes.

That, of course, put me back into the small two horse, which I've been trying to avoid. I know the horse will likely fit into it without any problem (heck, if Jet fits, anything short of a Clydesdale will), but with an overnight stop planned I really wanted to give the horse a bit more room. Plus, I'll need to be reaching a hose in to add water for him (her?) to drink at stops along the way; an added couple of feet makes a huge difference, allowing the horse to turn away and feel just a wee bit safer.

So as I sat there in my truck, hitched up to the brakeless trailer, I pondered my options. Across the road was Brim Tractor. They'd recently added Silver Lite trailers to their inventory. Last fall, long before the Western States Challenge had even been announced, I'd stopped in and been referred to one of the salesmen. Nicely, and with contact information for Silver Lite's area rep, he turned me down. I think he was under the impression I was asking for a trailer, not a loan. I'd stopped in a week ago as well, thinking I'd try one more time. I was directed to the same man, who this time wasn't in, but they left him a message. He returned the call, leaving me his cell phone number, but I knew I wouldn't get anywhere. He was, after all, the salesman.

And yet...and yet...there they were, those lovely silver trailers glistening in the sun right in front of me. I pulled across the street and walked through the doors a third time.

This time I spoke to someone else. This guy said, "Talk to Dan Brim, he's the owner, the one who signs the checks, the one who makes the decisions... His is that office there, the dark one that's empty." He smiled. "Come back tomorrow, he'll be here." And come back I did.

"I haven't got a problem letting you use one, but they're not licensed. If you can figure out a way to make one legal on the street, you can borrow one," he paused a moment. "You know how to make it legal?" Nope, I didn't. He smiled, "Bet you're going to find out, aren't you?" He smiled, as did I. Yes, I would find a way.

As it turns out, what you need are trip permits. I bought two; each good for three consecutive days. This, now, is the trailer I'll be using; a three horse Silver Lite Bandit. Your assignment, now, is to pray that Sandy behaves inside of it so I don't bring it back totally thrashed!


Just four more days before I leave to pick up Sandy!


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9 comments:

Rising Rainbow said...

I gave up on horse training schedules a long time ago. Life was always getting into the way and slaughtering my schedule. I think you did great getting as far as you did.

I hate to ask this question but are trip permits legal outside the state? I thought they were for in state only.

Tracey said...

That's a very good question. I told them I was hauling to CA, and they didn't bat an eye...but afterwards, as I was looking at it, I began to ask myself the same question!

jules said...

O my gosh, only four more days 'til we meet Speck O' Sand - I'm so excited! I bet you are too - & a little anxious, maybe? It's going to be such an adventure, I think you're amazing doing this.

What happens to the mustang after the challenge? Is s/he adopted out elsewhere? Do you get to "vet" the new owners?

I wish I could have him/her [living in Australia regardless!] ... I've fallen in love with the mustangs at this & other blogs, they seem to have amazing personalities & are just my size! [b/w 13 & 14 hh is 'just my size' - I'm a 155 cm 55 kg munchkin in other words] I'm astonished at how sweet-natured & trusting they are, for "wild horses". How is that, do you think?

Tracey said...

It's pretty amazing, isn't it, Jules? I think, especially when you get one who's been wild for a couple of years, they've learned a different social structure than our domestic horses. They understand respect in a way horses who've been raised in solitary confinement, or even with the same age group, can't ever learn. At least, that's my uneducated guess.

The competition is in June. We've got both in hand and riding classes on Friday and Saturday, then on Sunday morning the horses will be adopted out to the highest bidder. Adopters will need to meet BLM requirements; they won't legally have title to the horse until one year has passed and they've proven they're responsible horse owners.

Jessie said...

Tracey! I'm glad you found a safe trailer to use! I am so excited for you, it makes me wish I was doing this all over again already and I'm just half way through my own journey!

Good luck, drive safe, and keep us posted! Can't wait to meet Sandy.

Callie said...

I miss my trailer.........Had to sell it to get childbrat into college, but it was a 16 foot feather light stock trailer goose neck, easily could fit four in, no problem. Loved it!...Good luck with that trip!

jules said...

Tracy, thanks for answering my dumb-sounding query. It makes sense - they don't know to be spooky & untrusting, & they acknowledge the position of the alpha mare [you, hee!]. They are just so damn loveable, like big fuzzy teddy bears ... Pony sized maybe but not pony in their proportions or attitude.

I can't wait!

Katee said...

Oh, this is going to be so much fun! My bet is that Sandy is going to be a gelding. He'll be the little prince around your farm!

Callie said...

OK, Tracey, off topic, I'm dying to know what horse forum you refer to on comment at Mikael's blog that "BigGreen" said once again naughty things. Would love to read and have a giggle, uh snort......