Friday, June 18, 2010

And He's Off...

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It most certainly has been a long and interesting journey with Red. Slow, challenging, rewarding. Sometimes frustrating, sometimes exhilarating. Not nearly the progress I'd hoped to make, but for Red, it was a tremendous amount.

Today Red loaded into a stock trailer and headed on down the road. While I know he's far better equipped today than he was a month ago to make this trip, there was still some trepidation on my part when it came to loading him into an unfamiliar trailer. But you know what? He really did quite well. Amazingly well, considering it was a ramp, and there were two horse faces hanging over the rails of the stalls inside.

The driver was a bit nervous about it all as well.

Here's what the trailer looked like from the inside, just in case you've never had the opportunity to haul commercially. There was a side door and a ramp. Inside, there are two straight load stalls to the right, and two to the left, and about 8' of open space in between. The horse is loaded, then turned and backed into one of these straight load stalls.

I gulped. I was unprepared for Red needing to back into such a tiny space. And while he's backed up a bit, he certainly hasn't had to back 6' into a narrow space. He didn't plan on making this the first time he did it, either, and once he was up the ramp and it was closed behind him, he darted into 'his' stall, which was to our right. But he only got halfway in. Then driver climbed in through an escape door and all I could think was how a few months ago Red would have smashed his skull like a watermelon with those hind feet. Today, however, he just stood nervously until the stranger was in, then he shot backward out of his space and flipped around in that tiny little alleyway.

By now, roughly five minutes into the whole thing, Red had a couple of big dings on his face from where he'd crashed into the wall. You now know why the driver was nervous!

Red's frame is big, and the stalls are meant to have the horses facing into the center alley. Red again went in forward, but to get the bar in place (which should have been at his chest), he needed to squish in like an accordion. Well...what to do? He obviously wasn't going to back in, so the bar went across his butt and the big boy was in place. No kicking, no hissy fits, just standing there all squished up.

The driver was a bit concerned about the horse fighting his confinement once on the road and warned that he may be back, but I was sure that once Red settled in he'd be fine, even if he did look a bit like a sardine.

And they were off...

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I called Sarah, Red's adopter, and told her he was on his way, a little banged up but settled in. Within minutes of hanging up, the phone rang. It was the driver.

"I'm on my way back..."

No! No! What? Why?

"...because I got to thinking that I can move that center divider and maybe we can get him to turn around..."

Whew!

Back into the driveway, the center divider unlatched at one end and Red whipped himself around so that he was now facing the alleyway and the horses across from him. The driver put up a hay net for him, which he went straight to work on. Happy, content. At least as much as Red can get.

And they were off...again...

8 comments:

S said...

OMG! When you said he called and was on his way back............I gasped. I thought he was pummeling the inside or something. So glad the driver thought of something else to have him turn around. When is he expected to land at his new home?

Tracey said...

Should be a five day journey. They'll haul out of Seattle tonight and stop in S.Dakata, rest a day, then to Kentucky, another day's rest, then to WV.

Breathe said...

Glad it went well. I hope we hear how he does in WV...

Paint Girl said...

Hey, what was the name of the transport company? We had a trailer pick up a horse at the farm this morning to deliver it to it's new owner and the trailer sounds exactly like the one that picked it up. The driver told me she had just received a call to go pick up a horse an hour or so from our farm. Just wondering if it was the same trailer!
Sounds like Red did really well loading considering the trailer was so different. I bet his owners are very excited to get him!

JeniQ said...

I'm not sure I could let them go..... I hope Red is successful at his new place.

~Jeni

Shirley said...

I think you have done a fine job in a month. Hope his journey is a safe one and that he arrives sound of mind and body.

CTG Ponies said...

Glad to hear that he loaded and got on his way.

Gina said...

Just a thought on future mustangs/ horses, and trailer loading... if you practice backing through gates and into their stalls, playing the squeeze game as Parelli calls it. I know backing into a trailer will be a snap.

~Gina
Parelli Central