Saturday, July 23, 2016

Some Days are Tougher Than Others

Especially when you have a pony mare.

As mentioned the plan was to have a lesson with L's instructor who I'll call Jane. I had it scheduled on Friday for 7:00 but, totally my fault, never confirmed with the BM since I knew she planned on bringing horses over on Friday morning. However, when I got to the barn at 6:00pm on Friday night Katai was happily eating hay in her stall.

Worse, it was still extremely hot so I wasn't quite sure if anyone would be willing to help me move her. I texted my BM and called Jane to let her know that we either needed to cancel, and hopefully reschedule, or that I would at least be late. My amazing BM came through and lent one of the women who works at the barn her trailer so that she could haul us. Since there were other horses to go over we decided to take Katai and her paddock buddy to keep them both happy and get two horses over  rather than just one.

We loaded the other horse first and then went to load Katai. She hopped on so easily last time after my reminder about how to load that I figured she'd just hop right on. However, she decided that she didn't feel like it. We tried bribery, we tried using a dressage whip to tap her until she moved forward, we tried a stud chain (for the first time), I tried having someone else load her, and finally one of the other people who works at the barn (there were four of us working on this at this point and it was in the mid 90s) suggested that we just drug her (for the first time).

I agreed.

It really couldn't make it much worse and it's not something I've tried before. Since Katai was already upset the trainer gave her a cocktail of Dorm and Ace. She gave her a really small dose but Katai went to a very drunken happy place pretty quick and didn't seem to remember how to move her feet. Luckily she's an 800 pound horse and not a 1200+ pound horse so we were able physically push her up the ramp (thank goodness it was a ramp) and get her in the trailer.

When we got to Jane's barn I was happy to see that Katai was calm and happy and trying to nibble on a piece of hay that she'd found. Ponies...

She unloaded well with only a little bit of funnily stumbling down the ramp that may have made me giggle just a little. At that point, with my extreme level of embarrassment at the lengths that everyone had gone to just to get my pony in the trailer and near heat stroke, it was either laugh or cry. We got her settled in her temporary stall with some water and a fan on her since she was a little sweaty and then waited around for her drugs to wear off a bit so that we could make sure she was ok and get her some hay. She recovered quickly, dug right in to her hay and her whinny-er was working (it was only a little funny sounding) so she was drunkenly talking to her friends.

Clearly I didn't have my lesson that night so we rescheduled for this morning. Jane was at a schooling show with a different student so we scheduled it for when she planned to be home. So this morning I got to my barn early and watched some of the clinic on my way to my lesson. I have to say that I was expecting very little since in my experience, some big name clinicians seem to be more about shock and awe than installing good basics or working on things like straightness and getting the horses working through the back. Of course I think Janet Foy and plenty of other clinicians are amazing! But this particular clinician seemed more like someone that might focus on tricks.

However, I was extremely impressed to see that every single horse was working on filling in gaps and every single horse looked happier, more relaxed and was moving more freely by the time he was done. It was really educational to watch! He was also really amazing with the auditors and was the first clinician that I've audited that kept asking if any of us had any questions and giving us his full attention while the horse and rider took their walk breaks. He was a very good teacher and had a great way of explaining concepts. I'm hoping to go back tomorrow!

I headed out to Jane's barn and stopped for some Taco Bell (they have certified vegan fast food!) quickly before my lesson. We had been receiving weather warnings but they were pushed up from the afternoon to the morning which meant that they looked likely to hit during my lesson. I got to the barn a bit before Jane and made sure I knew where the light switches were and got my boots and helmet and everything inside so that I wouldn't need to carry it in if it started raining. Jane got there and let me know that she's not good with storms so that if started storming we'd have to call it. I agreed, it's not my idea of a fun (or safe) time to ride my horse in a new place during a severe thunderstorm.

Then it started storming. The clouds were scary and coming in fast and when the lightening started and the hail started falling we called it. I left pretty quick so that I could get home and we decided to reschedule for tomorrow morning. I can't wait and will share a recap!

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