The opportunity came up to take my girl off farm. A new girl at my barn is a show rider. By girl I mean shes 12. She;s my new buddy at the barn, we hang out, compare our taste in bright pink tack and talk horses and school. She reminds me of my sister who I miss as they are almost exactly the same age. She’s a talented hunter/jumper with an adorable 14.2 black pony named Beauty. She goes to shows about once a month and her mother who is at the barn with her every afternoon offered to let us tag along to a show so Jezebel could gain some experience going off farm. My girl being an ex racer trailered I’m sure but this was different. Its been 6 months since shes stepped foot on a trailer and that was her trip to come to me.
I was up before the sun and on the road to the farm. My 12 year old friend was going to be riding in some early classes so we needed to be on the road by 7am. The trailer was hooked up when I got there and the horses were just fed. We let them eat and I packed the trailer with items I thought I might need. Her training halter, lead, treats Gatorade (in case she wouldn’t drink) her rain slicker in case of rain and I pulled out my brand new shipping boots for the ride. Getting the shipping boots on was interesting, they are not labeled front or back and of course I got them on wrong. Jez wasn’t thrilled with them either. They are supposed to be easier then wraps but I’m not sure about that, they didn’t seem easy.
After Beauty loaded it was my pony’s turn she was a little unsure about the ramp but she tentatively got on the trailer and voila loaded and ready to go on our first off farm adventure. We drive to pick up the rest of the family (dad, grandpa, grandma and of course my new 12 year old friend) and off to a horse show in Virgina we went. It was a shot ride maybe 30 minutes and we were pulling into a grassy field with trailers and trucks and horses everywhere. We got our spot and it was time to unload. Beauty (and old pro at trailering) walked right off backwards down the ramp with ease. Jezebel well she kinda went off nervous and a little crooked. she was very excited, so excited in fact that she was shaking. I mean really shaking, id never seen her act like that before, head in the air higher then I’ve seen her lift it taking in all the sights, sounds and dancing at the end of her lead. I was worried that this was going to be too much for her. Did she think she was racing that day is that why she was shaking? I talked to her in hushed tones and made it clear I expected her to listen and behave. She bent her head down for some grass and grazed a little. She would do that in between moments of raised head and nervous calling out to other horses. The shaking stopped after about 10 minutes and she started to settle in. My 12 year old friend was getting ready for her first class, her whole family was in on getting Beauty and her ready, Jezebel was slowing winding down and I felt first the first time since we arrived that we would be able to handle the day and I was relieved.
The day progressed and Jezebel got comfortable with the little paddock area we carved out for ourselves next to the trailer. She would graze at the end of the lead and generally was pretty good. My 12 year old friend rode in her morning classes and ribboned in each one. We broke for lunch and decided it might be a good time to try to tie Jezebel to the trailer with a hay bag and see how that went. It wasn’t the best thing we did all day, she didn’t want to eat from the hay bag she wanted to graze. She had begun pawing at the ground. That’s not a habit she normally has, I think it was nerves. Pawing at the ground is fine but she also started pawing at the trailer when she was tied to it, umm yeah not fine. That’s something were going to have to work on. I think I will get her a hay bag for her stall and use that once in a while so she gets used to eating from it quietly and calmly. After lunch and before my 12 year old friends afternoon classes Jez was as settled in as she was going to get. My 12 year old friend was hugging her and loving on her and she was a happy pony, she likes my 12 year old friend quite a bit and was reveling in the attention. That’s when her mom suggested we pop her up on Jez and well we did. All of a sudden everything was normal. Jez had a job and was thrilled to lunge around in a circle at the end of the lead with this little girl on her back, with no tack as she spread her arms out and sang “i believe i can fly” We were all amazed at how good they looked together and the moment melted my heart.
When it was time to go Jezebel loaded like a champ walked right up the ramp and was ready to get on the road. Back at the farm she unloaded with out incident a little crooked down the ramp but not as crooked as before. She was excited to be back home! I put her in her stall while I unpacked an then put her out in the filed with her herd. It was a very long but super exciting day for both her and me. We need more trips, she’s very clever girl, it wont take long before she understands that going out doesn’t mean going to a race. I’m truck shopping right now and will get one before the end of the year, then next spring its time for our own trailer. Oh the adventures we will have.