This past week was our final week at The Farm at Pamelot. While I’m sad to be leaving such a great group of people, it was time to find Smokey a stall for the winter that is proving to be pretty miserable here in Atlanta.
Friday evening, we tried to load him onto the new barn’s three horse gooseneck trailer. He was reluctant at best and outlasted all of our able horsehand attempts (coax, push, pull, drag….everything). I thought maybe it was due to the tack room at the back of the trailer and that we were asking in the dark, but as it turns out, that wasn’t it.
Saturday morning, I borrowed a Pamelot boarder’s trailer that is open and can be used as a pseudo -stock trailer in hopes that he would hop right in once he could see everything. No dice. He was much closer, but definitely not on board for hopping in. We actually got him up on the trailer once with all four feet, but he spun around and left me staring at his butt (did I mention, I’m scared of and terrible at loading horses into trailers?). He hopped back out without kicking me (thankfully) and it was really not eventful other than what might have happened. After that, we were dead in the water.
I tried again Saturday afternoon after putting him on a fast for the day. He was left in the arena without hay or grain for dinner and was ready to rumble for some grain. I thought for sure he’d be up in the trailer in no time. Once again, no dice. We had backed the borrowed trailer up to the little arena so his only means of escape was to get on the trailer (some escape, right?). He would get ¾ of his body in the trailer and eat some of the hay or grab the grain bucket and pull on it, but never much more than that. Once again, he hopped on a couple times, but was back off so fast that shutting the door would have resulted in crushed shins on his back legs, so we didn’t even try.
Let’s s just say I was a bit defeated Saturday night.
Sunday morning, I went back with a renewed spirit to get him on. Unfortunately, this weekend the winter weather I have been dreading finally set in. The wind was blustery, the cold was biting and my wonderful, though not very horsey, mom was my only helper. Basically a recipe for failure. Thankfully, Smokey isn’t too much drama when he doesn’t want to hop on the trailer, just pretty much flat out refuses to put those back legs up on the trailer. We tried for about an hour and then called it quits. No luck other than we had had before.
Now I was really defeated. I knew he had to go this week or he was going to lose our spot (and the stall I have been coveting for him since this fell into my lap). So I did what any DIY-er does once they realize they’re in over their head: I called a professional.
Enter Elisa Wallace, mustang extraordinaire. I reached out to her and got a time set up to move him on Tuesday. Turns out that it’s monsooning and just godawful weather out today, so we rescheduled to yesterday afternoon.
We walked back out to the pasture, I was leading Smokey. Once he caught sight of the trailer, he stopped. This is when Elisa took over. After teaching him that he was, in fact, going to move his feet for her, we were on our way. It didn’t take long for him to realize that he was going to hop in the trailer and it was going to take something as simple as a point and maaaaaybe a wave of the lead rope. From anyone. She got him on and off several times and when we finally went to load him the last time, it was my point that got him up there. She tied him (!) and closed the divider (!) so he was locked and loaded. We didn’t hear a much from him until we pulled into the drive of the new barn, where he pawed a little and called ot the horses who were running in from the pastures.
He unloaded like a champ. He tried to turn and walk out forward, but Elisa caught him and made him back out. She took him on a tour of his new paddock and made him walk into the shed he has there (very exciting!) without too much fanfare. It really gave me a good idea of how to progress with him without being such a weenie. Hopefully I can expound on that in the coming weeks. I can’t say enough nice things about Elisa. She’s calm, collected, knowledgeable and totally nice to be around. If you’re in the North Metro/Georgia area and you need horse help, don’t even hesitate to call her.
I hung around for a bit squaring away his food situation and generally just making sure he didn’t kill himself in the paddock. He did get interested in the electric fence and shocked himself enough to send go flying across the pasture looking stunned that something could possibly do that to him. It took a bit for him to calm down from that, but then he got to meet his pasturemate for the night – Angel. Smokey is a bit of a ladies man, so it was a perfect fit. They got along famously and look adorable together since they’re similar in size.
Anyway, after that sort of weekend, it’s nice to finally relax a little (if you can call working at a major retailer during the week of Black Friday “relaxing”). I got a text this morning from the new barn saying Smokey ate his breakfast IN HIS STALL and was waiting out the weather in there for the time being. I’m over the moon! My little man is really a little normal horse all of a sudden. I’m also over the moon that he’s not out in 35* weather when it’s constantly raining. I know he probably doesn’t care too much, but it makes his mom sleep better at night!
Thanks to everyone who helped this weekend with all of the drama – Mom, Dad, Mary, Sharon, Freddy, Leslie, Juliette… It finally paid off and hopefully Smokey will settle in easily at his new place!