I didn’t want to outright say it yesterday because I figured I’d be jinxing it, but I picked up Presto and brought him home! Michelle had brought him to Boerne (outside of San Antonio) for me on Sunday night, which is only a couple hours away, and he stayed at a friend’s farm overnight. I brought my trailer with me to work on Monday morning, worked a half day, and left around 10:30 to go get him.
I was nervous. Really nervous. Mostly because my trailer is VERY DIFFERENT from anything he’s ridden in before. He’s always been able to haul loose in an open area, essentially like a box stall or stock trailer type situation, with a step up. Mine is a straight load with a ramp, and he’s small enough to where I knew I had to tie him so that he didn’t try to turn around. And we didn’t really have the luxury of time to let him learn to chill out about any of that… he just had to get in and go. I had allotted an hour in our timeline for loading, and guessed that at least one of us might end up mangled in the process.
You could have knocked me over with a friggin feather when he walked right up the ramp and into my trailer with literally zero hesitation. I was absolutely shocked. Maybe it was just the fact that it was a totally new situation and it didn’t occur to him to say no, but whatever, I am not looking that particular gift horse in the mouth. The ramp went up, I tied him to the center post, and then jumped in the truck to GO before he realized what was happening and freaked out.
The great thing about my little ghetto trailer is that the front windows allow me to see exactly what the horses are doing at all times, and I kept flicking my eyes to my mirrors constantly. He was not very happy for the first 15-20 minutes. There was a lot of neighing and he kept trying to put his head over the divider, which freaked me out a bit worrying that he’d get stuck. Mostly though he just seemed mad that he was tied and couldn’t move around like he wanted. A couple times he thought about doing a mini-rear so I lightly brake checked him and brought his feet back down. He gave up pretty quickly. By the time we cleared San Antonio he was munching his hay and did so for the entire rest of the ride.
When I pulled up at the barn he was already neighing, and Henry’s pasture happens to be right next to the part of the driveway where you unload. He came running up immediately to check it out. I swear he gave me a special look when he realized that it was ME and HIS TRAILER. He paused for a second like WTactualF.
Backing Presto out of my trailer proved to be the harder part. I have to give him a ton of credit, he never once panicked and went flying backwards, he just seemed really confused. I had to very slowly and carefully ask him to back, one step at a time, trying to keep him straight so he didn’t fall off the ramp. Halfway down he tried to turn around and slipped a bit, so then he just stopped and looked at me like “ok, let’s keep doing it your way then” and we backed the last few steps off the ramp. Kid is stubborn, kid is crafty, but kid is not dumb.
I took him over to his little pasture, which he’s sharing with the mini donkeys. He gave them the hairy eyeball at first but they’re persistent little things, so they soon made peace. Presto seemed more interested in being friends with the 4yo QH in the adjoining pasture though… he was a little snobby about being turned out with donkeys. Unfortunately that QH next door is really aggressive to any pasturemates that get put in with him, so they only get to be across-the-fence friends.
I watched Presto for a little while and he peed, pooped, drank lots of water, and then alternated between roaming and grazing. There was no grand gallop around, and very little screaming. Just a few neighs and a few little spurts of trot and canter. Again, not what I expected at all, in a good anti-climactic type of way.
Then I figured I’d go grab Henry and bring him over to see what he thought.
True to Henry form, he remained much more interested in the donkeys.
But there wasn’t any squealing or pinned ears, so that’s a win where Henry is concerned. He’s generally a mare when it comes to meeting other horses. If he doesn’t like them it’s very immediate and very obvious.
We left Presto to continue his exploration and I took Henry inside to groom him and tack him up for a hack. When we were done I walked him back over to Presto’s pasture to check on him again.
He was still just roaming around and grazing a bit, punctuated by short games of Bitey Face with the QH. Well then, I guess that’s that. We walked back around to the gate and Presto followed, seemingly a bit mesmerized by the horse with a human attached to it. They still seemed interested in each other, and friendly. If Henry got a little too pushy in Presto’s space, Presto would immediately resort to the open mouth chomping thing that babies do to show that they aren’t threatening.
After I put Henry away I sat and watched Presto a little longer as he was brought into his stall for dinner and given his nighttime hay. He ate with his typical gusto (although seemed pissed that his bucket was so high that he couldn’t get his feet in it) and then immediately moved on to his hay.
At that point I was like well… I guess this is all the hovering I can do for one day? I really expected a lot more drama and distress from his move and the introduction to his new life, but he’s taken it all really well so far (knock on wood). Today I’ll start bringing him into the barn for grooming and learning about things like crossties and how to behave like a real horse. I’m sure things will start getting a lot more interesting.
But… he’s HOME!