Friday, I got Nathan out of school a little early and met K at her house around 2:30 or so, and she, her brother, her four kids, my one kid, and I all loaded into her big SUV, towing an empty trailer, and headed off. We arrived at her parents house by 6:00 p.m. and were immediately treated to vegetarian enchiladas...mmm! (I didn't even have to request special food--K and most of her kids are all vegetarian or close to it.)
We hung out in the living room chatting, and I felt right at home with her family, and even a friend of theirs who stopped by. Soon it was time for bed. I didn't sleep well, but it was no fault of the accommodations--I was just excited for HORSE DAY the next day!
I woke up bright and early and tried not to wake the rest of the house, but soon enough, I heard others stirring and headed downstairs. We hit the road about 8:00 and headed north on I-5 to Longview. About an hour of driving and we arrived at the designated rest area. We pulled into one of the first couple spots, as it was near grass, and didn't seem too scary. We waited a bit, then I decided to head to the restroom, but before I got there, I realized the seller was already there with her trailer, and Trigger inside! K pulled her truck up next to the seller, we signed the paperwork, I gave her some cash, she gave me some of his familiar hay and feed, and we attempted to transfer the horse. A rest area was probably not the BEST choice, as there is a constant stream of big rigs rumbling by. He got off the seller's trailer rather gracefully, but was hyper-aware and kind of freaked out at his surroundings--standing on asphalt, strange noises and smells, and big trucks rolling by. There were even a couple of horse trailers that ambled through, so I'm sure he could smell the horses, too. He was curious enough about K's trailer, but didn't want to get close at first.
Eventually, he was brave enough to put his front feet into the trailer, but immediately threw his head up and hopped out of the trailer backwards. He did that a TON of times, very nearly bonking his head every single time. It freaked me out! We ended up getting a long whip and tap-tap-tap-tap-tapping his rear end and backs of his legs with it. Just trying to make being outside the trailer annoying, and every step forward was rewarded with the tapping ceasing for at least a few moments.
Eventually he got in, got tied up, and we shut the door behind him, and we were off.
I thought of taking pictures, but we were too busy loading the horse to worry about photo ops. It was scary with him on the slippery asphalt, and knowing if we let go of the lead rope, he could be out on the highway, or even smashed by a semi right there in the rest area, in no time. Anyway, so no photos from then and there.
We got him back to K's parents, unloaded him, and he was clearly suspicious of his surroundings, but soon decided the long lush grass was worth all the traveling and loading and unloading he'd done, and he settled right in to their little pasture. K took some pictures of Trigger and me together.
SweetPea texted me good wishes earlier in the weekend, and said to give him a kiss on the nose, so I did:
We went to Portland for a while, ate lunch at Produce Row Cafe, checked out saddles at the Oregon Outdoor Store, then checked back in with K's mom and all the kids who were roller skating, before heading back "home." K's mom made some delicious tabouleh and hummus, the perfect light dinner after we gorged ourselves at lunch. We sat on the back porch, visited, and soaked up the sunshine and ambiance. They have dogs, cats, and chickens, and my horse was also grazing on the little farm. Gorgeous! I groomed trigger a little, fed him a couple treats, but mostly just let him graze. I did take a couple more photos, though.
At dusk, his belly must have finally been full of all that lovely grass, and his mind turned to other things. Something about the neighbor's property, possibly the trees that kind of looks like caves, worried him, and he was pacing the fenceline there. Once it got darker out, he seemed a bit calmer, and we all went to bed. Luckily, he was still happily munching grass in his pasture when I woke up in the morning (having slept quite a bit better), though he'd worn a path next to the fenceline he'd clearly spent most of the night pacing. He'd clearly rolled during the night, and now had grass stains all along his spine, on his hips, and even in his forelock. Oh well.
All the humans and horse gear got packed and loaded, and then it was time to load Trigger. He still wasn't thrilled about loading into the trailer, even without the distractions of the rest stop. He blasted out the (closed but not latched) door at one point, when the lead rope was removed and I was trying to move the trailer tie from under his chin to the side of his face. Oops! K caught him, and luckily that happened at the house, not the rest stop. We loaded and unloaded him a few times to show him it really wasn't that scary, and tied him up once he was standing quietly. And once again, we were off, headed home to Central Oregon.
Trigger trailered just fine, but we noticed when we arrived that he hadn't pooped or peed the entire trip. (Yay for not having to clean K's trailer out, potential boo for his health if it continued.) We unloaded him at the barn, I signed the bare minimum of paperwork (I'd already paid the bill), we tossed some hay into Trigger's stall, then I rode with K back to her house to get my car. Nathan and I went back to the barn, and I prepped his feed for the evening, finished the boarding paperwork, and checked the fit of Trigger's new blanket--what do you guys think? It doesn't have a butt flap, but otherwise looks very warm and cozy.
He still hadn't pooped, but was eating his hay and drinking his water just fine. I got him out, took him to the grass to graze for a while, and chatted with another boarder. He nibbled at the grass, but wasn't very impressed with our desert grass after the lush pasture he'd been grazing in only hours before. Still no poop. I took him to the round pen, and lunged him each direction a few times. Nathan noticed his tail was up a bit, and said maybe he had to poop. I said no, it's just his breeding that makes him carry his tail that way. He ended up pooping just a few minutes later, but still carried his tail that way afterward, so I think we were both right. :-) I took a photo to text to K. :-)
I think Trigger is going to be a fastidious horse--he pooped in one corner of his pasture Saturday night, and when I lunged him a few more rounds while waiting for Nathan to bring the poop rake and wheelbarrow, he hopped over his little pile, not wanting to soil his feet, apparently.
I settled him back into his stall. He seems to be making friends with his neighbor (he's on the end, so has just one neighbor), and I hung up his Jolly Ball. Here he is, just before we left.