Posted by: bizzylizzy262 | March 14, 2014

Move Update

It has been a couple weeks since the big move, so I am due for a post….let’s start from the beginning.

Moving day was set for March 1st, and so the week leading up to the move my friend Eryn had her truck and trailer parked at Cliffwood for us to refresh Cloud on trailer loading. I’ve never kept it a secret that Cloud is not a great trailer loader. He’s certainly not the worst, but he’s not easy. He does better with practice though, which made it easier when I had my own trailer, and so I was glad that Eryn was willing to leave her trailer there for us to use.

The day she dropped it off she stayed and coached us through our first trailer refresh session, which was nice because she was a Parelli instructor, and it’s also great to have someone there watching, because they can help you correct your mistakes as they see them. The first session went pretty well and was very interesting. When you take a step back and look at a ‘difficulty’ as a ‘challenge’, something that could be frustrating became interesting, which means that I didn’t lose my cool or get upset, I kept on working. The first day we got all four feet a couple of times, but mostly it was his two front feet. And when he’d give us all 4, then he’d take 2 steps backward and go back to not going in at all. Very interesting.

That was on Sunday. We didn’t get a chance to work on the trailer again until Tuesday. Our method for trailer loading was actually to stand behind the trailer and ask him to load himself, instead of pulling him in or going in with him. On Tuesday, I went out not sure what he was going to give me, and he loaded himself with all four feet over and over and over. No troubles at all. Sweet. And so the rest of the week we did two more practice sessions that were about 10 minutes each tops.

Moving day (Saturday) came and I was anxious, so he obviously could figure out that it was the day, but he loaded after a couple of 2 front feet loads. But the whole process took maybe 5 minutes. It was nice! Thank you again Eryn! 🙂

Ah, so then we moved. Leading up to the move I was STRESSING about the pasture board. The new barn owner had offered a stall to us…we could get a stall for the first month, or even the first few weeks, or just use a stall for the coldest or wettest nights. It was all up to me. And I just couldn’t figure out what was best to do. The weather was still shakey, let’s be honest I still don’t even know if winter is ready to quit, and I was just nervous about making the call to put him straight to pasture board. So a stall kind of seemed obvious, right?? But, no. Here’s what held me back…Cloud is a pretty sensitive horse. He’s sensitive to his environment and really likes a routine. I felt that if we moved and he went straight to pasture, that he would learn that the new barn ‘routine’ is pasture board. If I put him in a stall, he would learn that routine, and I was nervous that it would then take longer to adjust to pasture board, if he could adjust at all.

So it was tough. But I decided to put him straight out to the pasture. And I stressed. A lot. I checked the weather compulsively, I thought of Cloud every time I took the dog out at night and felt the chill. I worried about how he was getting along with the other horses, and if he was scared at night. Okay, I know that’s over reacting. He’s a horse, he’s been out overnight before (in summers), but my mind was just racing worrying about my boy.

The first week I stressed. Every time I went out to the barn I’d spy on him before going to see him, just to see what he was doing. The farmhand, Martin, said that he was screaming and pacing the first 2 days, but I was confused because every time I pulled in he was settled and calm. I figured out that Martin was seeing him upset at transition times…when other horses were going in and coming out, so Martin started bringing Cloud in for his grain at those times (the horses that he is out with don’t get grain, so it’s actually easier for him to bring him in anyways), and it settled him down.

Overall I am pleasantly surprised. I just didn’t expect it to work out so well. I don’t think I brought these thoughts to the surface because I was trying to think positively…but I truly believe I didn’t think he would be able to adjust to pasture board. Especially this time of year. Cloud definitely took the move better than I did. I think he actually likes being out so much. He was pretty cooped up (see also: spoiled) this winter because of the extreme cold, so I think he likes being out and moving around all the time.

In the past, Cloud moves into new barns okay, but he’s usually pretty nervous until he gets into the new routine. In previous moves, bringing Cloud in for a ride, he’s usually dancing and calling, and anxious. And it usually takes him a while to get used to a new riding arena. At this barn, he’s been so calm. I just don’t know if it’s my new attitude/approach with him, or that he’s tired from being outside all day/night, or if he’s just really that settled in.

I don’t know, but I am thrilled. Things can only get better from here as the weather gets better. I still definitely have concerns…I worry about the snow melting/mud (although so far I can already see that this pasture drains well! Yea!) and I worry about storms. I know I’ll hate thinking of him out in the rain. 😦 But we’ll see. I think it’s funny Cloud is adjusting better to the new barn/living arrangements than I am!

So currently my riding has been halted. I spent our first week at the new barn spending hours out with Cloud, organizing, grooming, riding, doting. But then I started my usual housesitting gig, and I had to put the long barn trips on hold. My responsibility is to the animals that I am watching, especially the dogs who aren’t used to being cooped up so much! I have been going out to see Cloud just about every other day to check Cloud’s bell boots and shoes and give him a treat, before heading back to the house. It’s nice that Cloud’s so close to home because it’s not a long trip to check on him before coming to take care of the animals. I like that I feel that Cloud’s getting a chance to just settle and be with his new friends over these two weeks. And next weekend when I finish up house sitting, my spring break starts, which will set us up nicely for getting him back into shape!

I’m very excited that things are working out so well for us at the new barn. I certainly miss Cliffwood and my friends there. Everyone I have met at the new barn has seemed nice so far. I’m sure when I get back to my regular riding schedule I will befriend some of the boarders.

Alright. Until we meet again!

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Responses

  1. Why did you leave Silver Fern? I am thinking of going there. Did you like it.

    • Ok so I’m going to be honest. I left there with drama. But everyone has a right to form their own opinions about people, so I’m going to tell you the things that I would have wanted to know before moving in, and leave the drama out. Their property is terrible for drainage. Your horse will be standing in mud from now to June…if not longer. Every time it rains it takes days to dry. And I’m talking mud up past fetlocks, and in some areas/pastures up to their knees. My horse threw more shoes at that barn than anywhere else. My farrier was thrilled when we left. The mud is also dangerously slippery for the horses…it’s the kind of mud that pulls your feet out of your boots. The other very important thing to pass on is that you will not get phone calls when something is wrong…not from the barn. I never got one message that my horse lost a shoe…and you would think they would start checking with how often he lost them. I also had my horse come in bloody, and other horses come in bloody, and no phone calls. The good thing is there’s a nice group of boarders there, and if you make friends they can watch out for your horse for you. Any time I wasn’t going to be at the barn for a day or two I’d ask someone to look my horse over. But really, that’s the barn owner’s job, don’t you think?? Overall, if you have the boarders watching your horse you’ll be okay…but the mud was a huge issue for my horse. You know, every boarding stable has its positives and negatives, so other negatives about Silver Fern I could let slide. But for me, the mud and the lack of phone calls led me to look into other options.


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