Angelina and Canta Libre were duly hauled to the vet, and both thankfully vet checked open, but the trip itself had its own Pandemonium side. Even though we began several hours early, we managed to pull in late. We met the vet coming in, also late... with a half dozen clients ahead of us.
Because the day was hot and muggy, we did things in spurts. Early early, we went out to hitch up the trailer. The nose of the truck pointed downhill, and the residue of the winter's rock hauling still sat in the front end, with the dust from the gravel blocking the drainage pours in the bed. I had not dug out a nail to clean them out with, so before hitching up the trailer, I decided to empty the water out by pointing the nose sharply up hill. Once the majority of it had cascaded out, Oldgraymare stored her ice cooler so she could fill it for the trip home, and also to keep meat, etc. safely while we "horsed around" in town.
The borrowed trailer had a flat tire. It was sitting in my yard, high grass growing around it where Coqet has not gotten around to mowing yet. It's been there since the horses did NOT go up to be trained this past spring. With some excellent guidance from Oldgraymare, we got the trailer hooked up, but when I pulled it forward to make tension against the hitch to be sure the sleeve was slid home properly, the tire on the passenger's front was in two pieces... rim to rim. Obviously, a blowout. Can a trailer have a blowout sitting still? Or had I just discovered the REAL reason the horses had not gone off for spring training?
We went inside and cooled down a bit.
The herd came up early in the morning for water, as they've been used to doing. Grabbing the target of opportunity, I headed out to capture Angelina, still undecided who else to haul along to check. One look at Canta Libre's swollen eye, and I knew whom it would be. Switching to Canta, herd leader, I soon had her held by a hunk of mane on the far side of her neck, with my other hand over her nose. Now, had she decided to leave, she could have, and the whole herd would have followed her unquestioningly.
I called to Oldgraymare to sneak up behind me with the halter and lead rope. Soon a rope lay over her back, the long side of the halter strap was in the hand holding her mane, and the nose piece in my other hand. She was caught and handed off to Oldgraymare to lead around. I got Angelina just by the hair of her mane and my hand on her nose, and with Canta leading her little sewing circle around to the gate with her, Angelina was content to allow me to lead her in that direction, also.
But when the group stopped moving as Oldgraymare reached the gate, Angelina stopped and refused to continue on her own. If I tried to force the issue, the most likely event would be losing her, and making her leary of being caught out in the open again.
Oldgraymare moved on to a gate that was further away, letting me take Angelina up to the small gate right next to the trailer. With Angelina positioned right in front of it, she KNEW she was going to get to go out on the lush yard grass. She KNEW it was her turn to be special. She stood patiently while I used both hands to unchain the gate. She took a calm step back to allow it to swing open, then stepped regally through with me.
I rechained the gate and went down to let Oldgraymare and Canta out. Canta had Lament on one side of her and her son Statuesque on the other, both pushing forward against the gate. Most of the rest of the herd was strung out behind her, clear back to the gate I'd slipped Angelina through. I undid the chain and swung the long gate back only far enough for Oldgraymare and Canta to fit. While she neatly nipped through with the mare, I stepped in front of Statuesque and told him "No" quite firmly, shutting the huge gate right in his face and redoing the chain.
With Oldgraymare as back-up, both mares were soon painlessly alone in the yard, with Coqet and the colt in the pond pasture next to it. Had I been alone, I'd have had the entire herd in the front yard, probably twice, once trying to get each mare out.
We took a quick trip up to the neighbor's to see if we could turn up someone with the strength to break the lug nuts free so we could pull the tire off... Nope. Now our substantial time lead had evaporated. It was time to either call it off and risk losing the sale, or move it on out.
Quickly loading the mares, we set off at a rousing 15 mph to the closest gas station... the tire let fly chunks of rotted tire, the thumping noise terrible as each chunk would bang around a bit before finally liberating itself. Oldgraymare hopped out to be sure there wasn't enough heat building up to catch the thing on fire.
Unloading the mares into safety, we made tracks to dump the trailer and get its repair underway. Oldgraymare sat in the truck while I went in to explain what I needed. Stepping through the door into the cool air, I wondered if I could come up with an excuse to stay. Soon, S., one of my former students, braved the heat to park the trailer in a spot where he could work on it safely unhooked. Not being as young and agile, he easily beat me through the employee's exit into the work bay while I headed out the front door. He opened the driver's door and began to climb in, quite astounding Oldgraymare, who'd never seen him before in her life, and had NO IDEA what we were up to. She later told me she thought it might be a kidnapping, but decided that was too bizarre. Before things got too exciting, I arrived and explained. It is a good thing, I think, to provide a bit of harmless excitement for one's visitors, right?
We ate a leisurely meal at the Continental, cooling off again, glad the mares were in a sheltered area instead of standing in a trailer that would have acted as a hot box in the sun. Shopping completed, we stored cold things in the newly refilled ice chest, then set off to retrieve the mares.
The shopping done, our bellies full, and the backlog at the vet's caught up, we returned to see if we had transportation home for the mares, yet, or if I'd be begging overnight accommodations for them. We were in luck.
The first time I tried the brakes, the trailer took a strong dive to the right. The rest of the trip was made gingerly, but the mares were safely unloaded in the pasture with no more problems.