The two horses that needed to be sold last fall are now both officially off the farm. This is very hard. Horses are not selling. They have not been selling well post 911. With the economic downturn, things got critical.
I always thought I'd retire with 5 head or less. I now have 12.
Wednesday, when CW came over, she herded the herd into the creek stud pen. (This was very strenuous. She opened the gate; they saw it and came.)
I opened the middle gate while she was on the pasture gate side of the herd. I told her which one I wanted. Four of the twelve mares got through, the fourth being Lyric. I shut the gate in Leche's face. She thought about jumping, but turned instead. I'm not sure, but I THINK she probably could clear it. I'd hate to see her try, though, as it is not going to fall down if she hit it.
CW moved the other mares back out into the creek pasture.
I opened the gate, allowing Crem and Mocha, the two Coqet daughters, full sisters, to exit. CW let them join the herd. I decided to keep Omnia with Lyric, as she was quite hopped up. A buddy would settle her down.
CW put out hay for them to last until Friday afternoon, when CMC was due to pick Lyric up to haul down to Missouri.
TMC came with his father in a four horse stock trailer that boasted a full back gate with a single driver's side gate and a middle partition. One snap and rope hung in the front of the trailer. TMC drove around the circle as the lot we'd planned to load out of was way too wet. He stopped his rig across from the blue gates, pointing downhill.
When I arrived on foot, halter and lead over one shoulder, he was frowning at the tight quarters. One look at his face, and I felt that I could read his mind.
Taking in the state of the lot on the other side of the wooden gate, I looked down at my feet encased in my oldest shoes, NOT my mud boots, which were boxed by the door. I never even thought of putting them on. Just DUMB, I guess. I'd thought about going back for them when CMC had said, we'd had 3/4" of rain yesterday afternoon, and lighter showers that morning. "The lots would be impassable even for a four wheel drive tractor, I bet."
TMC, evidently thinking about turning the truck and trailer around right in front of the blue gates, then backing up to the wooden gate, said, "If I get the wheels off the rock, I'll never get the trailer up the hill, much less trailer and horse's weight."
I assured him the rock went clear down to the blue gates under the weeds/grass growing there. "Just go back down to the road to circle around, then come right back up the drive, to here, then back slantwise toward that wooden gate. Your wheels will be on rock the whole time."
While they clattered out to make the turn around, I tried to catch Omnia, who has never given me a problem about haltering before. She was in heat and ran down to where Omyno was. I followed, slipping all over. Lyric, not her older half sister Omnia, turned out to be the leader of this duo. She headed off. "Whoa," I commanded, and Omnia stopped.
I had one hand under Omnia's neck, holding a piece of mane, but no thumb on her cheek to keep her from turning her head. Instead, I was trying to catch the other end of the halter. Lyric bolted back toward NO when the trailer clattered by, so Omnia turned away and followed, ducking under my arm. I followed back down the hill, slipping around in the muck. Eventually, Omnia again let me near, and I put the rope around her neck first this time.
TMC leaned absolutely quietly against the open blue gate on the south side of the lane, watching me slop around in the muck. CMC leaned against the blue gate beside the trailer on the north side, looking out across the pasture, not overtly eyeballing the action. No crazy clucking like spooked the last horse I loaded into a QH man's trailer... They waited patiently.
I lead Omnia up to the natural chute formed by a t-post set to keep the wooden gate in line, then right to the back end of the trailer, pulled myself in (slipping, of course, as I tried to step up...), then asked her three times to enter, using a melodic, cooperative sing song. She leaped half way to the front, so I lead her the rest of the way, hooking the ring in the snap, then passing her lead rope out of the side window to the south so we could lead her down to the door without getting into the trailer with them.
I came back out and went through the chute area, thinking I'd have to chase Lyric through the muck to get her back to her buddy, but she turned back when Omnia whinnied. I walked into the chute area, a good fifteen or twenty feet behind her, and Lyric leaped into the trailer, oblivious to my actions.
"Shut the gate," I yelled. CMC smoothly slid it over close the spot where the latch was, making it look closed, but not latched.
"Better latch it," I said.
TMC had reached into the trailer and unsnapped Omnia, leading her along the driver's side down to the door. Lyric kept pace. As he drew even with the latch, he shut the door tight and latched it. We let them settle in the new position. Eventually he started to move around to the back half door. Suddenly he jumped back and let out a loud yelp.
"What happened," shouted CMC. Tim didn't answer at once. I had a sinking feeling. The electric wire was still hooked up, two or three years after we'd last used it. The loop we used to hook the handle in poked through the boards in that corner. That was why I wasn't worried about Lyric trying to break to the south -- the horses all know it is there.
CMC laughed. "Yep. They do bite."
I apologized for not thinking to tell him about it. From where he'd been standing, I doubt he even noticed the black bands the wire passed through fastened to every post coming up the hill. I'm sure he couldn't see the actual wire. There were no cloths or other markers on it alongside the fence.
Rubbing his leg, TMC said, "I'm going to bring her out now. Slam the door immediately behind her." I stepped back at CMC's signal -- it was clear these two had been a team for a long time. TMC rolled the door open, moved Omnia forward and into the drive, then paused.
"Back into the pen?"
TMC lead Omnia into the pen past the chute, then removed the halter, setting her free.
I waited until the truck had turned onto the paving before wading back down the hill to the gate between the two stud pens. Omnia left Omyno the instant I got close, pressing up so tightly I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get the gate off the block it sits on. She quickly came around, heading directly to the other gate.
The closer I got to the creek, the deeper and slipperier the mud got. I opened the creek gate, moved the herd off, then let Omnia out. The herd took off into the pasture with the newly liberated Omnia. I moved Omyno away so I could climb through into his pen without being in danger of losing him into the field with the mares when I slipped, as I knew I would.
I redid the chain and walked through the old house to the driveway, catching my breath on the stairs, then going to the mailbox before I walked up that hill. I've been walking on the level, then driving up and down the hill in the car. My knees and hip have been doing much better that way. The steepness of the hill seems to keep them both irritated. I was out of breath again by the time I got up the hill, and thought seriously about sitting in the car for a bit before going on to the house, but one look at my muddy jeans and shoes, and I decided surely I could make it the rest of the way.
The next day, I had a sore tendon or something at the inside back of my worst knee, where I'd evidently pulled something when I was doing all that sliding around in the mud. I don't know if the swamp boots I'd bought in Rochester would have kept that from happening, or not. I wish I'd thought to at least TRY them!
Saturday, the MC's were to deliver Lyric. I waited to call today as they said they'd probably not get back until 3 am or so. Then I got distracted with other calls, and I forgot until nearly 9. Since CMC has to drive a bus Monday, leaving way early in the morning to start his route, I didn't call that late. I'll go down in mid-morning to see him and get his take on her new home.