Sunday, October 22, 2017

Flying solo

One of the things I was most excited nervous about with moving Scout to a new location, was the idea of being more independent. Sure, I had finally procured my own truck and trailer but was I confident driving it out and about (NO) and furthermore, was I confident taking my baby horse to new places alone (DOUBLE NO)? But in the spirit of a steep learning curve, the time was now or never. Realistically, I couldn't sit around and wait until I was comfortable and if I had allowed my hand to be held in the past (or rather, relied on it) it was time to put my big girl breeches on and do it for myself.

And, you could say that I am very lucky because my horse is quite agreeable to my whims, but I am even more fortunate because I spent the last 16 months honing my skills under the tutelage of a trainer who helped shaped me into the horsewoman that I am today. Meaning, I have the skills and the ability to be independent, it was now time to use them.

So, as you have read previously, I've waited no time in getting out on the road and pushing the edges of my comfort zone, one solo trailer ride at a time.

Last week, I had the opportunity to school at a local barn nearby (where Nolan (now, Tango)) lives and is also home to Megan K's Indy. They are, as the crow flies, an 11 minutes trailer ride from my barn, so it makes sense to go over and school in the indoor and get a feel for the property as it's almost certain that we'll be riding there frequently in some capacity.

Look who's all jazzed up for his field trip?
I chose to ship him saddled because it's a VERY short trip and he's not confirmed standing at the trailer or in the cross ties (we're working on it), so it seems like the easier way to go about our trips. He loaded perfectly, with the help of a barn friend to do up the butt bar and we headed on our way. I was told that Friday mornings were typically quiet and a prefect time to bring a young horse over to check things out.

Once I arrived, I checked in, put the rest on my gear inside the barn and asked someone to help us unload. He walked off the trailer perfectly and we went for a hand walk around the property. Keep in mind, this is his second off property trip.

Taking in the sights

More concerned about the horses in turnout than any of the jumps in the outdoor

Rolltop = Scmolltop
So I headed into the barn with the idea that I would hand walk him around the indoor and get an idea for how he was feeling. If he felt good, I'd throw his bridle on and hop on.

Was not even concerned about the handsome fella in the mirror
One of the instructors was tack walking a horse and we chatted for a bit and then I thought he seemed settled enough to get on. When we came into the ring, she had left, but he stayed super chill and I climbed on. There's plenty to look at in this particular indoor. There are two big doors that open into the barn, a big door at A, a side door that was open about 5 feet and the door at C is open only on top so you can see decapitated humans walking by as you're riding around. The trainer came back in through the side door worried that it would set Scout off, but we wound up just tagging along on their tack walk and Scout settled in brilliantly. Once she was done tack walking, she left the arena and Scout handled that perfectly too. We trotted a few laps around, did a few changes of direction and called it a day.

Walking around on our own

An hour of walking around and this is old hat to him
I gave him lots of pats, told him what a wonderful boy he was and untacked him. I didn't trust him to stand perfectly at a new barn, but that needn't matter as he ground ties pretty darn well.

I guess I live here now?
I had someone help me load him up to leave and we headed back on our short journey home. When I pulled into the barn I was hoping to see someone's car parked so I'd have help unloading him, so I was in a bit of a panic when I realized no one was around.

Well, no time like the present to learn how to unload right? I threw the lead rope over his neck, unclipped him and let the ramp down. I patted him a few times to get him to move forward and just stand and once he did, I undid the butt bar and gave his tail a gentle tug. He loaded off the trailer by himself like he'd been doing it forever. What an incredible horse!?
Continues to meet and/or exceed expectations
As I left the barn that day I was grinning ear to ear. There's something truly special about being able to go out on your own, on your agenda and timeline, the open road ahead of you, just you and your horse building a partnership one trailer adventure at a time. I realize that for some the idea of hitting the road with your pony in tow is old hat, but I'm just arriving at the point in horse ownership. It's thrilling and terrifying and I'm loving every moment of it.


  1. There's nothing like that feeling. :-)

  2. Getting my own rig and learning how to be independent about travel changed my life. Not even exaggerating. It's great that you're taking your time with introducing Scout to your process and expectations esp as they differ from his travel experiences of the past!! Happy hauling!!

    1. Thank you!!!! It really has changed my life!

  3. I think I would be terrified to haul even 11 minutes (I don't have a truck or trailer, nor have I driven one anywhere other than around the property). I definitely have mad respect for people who do it since I have yet to even attempt anything of the sort.

  4. What a good boy! And yeah, I totally hear you on the "no time like the present" when no one ends up being around. Been there...done that...and shockingly, it tends to go better than I imagine. I think the horses pick up on the fact that it's critical for them to behave in those moments.

  5. Nicely done - good job team! We haven't gone off property or trailered anywhere yet... future goals