Sunday, April 4, 2010

Gypsy Lifestyle

Yet again I have moved house. I am now living up the coast for a little while until I can find the career path I want to pursue. I moved the girls up here and had to do it in two shifts which was not ideal. These mares are a very tight herd and get quite upset when one is away. I moved Sienna and Kiowa up first on a Tuesday. They were reluctant to load and I always find transporting horses traumatic and I am sure they must pick up on that. Once loaded they always travel well and I must annoy every other driver on the road by taking the corners very slowly.

Once we arrived, I unloaded the girls and put them in their new paddock. They were not happy! I know these horses so closely that it is extremely apparent to me when they are not 100%. Sienna was terribly distraught. She stood in the furthest corner of the paddock facing the direction of home which was 2 hours South. She is not used to traffic noise and there is a highway closeby to the paddock as well as a fairly busy road out front. I spent along time with them before going to my new temporary home just up the road.

Everytime I went back Sienna was stood on the same bare patch of dirt staring and whinnying in the direction of home. Sienna has huge expressive eyes unlike any I have seen before on a horse. She lost the spark that is usually visible to me in her eyes. She loses weight at a rapid rate when she is unhappy as well. I was frantically trying to get hold of a transport company to bring Scout and Lacey up as I figured that was the main issue for Sienna. I left 5 messages for the transport company I usually use, the last one begging for them to at least call me back and tell me they didn't want to do it. No response so needless to say they will no longer be my transport company of choice! I then found another lady that could do it but no time frame of when.

By Thursday I was desperate as I couldn't bare to see Sienna like that anymore so I drove back with the float and decided to attempt to transport Scout and Lacey myself. I was reluctant to move Lacey in a float when she was still so young (6 months). Some of these transport companies have a stall where the foal can travel loose with the mare and nurse or lay down when they get tired. As I was having no success organising this I thought I would get up early Friday and just see what happened.

When I arrived back to Brisbane on Thursday afternoon, Scout and Lacey bolted up to the float craning their necks to see if the other mares were still in there. I opened the float and let them investigate at will. They circled around it a number of times and then Scout stood whinnying for Sienna.

I got up at 5:30am Friday morning and loaded the haynets full of hay. Scout and Lacey were eagerly following me. I wanted to load Scout first but Lacey had other ideas and ran on feasting at the hay waiting for her. Well that was far easier than anticipated! Scout loaded nicely and I had them on faster than the other mares!

The test would be how Lacey coped with the movement. I started down the road very slowly and she put her head up, had a look around then continued eating. Scout was a little more stressed and kicked out once at the door and whinnied a little before returning to eating. Once we got on to the highway, Lacey stopped eating and looked wide eyed at all the trucks and cars passing by. She seemed more curious than frightened though and quickly returned to the task of eating. Once we were about three quarters of the way up to their new paddock, I noticed Lacey was getting tired. Her little eyes were shutting and her head was dropping. There was only another 30 minutes to go and she made it just fine.

I unloaded them at the entrance to the trails, across the road from the paddock. Sienna and Kiowa were still stood in the corner, heads bowed. They had not noticed our arrival yet. I got Scout and Lacey unloaded and then walked across the road with them both together. When we got closer to the paddock, Scout called out and it was like a lightening bolt to Sienna. She threw her head up and spun around breaking into an instant canter towards the fenceline, neighing constantly. Lacey locked onto Kiowa and whinnied to her 5 times in a row. Kiowa also came bolting over to the fence and I stood laughing at the chorus of neighing that proceeded. I took the halters off Scout and Lacey. Lacey immediately ran to Kiowa whilst Sienna came and greeted Scout in their usual, more serious manner. Then Sienna quickly got to the task of establishing her place as the lead mare and all is well again in their world and mine. They are perfectly happy if not a little bored sometimes as this paddock is small compared to the 40 acres they were on. It is directly across the road from a network of beautiful trails and they seem quite willing and keen to explore these.

Lacey loves the stable block. They have free access to it whenever they please. She is often seen in a guarding position at the front doorway

I fenced off an area that allows them to access the fresh, running water of the creek. This was there first time down there checking it all out

up the track back to the paddock

Sienna relaxing and having a good roll