It has been a busy week since I wrote last! I safely delivered Mr. T to his training. Yay! Then, the very next morning, I was on the 6 AM plane to Florida for a vacation in the Keys, and we arrived back yesterday afternoon. Whew!
The night before hauling, I made an executive decision to bring Foxy along as a babysitter. She was happy as a clam to jump in and go with little Mr T. (Not so happy on the drive back, though. It was 5 hours in the trailer with a 2 hour break in between where she stood outside and ate and slept.)
Tumbleweed did awesome the whole way, and unloaded like a champ. I put him in his stall and run, wedged between two 3 year old fillies in training, and he just stood there in the middle of his run surveying it all very calmly. While we were there, the owner fed him, and I was able to watch him walk into the stall area and start eating. All good.
I didn't hear anything for a couple of days--no news is good news, right?--but then the first email came about him not watching what he was doing, too interested in the other horses, and stepped on his own feet. He scraped his leg and tore off part of his new shoe. His trainer removed it and called the farrier out to put it on again.
Luckily, he didn't go lame from that experience, and the next day, yesterday, I got an update that he was doing much better and really paying attention to his feet now.
Yesterday was the one week point of his training, so I'm not surprised that he is finally settling in. She said that he wasn't nearly as upset as he was last year, so that is an improvement. I told her my thinking, that it is too difficult to separate him from the herd here at the house, and the only way to really get it done is to take him to her each spring--which I plan to do each year until he's fully mature. She agreed that it is a good plan for him, and each year he will get better and better at the separation.
The way I have looked at Tumbleweed all along is that he has to be developed into a horse that can go anywhere and do anything. I'm in my 50's, and if we're super lucky, he might live into his 30's--putting me in my 80's. A lot can happen in that much time, and I want him to be able to go anywhere and make a place for himself in this world. He has beauty, but he will also need the ability to adapt. I may be riding him into my 80's, and with him to his last breath, but I'm taking out an "insurance policy" of sorts, just in case.
I don't miss him this time, but I do plan to go down a lot and take lessons with him and my trainer so that I can follow up when he gets home. I don't have any trips planned once he's done, so that is good! And, I have the whole summer and fall to continue his work.
Not missing him is an interesting change in our relationship. It means I am seeing him less as "my baby," and more like a working horse. I imagine that change will continue, and our relationship will morph into something more like Cowboy and I have--less mama / baby and more partner and trusting companion.
Thoughts on Florida.
First, we have not been offered a vaccine yet. Our state has been slow with the rollout, which is not surprising. So, traveling was a bit risky, I guess, but the airplanes haven't been major sources of spread since they have filtered air and everyone masks up. The attendants don't mess around either! They constantly patrol the aisles telling people to get those masks above their noses. If you don't comply, you're placed on their no fly list.
Once there, the risk of Covid is almost nil. We eat at home in a VRBO, and we socially distance when outside. We're not shoppers, so any shopping is equivalent to what we do here at home. And one thing I can say for Floridians, they take their masks seriously. There were people wearing masks outside (probably unnecessary) and everyone wears them in when inside. The only exception was restaurants, where you wear them to your table and then take them off. But it's so nice in Florida, almost everyone eats outside anyway.
After being in Sedona last month, seeing businesses open wasn't shocking. In fact, we are opening to the fabled "Phase 3" on March 22nd, here in Washington. (Phase 3 means businesses can have 50% occupancy.) Compared to Florida and Arizona--and even our neighbor, Idaho--that is small time, but it's huge to our area businesses.
The big hotels, however, are another thing entirely, and it scares me for our big, beautiful hotels here in Spokane. We stayed at a large hotel on both ends of our Florida trip, and it was practically empty. Without conventions and business travel, they don't have much to offer. The destination spots--busy. All else--struggling.
The server on our last night was a young lady who was very upset at having being called back into work. She was yelling at all the customers, including us. When my husband asked her about the beer list, she said, "Mango."
He asked if there were any others, and she took off her mask and started yelling at us--(obviously, she was not afraid about getting, or giving, Covid)--
"No, one beer, sir! Do you think I like this? Do you think I don't know how ridiculous to say only one beer? I make my money off selling beer and wine! Do you think I like saying we only have one? They shouldn't open until 100%! They tell me work Wednesday and Sunday, and it will be busy, and I get this! Not busy!" And she went on and on like that until she could yell at another customer--some poor guy who asked her for a menu. We were quite scared of her by the time we left, and not entirely sure she didn't spit into our food and drinks. (An interesting side note, we had eaten dinner there on our first night, too, and they had a whole list of beer and wine.)
The reality is this: many workers are making more on unemployment and stimulus than they can going back to work. Our server spelled it all out for us. But if they refuse to go back to work, they lose their benefits. So, businesses will have a real problem opening back up, and I'm not sure how they're going to do it. I do know this, as consumers, we should all prepare for scenes like the one we experienced. Quality of service is going down, down, down....demand is going up, up, up. And there is the dilemma.
All said, Florida was very warm and sunny, and it was a fun adventure. But I am happy to be back home. I love the Northwest, and I am just not cut out for hot and humid, or dense populations of people. We have one more trip to go see kids and grandkids, and then we are home for the foreseeable future! Yay!
Home sweet home.
I love home!!