(When I walked out to get Bee, she was sleeping. I had to wake her. I even haltered her as she was lying down like this. What would her day be like? Would she be safe? Would she still trust me?)
I'm not sure if my trainer has actually planned to stop being a security blanket for me, or if it's just how it worked out, but needless to say, she is making me do things mostly on my own. I had asked her to come to my house and be with me through the whole process, but she didn't take me up on it. The knowledge and experience are in this brain of mine, but for some reason, I don't like to do things like this alone. Wah, wah, I need my security blanket!
What if Bee throws herself around in the trailer and breaks a leg?
What if we get there, Bee panics, pulls the rope out of my hands, and runs home--straight up Trails Rd--into the cars--through barbed wire?
Those were actual true and real thoughts that went through my head!
I guess what I really want are guarantees, but that's not practical with horses. Sometimes, all we really have to rely on is faith in the foundation. So, I asked myself if I'd laid a good foundation for her, and the answer was, yes, I did, to the best of my ability; I exposed her to everything we'd be doing. Well then, have some faith.
I was supposed to be at the trail head at 1 pm, so I gave myself lots of time by going to get Bee at 12 pm. As I walked out to get her, I told myself that if anything seemed amiss--and I would try to read her each step of the way--I'd stop wherever I was and not push her further, even if it meant not loading her that day.
It was a bit windy and cold that morning, and before we left, I tied Bee to the trailer to groom her. She was reacting to everything, and paying very little attention to me. She seemed more concerned with her safety--or self-preservation.
I had to find a way to allow her to work that out, so I took her to the arena and did some basic groundwork until she was able to feel better and give me her attention. Then, we returned to the trailer to finish grooming, and she was more calm and relaxed.
As she stood tied, I loaded everything I'd need at the park.
--Lunging whip for the round pen.
--2 lead lines for getting her out of the trailer, should she try to flip around and bolt out.
--hay bag to keep her busy standing tied at the trail head.
--bottled water for me.
It was all going well, and I felt like she was ready for the next step. So, on my own, with no one to even hold the door open (and the door kept trying to shut on us), I loaded Bee into the trailer, closed the panel and the door, then jumped into my truck.
Hmm. One little problem. I forgot my keys.
I decided it would be best to unload Bee and tie her up to the trailer, so that I'd have time to walk back to the house and get them. I was kind of mad at myself--dang it, Linda, how could you forget the keys?!? But I think some mistakes are meant to be, because it was good practice. She loaded better the second time, probably thinking it was another false drill. Oh yeah, she loads me up, closes the door, walks away, then comes back and gets me. I just need to pretend like it's a-okay.
But it wasn't a drill. I started the truck and began to pull out, straining to see her through my rear view mirror. When we got up to the front gate, I took the opportunity to jump out and check on her. She was standing quietly, a little wide-eyed and nervous, but she wasn't stomping, kicking or pulling back.
Here we go, Bee. Stay calm.
And, I got in my truck, told myself one more time I was doing the right thing by her, and pulled out.
(To be continued.)