The Big Move
Wednesday (the 25th) dawned bright and early. I got up and made my to do list for the day, which included editing, making my shopping list for Tractor Supply, then going to pick up Orion with my grandpa and Liz! You can obviously guess which I was most excited about. lol
We were to meet up with Liz and her trailer around 4:45, so Grandpa and I left Philippi early so that I could pick up a couple of things from TSC, including fly spray, a new Western saddle blanket, grain, and wormer.
Orion didn't want to leave the barn when I got there. Most times he'll come to me; today was not one of those days. It was slightly raining, and he wanted to stay in his side of the barn with Kit. I had to wade through the mud to get to him, and when I got there, he started nuzzling Kit while I was tying his rope halter. Not gonna lie, I almost got emotional wondering if he'd realized he was leaving and was saying goodbye. I realize that's probably not the case. He probably just had an itch, but it was so well-timed that it was very convincing.
I took him to the paddock, put his SMB's on him, and collected our last couple things that I'd left on Sunday: dressage whip in case he was a butt about getting on the trailer, treats, and his partial bag of grain.
He followed me obediently out of the paddock, through Linda's yard, and out to the driveway where my grandpa's car was sitting and Liz would be pulling up any minute with the trailer.
|No matter how much they like to pretend they're not friends, this picture doesn't lie. lol|
I opened the trunk and started putting his stuff into it, while he quietly stood and watched and a time or two decided to help. ...-_-... He nosed the treat container around in the trunk. I scolded him. He stepped away and stood quietly for a minute. Then, as I was organizing things to make room for the grain bag, which was sitting at my feet, he stealthily started to stick his entire head into the bag. I let loose a loud, "Hey! Ahhht, no Orion! Get out of there!" He quickly pulled his head away with a half-mouthful of grain and went back to standing patiently. I deposited the grain in the trunk and closed it, then led him toward the front of the car, where Grandpa rolled the window down and started feeding him peppermints. Orion stuck his nose partially through the window to reach Grandpa's outstretched hand and gently lipped them up, then pulled his head back up and nodded as he ate them. He was a happy dude.
|SMB boots on and waiting patiently while I collected our things from the barn.|
Liz pulled up, and I led him up to the trailer. She gave me instructions, I hopped up, and he had to stand there and inspect every inch of the back of the trailer before she tapped his behind with her dressage whip. It didn't take nearly as long to load him as I thought it would. Once he was on, he was good. We hopped out, got organized, and headed to his new home.
The ride was uneventful, and I got to spend time catching up with Liz, which I haven't been able to do in quite some time.
At the new barn, Orion was reluctant to back off the trailer, and it was a little too small for him to turn his big butt around in, so I had to keep asking him, "Back, back, baaack. Come on, dude; it's really not that hard. You're not stepping off the edge of the earth here. Let's go. Baaack!" *hoof almost touches ground* "Goood boyyyy!" *quickly steps back onto trailer* "Damn it, Orion, you almost had it. Let's go. Back up. Come on." *tentatively steps back again and actually touches ground with back hoof* "Good boy! Good boy, Orion, keep it going!" I pushed on chest and kept putting pressure on his halter and praising him until he'd finally backed the rest of the way off and was completely out of the trailer. Thank God that was over. It took a couple minutes but overall wasn't horrible.
I had to call the BO, as we were there a little early, and he came down to tell me what to do with him. At first he decided he was going to keep in the barn for the night and put him out with the other horses in the morning. We put him in the roomy stall at the back of the barn and got him grain and water. He paced the stall, inspecting everything and occasionally grabbing a bite to eat. He also spent a few minutes with his head hanging over the door watching every move we made as we stood outside the stall and talked. Liz looked around the barn and made some helpful suggestions. The BO and I discussed the timeline for water and electricity being turned on.
|Buddy boy and I while waiting on the BO to get there. You can see one of the pastures in the background.|
Finally, the BO left, Liz decided to head home, and I decided I was going to spend a little time brushing Orion down and maybe do some T-Touch on him to try to further calm and relax him since he would be spending the night in a strange place. Just as I was heading back to the stall with a brush, the BO came back and said he'd changed his mind and decided we should go ahead and put him in with the other horses now and see how they took to each other.
So up the road we walked. When we reached the field, Vanna and Merrill immediately came over and sniffed noses with him over the fence. All three were calm and curious about each other. The BO let the rails down at the section of fence we use to take them in and out of, and we took Orion in, removed his rope, and stepped back to see what they did.
He immediately trotted over to the other two, they completely inspected each other, then he turned and set out at a trot across the field. Vanna and Merrill set off in a single file line behind him and trotted along at a pace to keep up with him. They continued this up around the top of the field and back, perfectly happy, a little excited, and seemingly completely content.
From that point on, it's looking like Orion, for the first time in his life, is at the top of his herd hierarchy. The other two defer to him, and he seems to lead their games and determine where they go, from what I've heard.