I took a few hours and went to the stable to spend some time with Lily on my own. Nancy, a wonderful woman who boards there and one of my favorite people, was at the barn.
"Lily is getting in the trailer all by her self!" she said. "She just goes in on her own accord and backs out as nice as can be."
She did so well on her last lesson, but I didn't imagine her just hopping in there for fun!
So I went in with the halter and she followed me in, then she unloaded just fine. She loaded again and waited for me to tell her to back out. And she did, calmly.
But the issue I'm concerned about is she is in the trailer and taking up the entire thing. Suddenly it's a one horse trailer.
I think it's time to move onto the next step - loading and putting her in place with the butt bar.
This is the part I'm a little nervous on, so I'm considering asking the trainer to give me some lesson time on this. We'll see how it goes.
After our triumph of the trailer I took her over for a hosing down in the wash rack. It's so oppressively hot - it's been over 100 for weeks and weeks - ever since June. I've never known the heat to be so intense here. Sure we'd get over 100, sometimes for 30 days. But here's the report from NOAA:
SO FAR THIS YEAR SINCE MAY 1ST...AUSTIN MABRY HAS HAD FORTY ONE 100So we are at somewhere around 40 days and it's just the start of August.
DEGREE DAYS...DEL RIO FORTY 100 DEGREE DAYS...SAN ANTONIO INTERNATIONAL
AIRPORT THIRTY FIVE 100 DEGREE DAYS...SAN ANTONIO STINSON FIELD
FORTY FIVE 100 DEGREE DAYS...AND AUSTIN BERGSTROM INTERNATIONAL
AIRPORT THIRTY THREE 100 DEGREE DAYS.
I can do upper 90s, but something changes when it's over 100.
But I've been really, really missing horse time. Just time to hang around with our horse. The kids are miserable in the heat, my husband is in a hurry to leave.
I never want to leave horse time. So this time I went alone.
Lily's coat isn't doing well in the heat, but there's little I can do. It's just ridiculously hot.
I hosed her down in the wash rack and didn't even bother to scrape off the excess water. And we went for a walk together, just up through some area with lots of odd scraps from a neighbor that seems to collect old boats, the shell of a mobile home (now demolished in a pile), just lots of scary stuff.
Lily is so good with things. She was a bit concerned, but about mid way in our brief walk she just relaxed.
She's moved into a new place, and I can feel a level of trust that is new. She's doing so much better raising her rear hooves, she's willing to connect like I never saw before. She has always held herself at a bit of a distance when I knew her before and I wondered if that would ever change. I thought maybe it was a quarter horse thing. But now she welcomes an embrace.
Something has changed.
Sweat poured off me as we wandered around, remembering how to lead / follow respectfully. The water on her coat faded into the heat until only her belly was dark from the little moisture that remained. I brought a wash cloth to her face and at first she put her head up, but one soothing word and she dropped it and softened so quickly I was almost taken aback. Usually that would have taken a minute or two.
When I put her back in her pasture, she just dropped her head to the hay pile.
Usually she walks off, needing the distance from us for a second, then sometimes comes back, sometimes not.
But this time I let her go where the hay was and lingered. She was content to just eat, didn't seem to need to run off.
I remember this feeling with Canyon, a little connection. For all his issues, that horse got to a place where he trusted me. I couldn't leverage that enough to solve the problem, but there was no question about trust.
Lily is coming close to that place. At least, I think she's opened the door.
I got this from the woman who is sending me the saddle. I got a little confused about the rigging, and so asked a few more questions (I'm keeping the saddle, I just wanted to clarify).
As stated in my ad, this saddle has 7/8 position rigging, not center fire. If you look at the picture on ebay, the rigging is right below the pommel. I had it changed by a professional saddle maker. The center fire rigging did not suit my stocky QH at all. When I first bought the saddle and rode with the CF rigging the girth would eventually slide forward and find the "natural" girth line (behind the elbows). This made the saddle creep up onto his shoulders/neck. I investigated this problem both with the saddle maker and several online resources and found that CF rigging rarely works well on stockier breed horses (typical endurance breeds are leaner and have a more uniform barrel/girth line, whereas stocky breeds tend to have a narrower girth than barrel). Everyone recommend I either sell the saddle or have the rigging changed. I really didn't want to sell the saddle since it fit him so well (other than the rigging). I only sold now because I bought another Big Horn saddle with a memory foam seat and don't use this one anymore.
Personally, I'm fine with this response - honestly I know this is the kind of thing you get with buying used stuff (I almost always buy used stuff, I don't need that new saddle smell). Half the time people have solved a problem for you, half the time it doesn't work out and you end up with little less than you wanted.
What do you think?