Wednesday, June 07, 2006

All's Well That Ends Well

Figment is finally home! He arrived at around 2:30 p.m. and stepped off the trailer looking remarkably calm, especially considering that he'd been in transit for over 48 hours.

He was sweating a bit and gave the ramp a suspicious look, but then he walked right down and followed me into the round pen. We put him in there for a while so he could trot around and stretch his legs, and he also rolled several times in the orange clay. He managed to coat his whole body with an orange tint.

The trailer was huge; he had certainly ridden to Florida in style! I'm used to small, two horse trailers or basic goosenecks, but this was a fully enclosed rig where he'd basked in air conditioned comfort in a roomy, padded compartment with all the hay and water he could want. It was large enough to hold 6 to 8 horses, but by the time he got to Clermont, he was all by himself. He'd had a companion for part of the way, but she had been dropped off first. He was sad about that because they became close friends during the journey, nuzzling and licking each other like two necking teens.

Now, at his new home, there were several other horses, but they were all out in the pasture while he was confined to the round pen. Eventually he'll be turned out with pasture buddies once he has settled in. For now, he watched the others from his vantage point in the round pen. He was acting so calm that I did a little work with him; I didn't ride him, or even tack him up, but I lunged him a bit and had him perform some tricks. He remembered things quite well, considering it's been almost three years since I've done anything serious with him.

He didn't look stiff at all, and he was much less confused that I had imagined he'd be. He'd just been plucked from his home of five years, and before that he had lived his whole life at another barn with his mother. Since he's been rather sheltered, I wasn't sure how he would react to so much change. He's much more resiliant that I ever thought.

I gave him a shower before feeding time, and he seemed to enjoy the spray of cool water. He stepped right into the washrack as though he'd been in one a thousand times, even though this was the first time ever. Next, I put him in his stall, and he got a bit agitated because the other horses weren't in the barn yet. As they were brought in, he neighed frantically, upset at the fact that none were stalled near him. But not to worry...eventually his new next-door neighbor was brought in, and they happily sniffed noses through the bars that separated them. They seemed to become fast friends, so hopefully they will become pasture buddies once Figgie starts going outside with the others.

He'll have to be started on pasture slowly, since he didn't get much grass in Illinois. The corral where he was turned out was all dirt, and the horses grazed on hay. Figment can't suddenly be given all the grass he wants at once without getting a tummy ache. It would be like letting a child loose in an unlimited candy store. He can have a bit each day until he's built up his tolerance for "rich" food.

I left the barn confident that he's settling in very well...much better than I had expected. The shipper kept reassuring me that most horses handle long distance transit quite well, but horror story scenarios kept dancing through my mind. Granted, there was the breakdown in Kentucky, but the horses got through that unscathed.

I'm hoping to head out early tomorrow in order to beat the heat. I wonder how long it will take Figgie to get used to summer in Florda. If he's like me, it won't be long at all.

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