Zahra and I were having a very solid prep for our first show. Everything was going smoothly, we were on a good track... the weekend before the show we were all set to do a dressage lesson with Janet Foy to smooth out any inconsistencies, and then go cross country schooling for the first time away from home, just to make sure she knew she could jump solid obstacles besides the ones we have at home! Alas, as I recently recounted, Zahra decided to take a gallop through the countryside and was laid up for the week before the show.
So, between the lost preparation time, and the big ol' hole in her leg, I had to abandon any aspirations of being "competitive" in any way. My entire plan, my mantra for the weekend, was "make it a good experience." As long as Zahra had a good experience and learned about the show environment, then it was a win.
I was giving myself a big pat on the back for being such a good horseman, putting my horse's needs first, so what happened next caught me off guard. We've had a little trouble getting her into the trailer in the past, but in the end, we'd always been able to get her on. Not so when it really counted. We worked for over 3 hours trying to load her into the trailer. She got all the way in once in the very beginning, before she flew backwards and hit her hip on the divider on the way out. After that, she was not going back in. Even after we removed the offending divider, it was too little too late. Zahra is the perfect storm of incredibly athletic (like a thoroughbred), but incredibly stubborn (like a plow horse). A TB will see reason eventually and get on the trailer. A plow horse can be coerced. But Zahra was the worst of both of these, and chose to rear and plant instead. Finally, at 10:30 at night, after going through all the stages of grief: denial (I'll get her on the trailer if I just keep at it!); anger (why won't this stupid horse get on the trailer?!); bargaining (Look at all these yummy treats I'll give you if you get on the trailer!); I came to depression and acceptance at the same time. I sat down with my feed bucket on the lip of the trailer until Z walked up to me to eat, and then I cried as I pet her, trying to make her believe that this was all I was trying to get her to do all night-- just stand by the trailer and eat grain, like it was the easiest thing in the world. Because, with horses, for better or worse, it always has to be a good experience.
|Wild horses of OBX, NC. I would have had better luck loading one of these guys on the trailer.|