It was quite the journey for our newest addition, packed with adventure and lots of new experiences. Isla came all the way from Illinois, she traveled over 2000 miles to get here.
She arrived late at night during the first part of last week, her hauler was thrilled to get her unloaded and into my care!
Isla walked on to the big trailer without any issues, she quickly changed her mind and decided she’d rather not be tied in just one spot on this big beautiful trailer. She got a new halter and leadrope, her initial one broke when she decided to change seats. She got settled back in and then the chest bar in the trailer was not to her liking. Our poor haluer....
Isla then decided she needed her feet elevated. She used the new soft chest rope upgrade to rest her front leg. Our hauler did compliment her on how quiet and calm she stood, even 3 legged.
It became quite apparent that Isla's continual travel accommodation requests were never ending and a bother to both her fellow passengers and her chauffeur. She was quickly upgraded to the first class private box stall. She liked that upgrade so well that she decided she would be staying on board. The other passengers could unload but she wasn‘t giving up her stall.
Isla kept our hauler and his team on their toes for the entire trip. She needed constant reassurance, she needed strong boundaries, she needed to be constantly watched so she didn't hurt herself and she needed to be reminded to keep her front feet to herself, she needed new water buckets and to have her hay net picked up all along the route. I felt terrible! Really terrible. If I’d have known I would have been able to caution them and set them up to be more prepared. They still delivered a horse that was in absolute perfect health and condition even after all of her struggles. Please don't ever go with the cheapest haul, don't go with a transporter who is already hauling for someone else that lives close to you because it's convenient or can save you money. Do your research, do more research, ask for references. I use Yoder Equine Transport. I will always recommend them, especially if they're hauling one of ours for you. Now I have to cross my fingers that they didn’t block my number after this last haul. 😂
Isla's adventures did not stop when she unloaded. Initially she was so worried I couldn't get her halter off, she's over 16 hands and I am 5'3 in my boots. She also has a neck that wouldn't look out of place on a giraffe. I have a new arrival pen set up, it's the quarantine pen. Private box stall with 30x40 run, pasture views and a smorgasbord of hay, supplements and multiple grain rations each day. Every new arrival starts in the quarantine pen, they all settle in safely and slowly. No issues. Ever. Isla stayed in her private suite for less than 24 hours. That mare was miserable. She would not eat a bite of grain, she turned her nose up at both alfalfa and grass hay, she wanted nothing to do with me, was still wearing her halter(not something anyone on my place wears when not connected to me) and when I entered the pen to start the let down work she welcomed me with a striking paw. I had no idea what to do, this is not at all what I had expected to be dealing with. Then! She jumped the fence.
I am not joking. She flung herself over the fence, got up, went into the barn and introduced herself to all the mares. She stood quietly, taking big deep breaths for the first time probably since she was haltered the day she left her breeders. I approached on her off side(that's not the dominant striking foot), slipped the leadrope over her neck and escorted her to the pasture. She skinned a 3 inch patch of hair off her front left knee, that was it. I have no idea how she managed to walk away with only missing hair but I was not about to put her back in there alone. You don't get that lucky twice in one day.
Things are settling down in her world now. She's finding her spot within the herd and she finds comfort in their language. It's predictable, it's understandable and I believe it's really all she's ever known. She has even decided to stay in her pen with Crow(we may have a future jumper here)! She’s going to be a handful, she’s still a baby. She’s a big baby though and one who’s never done much interacting with us two legged critters. That’s unfortunate because we have a lot of make up work to do but in the long run I’ll bet she’s going to be worth her weight in gold.
Welcome home Isla. I’m excited to see you bloom.