I’m going to take a moment to go back in time to when my dad and I brought Aspen home. I’ve a friend who hauled a young horse a long distance so I asked her for some tips. She said offer water when we stop, but don’t be surprised if she doesn’t drink. Have hay available but again, don’t be surprised if she doesn’t eat. She warned that a long haul can cause legs to stock up, but it would go away once she was home and could walk around. Add in the fact that Aspen hadn’t ever been hauled and we were looking at fifteen to sixteen hours, I was starting to wonder what I’d gotten myself into. And she wasn’t halter broke, she’d just had one on a few times. Oi!
I needn’t have worried. Aspen hauled like an absolute champ. Every time I offered her water she drained the bucket. I was concerned she wasn’t eating but rather pushing the hay around. Upon closer inspection she was pushing the hay around, but it was to get the rich alfalfa leaves. I rolled my eyes and realized I likely had another snobby hay eater on my hands. We only had to stop at a gas station once because I had had a genius idea. My brother has a 100 gallon drag up tank he used to fuel his trucks up. If we put that in the truck bed we wouldn’t have to find gas stations. We merely pulled onto a ramp or rest area, my dad pumped fuel and I checked the horse. It was wonderful and so convenient.
At the one gas station we stopped at we both used the restroom and my dad got a sandwich. We also had a cooler full of drinks, snacks and a bag of baby carrots. While I waited on the fuel to pump and my dad to return I fed Aspen the carrots. She stuck her nose out the little door every time we opened it to check on her. Not in an anxious way, she simply wanted to see what was going on. I thought I had taken a photo of this but apparently it was just to my snapchat story and I didn’t save it. I’m a terrible horse mom.
What really eased my worries about Aspen was when we stopped on a large shoulder to check on her and fuel up. Traffic was flying by at more than seventy miles an hour and she didn’t give a hoot. She just wanted some water and some petting.
We hit the farm just before one in the morning; we’d gotten a later start than we intended because the sun rose later than what we were used to. My dad and I had never put much thought into how much further West my oldest brother is; it isn’t something that matters after driving for fifteen hours. Still, we made great time considering how many times we stopped. My dad drove a longer leg coming home because I was fighting to keep my eyes open. He’s pretty great like that. Plus, he managed to back the trailer right up to the round pen gate in the dark, which is tricky enough in daylight due to the surrounding pasture fence. We had anticipated that Aspen might barrel out of the trailer once the door was open but nope. It took a few minutes of us coaxing before she came out. We pulled her halter off and watched her inspect her new digs for a few minutes. She quickly found the water trough and the flakes of hay and settled in.
We moved the trailer and shut the gate before stopping in the shop to have a well deserved beer. I gave him a big hug and a million thank yous before I left to drive up the hill to my bed and kitties. 2,133 miles and 19 hours of driving gave me my third herd member.