Phew! After three horrible, exhausting, stressful days of travel, my little family of critters and I have all survived the long journey to Texas. It was really not THAT bad, in the grand scheme of things, but really, three days of 12+ hour hauling will wear you out, not to mention the three animals and mother you're schlepping along for the journey. But we're all here, and we're all okay, thank god!
After finding Gogo's nasty wounds, my trailer door nearly falling off, losing all my keys for good, and running my truck and trailer off the road on a snowy mountainside, we managed to get off to a relatively decent start on Wednesday morning. My GPS got confused on the first leg of the journey, and sent me down a parkway (which is illegal with a trailer) right through Yonkers outside of NYC. Which, if you've never been there, is NOT a great place to drive a trailer through. The trip took FOR-EV-ER, and I was hours and hours late to my final destination. I was trying to make a rendezvous with my mother in Virginia, where she was flying in and meeting me for the second two days of the drive. When I finally pulled in to the equine hospital where Gogo was staying overnight, it was 10pm - we loaded at 9:30am. Along the journey, she refused to drink a single drop of water. At. All. The problem began when I tried to offer her water while she was standing in the trailer, and all she wanted to do was eat hay. Normally I take her off when I offer water. I did the only thing I could think of, and dumped the water over her hay (it was too cold to soak her hay when I left Connecticut.... negative 10!!). This, however, only made her think she was getting enough water, and she continued to refuse to think. So I kept dumping it over her hay. By the end of twelve hours, I was thoroughly alarmed. When she got into her stall, she took a sip of water, and then continued to eat hay as though she wasn't in the least bit interested in water. I was so thoroughly put out at this point that I told the attendant to shoot her if she colicked in the night! Thankfully, she drank nearly three 5-gallon buckets full of water overnight.
Gogo's stop in some Pennsylvania town outside of a big rock quarry and a lake:
I did in fact trailer her in that blanket, which I never do. Normally she runs really hot, but it was so freezing cold in Colebrook that she was literally shivering when I put her on the trailer. I've never seen her get THAT cold. It was in the low teens for the entire first day's drive, and she stayed very comfortable with that blanket in the breezy trailer. Do your fierce-hearted mares run hot too? Nearly every mare with a similar personality that I know does.
Anyway. Matters were not improved when I made contact with my mother that evening and learned that an enormous winter storm was roaring up through Virginia and Tennessee that evening. I had been warned by my new boss that those storms were horrible, and not to travel in them if I could help it, but as my mother had a plane to catch on Saturday in Texas we did not have a whole lot of choice. The scariest part of the journey by far was the first leg; imagine sliding down the Virginia mountains with your ABS grating underneath your foot at you try to regain your braking system while your trailer sways behind you in the early morning light. We crept on in this way for several hours, wondering if we should just give up and try and find another barn to hole up at until the weather cleared. Somewhere along the journey, the sideways snow changed to sleet, and our spirits were slightly lifted:
But not much. It was still miserably slow, even though our speed has increased from 20mph to 40. Eventually, the sleet changed all to rain, and the roads became passable. As a northern girl I can safely say this: Virginia cannot intelligently deal with snow. And Tennessee cannot intelligently deal with ice. That is all.
Somehow, 15 hours later we pulled safely in to our layover in Tennessee. Once again, Gogo refused to drink a drop out of her buckets, and I had to soak all her hay as best I could. She seemed in good spirits despite the fact that she only drank a bucket and a half overnight. As for me, I was pulling my hair out trying to get her to drink. I had also, at this point, lost an entire gallon of aloe juice due to an accident in my front seat where the aloe managed to leak out all over my computer, which then sat in a puddle of it for several hours. I discovered this far too late to do anything about it, and my computer seemed to be completely fried whenever I attempted to turn it on. I gave up, turned it off, and left open it by a vent every time I had a chance. I seemed to have revived it, thank god, but it was not a very happy experience for me. Also I was none too pleased at not having anything to help Gogo's stomach along the way. I had used up all the Ulcergard I had with me, and discovered that the rest was buried in the bowls of my trailer, underneath everything I owned in the world in my packed tackroom. Sigh.
The third day of the trip dawned and nobody was even remotely interested in getting in the car. Gogo, on the other hand, still hopped right on the trailer without a moment's hesitation, bless her lil' heart. I think if it were me, I would have taken one look at the shipping boots and refused to have anything further to do with the whole ordeal. We cruised across the Mississippi river past Memphis, and hurried through Arkansas (honestly, who wants to spend ANY time there?). When we eventually stopped to let Gogo off the trailer, she FINALLY drank about half a bucket of water. My dog had also FINALLY eaten her breakfast (major car anxiety) and my cat had FINALLY also taken a sip of water and had eaten a few bites of breakfast herself. Despite being really weird about where she drinks her water - we discovered that normally she only drinks out of the dog bowl, but apparently refuses to drink out of it unless it is in an elevated holder, so we had to offer her a mug of water instead - my cat is an exceptionally easygoing traveler. The dog was having a mild panic attack for pretty much every waking moment of the car ride, and we finally let the sleeping cat out of her cage so she could go curl up with the dog and comfort her. The cat also spent quite some time as my co-pilot, sitting on the center console and watching out the front window:
Never a thought of getting in my lap, what a good kitty.
Finally, after another exhausting 12 hours, we pulled into the barn and unloaded. Gogo, being of course in head, squabbled a bit with the mini next door to her stall, but settled immediately and started munching her hay and dipping it into the water buckets. For having ridden in a trailer for three very solid days, she is as bright eyed and alert as ever. She must have been tired, but she didn't show it at all. She can't have lost more than just a few pounds... she almost looks like she may have gained a few. She looks amazing.
She's still not drinking well, much to everyone's surprise, but both the hay and the grain is soaked here, and I think that has quite a lot to do with it. My first day of work was today, and she drank about as much as everyone else, which wasn't much at all. We left her outside next to the mini for the entire day, and pulled her blanket off at around 11am to let her be naked and free. We didn't even bother putting a blanket on her this evening. She could not possibly be happier about this situation. She is also very happy about having wet hay, as she is a disgustingly messy dunker and wants her hay wet in the first place.
She'll stay at the ranch for now, but she may yet move to my backyard. Or something else might move into my backyard, I haven't decided just yet! The 5 acres behind my house is all mine for the using, although it's not ready for horses yet. Three of the perimeter fences are good, strong horse fencing, some combination of pipe fence and mesh wire fence made specifically for horses. The other piece of fence is barbed wire, which we will have to rip out and replace. It's just one top strand of barbed wire overtop a normal wire and mesh fencing, but I'll be damned if I put my precious jewel into a cow pasture where she can lose and eye and a leg at the same time. The barn area also needs work - it is primarily pipe fencing but has places with chain link to solidify the pipe, and they are bent. It's a weird labyrinth of holding pens, six in all, and an area with a nice overhang for animals to stand under. There is also what could be made into a very large stall area, totally shut in from three sides, but the rafters are low and there are lightbulbs and wires to get hung up on. With some hard work, it could really be great.
Three days on a trailer, and Gogo's legs look better than ever. The right is still warm and has a small hard lump, but the left has no more swelling and the wounds look very good. They sloughed off a bit of dead skin overtop part of the "Y" that the cuts made, but once that business was over, they set themselves to closing and needed no further bandaging. She is still marching around sound as ever at the walk, and you wouldn't know visually that she has any sort of injury unless you looked in very closely. My new boss wants me to get a second opinion on the leg and whether or not she will have any sort of competitive future. I would think she stands a decent chance, although I'm not sure at what. I just can't believe how good she looks, how happy she is, and how relaxed I am about this whole process of healing. We're just all so much happier now that she is booted out into a field. I guess I have to eat my words about turnout for injuries, even though I need a vet with diagnostic tools to really say for sure.
The stalls have runs off of them, but she is temporarily locked in at night because the tiny pony shares her run. She is not pleased about that, even though her stall is 16x16:
She really is such a nice looking mare, even just standing in a stall. Even nicer looking out in the field. I really do hope she returns to some sort of work someday. My new boss gave her some very nice compliments, and I was pleased. We're also trying to figure out some new supplement experimentation with her, because at this point we might as well play around with what we have... if it's done intelligently, it hopefully can't hurt. Still Gro N' Win for now as her meal base, but I have SmartFlex Repair to try her on, and we're adding Cocosoya and some UGard for good measure after that horribly long trip. I still have flax to give her too but I can't imagine needing it if she's on Cocosoya. Eh, now is the time for experimentation I guess!
Personally, all supplementing and speculation aside, all I want for Christmas is a leg transplant for her!
I already almost got myself shot fumbling for the lights in the barn last evening - scared the other guy that works there and he literally had a gun in his hand when he came to see who I was! I guess that was my Texas christening right there - apparently, according to everyone here, I also need a gun to keep in my house because everyone else has one too. If you handed me a loaded gun, I wouldn't hardly know which end to point away from myself. I guess when in Rome... do as the Romans do? Just don't ask me to kill animals with it unless they're already suffering.
Welcome to life in Texas!
The very special Ridgeway weekend
3 days ago