Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 156

I was afraid Little Love wouldn't even go near the trailer today, but she did.  She walked up the ramp confidently and went straight for the bucket.  I closed the back bar and she was fine.  Then I lifted the ramp up and she decided it was too much.  She walked of the front of the trailer and stopped to look at me. 

I put the back down again, opened the bar and fetched her.  She came back to the ramp and walked in again.  I closed the back bar and walked to the front.  Then I closed the front bar.  She was still eating the grain (I was holding the bucket in front of her), but was moving around nervously and lifting her head to look back, as if she was making sure the ramp was still down.  Once she had finished the grain, I walked out of the trailer and laid the bucket on the ground.  Little Love leaned into the front bar and her gaze was fixed on me.  I decided not to push her any further, so I walked up the front ramp and undid the chest bar.  She waited very politely until I gave her the signal to move forward, then she marched down the ramp in a very composed manner. 

So, the good thing is that she still went in, despite the panic from yesterday.  When I saw her reaction to the ramp coming up behind her, I realized that to truly get her over all her fears towards the trailer and traveling would probably take a lifetime.  We don't have that, since in less than three weeks she will be traveling to what probably will feel to her like the end of the world. 

While I soaked her feet and she ate hay, I talked to her about the journey and how it is a necessary evil on our road to hopefully an even better life together.  I told her I was stressing out about it, too, but that I knew she was strong and would get through it.  I told her I knew how scared she was of the transportation vehicles, but that going into them without a fight was paramount for her own well being.  Because not going in was really not an option.  Little Love chewed her hay, but twice she lifted her head up and touched my arm.  I know she gets it, but I also know that once that panic sets in, there is not much logic to what she will do and how she will do it.  I might have to take a bottle of Valium before this is over, to keep myself calm when my horse is going completele out of her mind.  I can just imagine pulling her out of the trailer in France in a strange place only to ask her to load into a huge horse truck five minutes later.  Yikes.  That will be a test of my ability to stay calm in the moment.  Valium sounds like a good option for the owner...


  1. I know it would help Little Love if you could send her "mind pictures" of the places you will got to. Probably very difficult for the place in France, or have you been there? Could someone get you pictures? I know that horses (and other animals) adjust much better to a new environment if a picture has been "painted" for them in their mind. Maybe if you give Little Love a very clear image of the final destination it will help her through the different stages of the voyage?

  2. Good idea from nipomuki... and talking to Lilo like you do is great too. God, I think of the journey ahead for you and Lilo and I really can understand your anxiety... you're doing a grand job of dealing with this, there's nothing better that you could do... (short of taking private transpo with you next to her the whole way! :) ). I think the talking to Lilo helps her a lot, but I think it helps you too!

  3. I have been "sending" Little Love images of the new barn in Finland as well as one of the horses that lives there (unfortunately I've only met one of the three). I have even been imagining us walking on the forest road leading to the barn and telling her about all the people she will meet and the horse friends she will make. Unfortunately I don't know what it will look like in France and Germany where she will have to switch transports. However, I have given her images of big horse trucks with several horses on board, so she knows it's not going to be another trailer. I am trying to make sure she knows where she is going and that I'm not selling her or abandoning her. When she was young, she went from a "sales barn" in Germany to another in Belgium to yet another in France and finally Switzerland and I know this time was very traumatic for her as she was "on trial" with over ten owners over this one year period of her life (from 5 to 6 yrs old) only to be returned to the sales barn. I am doing everything I can to assure her that she is going on this trip so she can STAY with me. My biggest worry is that she will think I sent her away. I will try to be there every step of the way, but I can't be in the transport with her. That part she needs to do alone.
    And yes, talking about this with her helps me, too!!!