09.04.17: Wrapping Up

Jim dropped me off at the ranch in time for breakfast while he headed out to do some errands for a few things that we needed to pick up before heading back northward again. I finished my breakfast up in a hurry and fed Storm and cleaned the pen up before going to organize the tack trunk a bit so that I could make sure that everything fit into it before this afternoon. I got most everything organized except for the few things I'd need in the afternoon and then headed into class.
Kristi gave us the plan for the day, and then sent us to the seat builders for some exercises with Baron. The other class was down to only two people as the three ladies from Arkansas had headed out already, so Kristi took them on a nice trail ride out for the morning. We met Baron at the seat builders for a repeat of the previous day's exercises to help develop muscle memory. Everybody did quite a bit better than the day before, it was neat to see the practiced improvements.
When we finished up with that Baron gave us a short break and then met us in the grassy area and distributed noodles for our next simulation. We simulated a trail ride and all got in a line and had to practice staying behind each other and following the slowest person, and making sure that we did not get to close to each other. Most of the line cut up and were being very silly, which was a lot of fun. We had fun goofing off while playing around with the concepts of how to have a safe and fun trail ride that sticks within everyone's limits.
We finished up and met back in the classroom where Kristi and Baron led the final finale for the group. It was great to have such a small group and be able to talk about highlights and the things that were really profound for each of us. We also watched some really great video clips of people riding horses and having fun. There was a group of kids from Germany riding Fijord horses that were so cute. We also watched one of the high level instructors riding bareback and bridle-less through a cross country course, over high jumps and through water and everything. They gave us our certificates and then held the drawing for the free course, and Claudia won. She is a delightful person, and a real joy to spend time with.
We finished up with that and I found Jim in the lodge working on the computer for a bit, and I looked over some of the photos from the day before while we waited for lunch to be ready. We ate lunch with a fun group of people and all chatted about lots of things. We finished up and I headed
out to get Storm out for one more play session. I had pretty much decided that we wouldn't ride since we didn't have a whole lot of time for the afternoon and I didn't want to be too focused on that. I took him into the round pen and he was FULL of energy. He was so energetic that I had to take him off of the 22' line so that he could move freely on his own in the 75' round pen. I could barely get him to stand still long enough to get the rope off of him. I sent him out on the circle and he was off like a shot running and running. We did several exercises for a while before he finally calmed
down enough. He was pretty sweaty by that time so we headed up to the pond to see if he wanted to go for a swim. It wasn't near as warm as it was the week before, and he was not as interested in going as far into the pond. He almost decided to lay down, and dropped to his knees, but then
changed his mind for some reason. We finished up, and I asked him to go into the little trailer again, which he did pretty easily, though he still bangs his hips on the sides quite often. He stayed in and enjoyed the carrots that we put in the front of the trailer for him, which was good. We explored a few more obstacles before moseying back over the bridge.

We went back to the other side and I brought him to the nice sandy spot where he likes to roll, and Jim got some more fun photos of him rolling vigorously on the ground. He grunts and groans and really enjoys himself flipping over and back several times. Its very interesting to see him from that perspective. I just make sure that he can't get tangled in the lead rope and let him enjoy himself.
We headed back up to the pen since it was getting close to time for the hauler to get there. I checked in with Claudia and everything was squared away for him to go spend a few days at her farm before the big truck would come and pick him up. The hauler can't come pick him up until Monday, so he'll stay at her farm for a little mini vacation for a few days. I felt much better having him at someone's place where he had the freedom to move around rather than be pent up in a stall after he's had so many days of exercise. A stall would drive him crazy and make him that much harder to load onto the big truck.
The hauler got there just about the same time Claudia's husband did (we didn't haul him in Claudia's trailer because we weren't sure it was big enough) and so she loaded up her horse, and then we got Storm into the other trailer and followed her to her farm. Storm loaded very well, it only took about 15 minutes, and he was pretty confident. It took a few tries, but he went on pretty quickly. Erin gave me some assistance in getting him turned around and in the right position in the box stall at the back of the trailer and he was all ready to go.
We followed the trailer over to Claudia's and she has a beautiful little oasis in the middle of a huge thoroughbred farm. Her little place is surrounded by rolling fields full of horses. She has a beautiful barn that is very open and airy, and a nice little playground in and among a big grove of trees.
Storm came off the trailer a little nervous, but very quickly settled down and began to explore his environment. We got all of his stuff situaited and then went to give him some hay and his evening feed. He was back in the playground nibbling at what grass there was, and I had to walk pretty far out there before he became interested enough in coming with me. Before he would follow me though he found a nice spot to roll in, which was a good sign that he was settling down and confident.
We headed out after thanking Claudia and her husband Bill for their hospitality and headed back towards the ranch. Jim had made arrangements with Lelise Weiler to photograph her and her horse, Quick Car. He had been laid up with an injury from the storms that rolled through when we arrived, and the vet was out checking him earlier in the afternoon. We arrived and she said that the vet hadn't cleared him yet, but that she could do some light stuff with him, which was still very beautiful to watch. Despite having 3 weeks of no work at all he was responding very well to her and Jim got some fantastic shots. We burned them onto a CD for her and she was so very excited to have them so that she could have a large print made to hang on her wall. It was so much fun to watch her and her horse because you could truely see the relationship and the joy that they both shared.
We were pretty late in the evening leaving there and headed down to Horse and Hound for dinner since we missed dinner in the lodge by that time. We were late getting back to the tent so no packing got done, but we planned to be up pretty early to get things moving in the morning.

Next Page: 09.04.18: On the Road Again