Quest and I said goodbye to WSS this past weekend. A barn move has been in the works for awhile but I didn't want to say much until things actually happened. As with most things in life, a LOT of things really needed to fall into place first for everything to have worked out...and some how, it did.
During my month long hiatus from blogging, I took a hard look at what I wanted to do with Quest in the future. My first and foremost reason for moving to WSS was so that mareface and I could get a safe start to endurance riding by boarding with experienced mentors to help us train, condition, and transport us to rides. I was never happy only being able to see my horse once/twice a week...but it had to be done.
When Quest got injured, there was no hesitation in my mind to give her all the time she needed to recover. As I suspected though, I grew very restless from the lack of saddle time and thought I'd be okay borrowing horses from J and B. Despite all good intentions, there were times I showed up at the barn all dressed for a trail ride only to discover that everyone (rideable horses included) were away for the weekend. It was a sad reminder that everyone was out having fun on the trail and my horse was still broken and unable to compete. It really sucked on the days I just needed to grab some saddle time to get lost in my thoughts.
A few months ago, I found out from my friend T (not the Icelandic-owning T) that there was an open pasture board spot at OF, a barn I used to ride at. Readers who have followed this blog when it started back in 2014 might remember this is where I leased an OTT Standardbred mare named Rori for a few months before finding Quest. During my time there, I networked with some awesome people and we stayed in touch after I left. After a year of "weekend warrior-ing", the thought of actually being able to see my horse during the week sounded like a dream come true. There was an enclosed indoor arena, an outdoor arena, long grades for hill sprints, and trails to help us get back into long slow distance conditioning. I would pay for the convenience of course, but it would be worth it IF Quest stayed quiet/continued recovering/adjusted well to the change. I stopped by the barn for a quick visit, talked to the BO, met the barn management staff, and left feeling it was the right decision for us. It was worth a try at the very least.
My biggest worry going into the move was keeping the stress level low for BOTH of us. I need not have stressed though.
I arrived at the barn after church and took my time. After fetching Quest from pasture, we did a groundwork refresher. Walk, whoa, backup, and yield hindquarters. Smart mare remembered it all- lots of licking and chewing, I rewarded her and we called it a day. I allowed her to graze while I got her groomed up and we waited in the small paddock for T to arrive. T's trailer was a 2-horse ramp, straight load. I wasn't sure if Quest had ever been on one of those but whatever, we deal. Mareface followed me right up and we were ready to roll out in less than a minute.
The drive over was uneventful and Quest unloaded just was well when we arrived at OF. While she was still anxious about trailering, mareface was far from over-the-top losing it and barely sweat at all. J and C, the barn management staff who live on-site met us shortly after we pulled up and they went to go fetch Harley, Quest's new gelding pasture buddy. While we waited, a lady named J led her POA mare Lacy over to were we were hand-grazing and started chatting. I found out J loves riding the trails and has explored most of the places directly accessible for riding so that was very good to know! After taking stock of her new surroundings, Quest also went for a big roll- something she has never done before after unloading at a new place.
J and C came back and led us over to Quest's new home. First off was a lead line tour of the pasture boundaries starting from the lower field with the run-in shed, salt block, and the water trough- the important stuff. Harley was in the upper field and came cantering over when he saw Quest appear with us. The introduction went without a hitch. Harley immediately fell in love with Quest and actually started blocking other geldings from across the fence line that tried to "steal" his mare away. Despite being in season, which definitely didn't help calm the poor geldings lol, Quest was totally unmoved by all the boy attention and kept following me politely on the lead line while we continued our pasture tour with J. I was so impressed with how chill she was the entire time. No stupid spinning or rearing, just healthy and sane curiosity.
At the end of the tour, Quest was so calm that I felt satisfied enough to let her off lead to hang out with Harley. The two of them hit it off immediately and even started mutually grooming each other- it was pretty stinking adorable. J, C, and I stood by the paddock gate and after awhile Harley's owner, a young girl named S, showed up and we were formally introduced. I then learned that Harley, like Quest, was also an auction horse pulled from Camelot. Auction horse rescue buds.
I hung out at the barn for awhile to unload/organize my tack area and stuck around long enough to watch Quest get her first dinner. She had a great appetite and finished every bite. C texted me last night and again this morning with updates- Quest is still eating great and all is well. Hopefully this "not stressing about moving thing" keeps up because I can totally get used to it.
And so here we are. New place, new adventures.