Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Settling In

Marley has been diligently mowing the lawn at Brody Ranch now for the last five days, and aside from a minor bee sting, he is doing great.  The second day he was there it snowed and Marley spent the day digging through the snow to get to the grass rather than eating all of his hay.  He didn't care that it was snowing, he stood outside and even played with us when we kicked snow around. 

My little mustang is getting bigger!

Marley seemed pretty happy with his stall, but sometimes walking through the barn was a little spooky for him.  Since we couldn't do any riding as it was snowing, I decided to bring Marley into the barn for some target training.  I started asking him to target to objects all over the barn that he was afraid of.  Pretty soon, exploring the barn became a game, and Marley will do just about anything for a carrot.   Just like that, the barn was safe.
Marley laying down on cue

The next day, in typical Colorado fashion, it was warm, sunny, and all of the snow melted.  I decided to take Marley out for a ride through the field.  I rode him bareback, and he was great.  It was still a little wet, so we did some trotting, but mostly we enjoyed the nice weather and a relaxing morning.

Today, Marley and I spent time together and went on a long walk.  He was great on the road and didn't spook once.  The best part was that when we finished up for the day, I didn't have to put him into a stall. 

"Mom, you're embarrassing me!"

Happy Marley

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The past couple of weeks

(These are written from oldest to most recent, so if you want to start at the bottom, it may make more sense)

Marley's New Adventure

I have always talked about wanting big, green, pastures with ample space and room for Marley to stretch his legs.  This weekend, Marley is going south on a trial run at a new temporary home until we move.  His permanence here until December isn't for sure until we know how he and the dogs do with his presence, but so far he seems really content with this new change.  Thank you to Mike and Laura, long time family friends, for their generosity.

Marley's new ride
When we pulled in Marley was still happily eating his hay and didn't seem upset at all by the trailer ride.  That in itself is progress, as in the past he has been a little nervous coming off the trailer someplace new.  After backing out, he stood and looked around for a few minutes.  He saw his barn, the dogs, and then to his delight, the grass.  That was the end of any shred of a doubt he had about this strange new place, so I walked him to the pasture so we could get his stall ready for him. 

Marley backing out of his new trailer

Taking a look around
Marley looking at the grass on our way to the pasture

Taking Marley to the big pasture
As soon as I took Marley's halter off, he started grazing as fast as he could.  Maybe he thought he would only have a limited time here or something, I'm not sure.  Any time he has grazed in the past is when I lead him and let him graze, as the only pasture he has been in has no grass.  He did eventually slow down a little, though he never got bored of eating.  I imagined what he looked like a year ago, out in the wild, free to eat and roam whenever/wherever he pleased.  I felt really good that he could be a horse again, the way a horse should be.

Marley happily grazing in the pasture

Jazz meeting Marley

Baby meeting Marley

After we got his feeders up, stall full of shavings, and water tanks filled, I brought Marley up to the barn.  Before putting him away I spent about an hour brushing him.  I tied him to the hitching post by the barn and he stood quietly the entire time.  At one point, he even had his eyes closed while I combed his mane and tail out. 

I led him into his stall and run area, which in itself is huge.  I walked him through his stall so he could see it, and then back out to his run.  He drank, explored a little, and then started grazing again.  Ahhh what a life.

Marley has a TRAILER!!

As you recently found out, Mike and I are going to be moving to California in December.  While we had found Marley a place to live, we weren't sure how we were going to get him there.  We thought about shipping him, and we thought about the prospect of buying a truck and trailer.  We really needed a trailer, not only for distance hauling, but also in case of an emergency or if we would just like to take him somewhere new for a ride. The problem is that we don't have a car that can pull a horse trailer, and buying the truck is the expensive part. 

Dad to the rescue!  My family has had a big suburban since I was little.  We used it for years to pull horses, boats, and to pack a bunch of kids into for field trips and play dates.  It now has 280,000ish miles on it, but it's still going strong.  The problem?  It's a gas guzzler, and my Dad uses it as a commuter vehicle.  The solution?  He is getting a new car and we are taking the suburban.  Perfect! All Marley needed now was a trailer!

What I wanted to get Marley was a nice sized two horse slant load stock trailer that had ample room for growth etc.  I also would have liked a tack room.  What we could afford was a 1976 two horse straight load with little to no room for growth.  It has a small compartment up front, so no tack room, but it works.  The good news?  It pulls great, and heck, it's a start!

Marley's Sleep Over

Marley was very surprised the other morning when I showed up at 3:45AM with my camping gear!  Mike and I share one car, and while it usually works out great if we plan things correctly, sometimes it leaves one of us stranded.  Marley had a trimming appointment at 7 AM, but Mike had to be at his first job at 5 AM, and then his second one at 8.  There was no way we could make the car work unless I either canceled Marley's appointment, or Mike dropped me off at the barn super early.  Well, I didn't want to cancel his appointment, so I brought my comfy clothes and hot cocoa and thought I would get some extra zzz's with Marley.

When we got to the barn, Marley was laying down.  He watched me sleepily while I unloaded the car and set up a spot in his stall.  Both of us fell back to sleep, and I didn't hear him move until about 5:30 when I woke up suddenly to Marley sneezing in my face. 

I was still groggy and it was barely light out, but Marley was up and feeling playful.  He tried to grab the bottom of my chair out from under me, he grabbed my thermos and tossed it around, and relentlessly tried chewing and nuzzling my hair.  Finally, I gave up on any more rest and we went for an early morning walk. 

The barn early in the morning

Oh!! And most importantly for his training, Marley stood like an old pro for the farrier.  Not a single hiccup from him, I was so proud.