Saturday, March 24, 2012

Marley and Family in California

Yeah I know.  Old news.  Moving was way too much work, and once again, the blog was put on hold.  But here we are, in the California sunshine (even though I'm pretty sure it is supposed to be rainy, but hey we'll take it!) while there is a blizzard in Colorado.

Our Rig!  From Colorado to California.... Here we come!

It was quite the trip, and Marley sure is glad to be settled in to his new home.  It all started when only a few short days before our move, Marley suddenly decided that his hind feet didn't belong in the trailer.  He wouldn't get worked up, he wouldn't kick or stomp, he just simply stood there with his front end in the trailer and his rear end out of it.  Believe me, when I say he was stuck, he was truly stuck.  No amount of coaxing, pressure, or ANYTHING would get him to pick up his hind feet.  At this point, I hated our little straight load trailer, because I couldn't move him in any direction to get his feet off the ground.  Finally, almost jokingly Mike closed the door on Marley's butt (which was still hanging outside of the trailer.  Marley calmly picked up both feet, placed himself in the trailer and acted as if he were saying "Oh, you wanted all four feet in?  Why didn't you say so?".  After 4 hours of trailer loading, this was all it took, and he hasn't had a problem since. 

Even still, the morning of our move we didn't want to take any chances that Marley wouldn't load, and we had arranged to stay in Winnemucca, Nevada overnight so we were on a bit of a schedule.  Mike and I got to the barn at 4:00 AM, loaded up Marley's belongings, and loaded him in the dark.  Marley was really good and got right in the trailer, and we were thrilled that it looked like our journey would be hassle free.  I know, I know.... start laughing now.

Marley loaded up and ready to go
"Are we there yet?"
We headed home to say goodbye to my family and then Mike and I and his parents (they flew out from California to drive our Camry and help with the move) hit the road early.  We checked the weather before leaving and didn't see any signs of snow or rain, so we took that as a good sign and expected nothing but smooth sailing.  Enter Wyoming.

A wrecked semi and treacherous conditions in WY
I've never had anything against Wyoming.  In fact, most times I've visited the state, I've enjoyed the wide open beauty and untouched landscapes, as it is truly Americas last frontier.  On this particular day however and only three hours in to our drive, Wyoming sucked.  I mean it was really truly horrible... Hell on earth to be exact.  As we headed out of Laramie, the already strong winds turned into 60 MPH + crosswind.  While it wasn't snowing in Wyoming, there was snow on the ground, and with winds like that it was blowing across the road and creating white out conditions.  At this point, there was no where to pull over and when we stopped it was actually worse, the wind was literally blowing us (specifically the trailer) across the ice and onto the shoulder of the road.  I know we may be young, but I've been driving a trailer before I was legal to drive one.  I've driven across the US with only my horses and dogs as company, and I've never been afraid or doubted whether I should be driving in any conditions I've encountered.  Today though, I seriously was terrified.  Mike has never driven a trailer before, so I had planned to drive the entire way as it was.  Now, with such a strong cross wind. I had the wheel turned at 15 degrees just to continue driving in a relatively straight line.  The worst part is that it seemed never ending, we rarely drove over 15 MPH and never got over 30 through the entire state of Wyoming.  I still believe the only reason we aren't still there is because some truckers (who may as well have been angels) took pity on us and formed a barrier around us, driving on our side and directly in front and behind us to block the wind.  If you're out there truckers, THANK YOU!

Stopping for a break
Driving into Utah
In any case, Utah has never looked so beautiful as we crossed the border sometime around sunset.  The winds had died and the mountains seemed like nothing compared to what Wyoming had dealt us.  The only problem was that we had only just crossed into Utah and we were supposed to be pulling into Winnemucca in only an hour and half.  We were in for a really long night.

Finally, at 2:30 AM, after 21 or so hours of driving, we unloaded Marley at the fairgrounds in Winnemucca, let him roll in the arena, and then because I was worried about putting him away after such a long trip we went on a walk.  Other than being tired, he looked great.  He was alert, drank water, his legs were all fine and he was eating without a problem.  At 3:30 AM, it was finally time for bed.

Start day 2 of our drive.  We left a bit later than we had planned originally because none of us could bring ourselves to get back into the car.  I let Marley run around the arena a bit to get some bucks out and stretch his legs, and despite being stuck in the trailer for almost twice has long as we had expected on the first day, he was in good spirits.  When it was time to load him up, he got right in and off we went, finally California bound.

The second day of driving was a breeze.  Most of it was downhill, the weather was beautiful, and we only had to stop once for a bite to eat and short bathroom break.  At 4:30, just before sunset, we pulled into the barn at the base of the Briones open space hills and had Marley settled in before dark.

Oh yeah, and just in time to celebrate Mike's birthday!

Since arriving in California, Marley has been doing exceptionally well.  He lives in a pasture with a shelter and has a pasture mate named Legend.  We take him on hikes, or rides, through the open space a couple times a week, and we are even taking lessons!  I found a trainer here who I'm really excited to be working with, and our dressage is improving and we're both getting back into shape.

Beautiful Views
Hiking with the Fam in California

A couple weeks ago, I took Marley to school cross country with the trainer I'm working with and we had an absolute blast.  Marley did ditches, water, banks, jumps, all without issue.  We were even able to gallop over a few good size logs in an even rhythm and Marley was jumping well.  I had this great idea to attach one of those GoPro video cameras to my helmet for "Marley Cam" so you could all see how we were doing on course, unfortunately I forgot to dump the old photos and videos off the SD card because it filled up before we even started trotting.  Oh well, please enjoy the view and Marley's cute ears and fuzzy forelock.  I'll get some cool video next time.  :)