The Nice Local Trainer was teaching a lesson and busy, so while I had a brief thought of calling in for extra help, it was just not going to happen. I now had less than 40 minutes before my show time so I was losing precious minutes and I just couldn’t wait for anyone to help. I looked at Phoenix, looked at the trailer and just grabbed my boy knowing that no one was going to help us but ourselves. I figured that I needed a little grain as an insurance policy. I know, I know…A lot of people are very against using grain near a trailer because they feel that it causes colic. I decided that my hearty Phoenix would be fine and so grain it was. I also know that a lot of people are against bribing a horse onto a trailer. I am clearly not one of those people, especially not when trying to load by myself for the first time.
Bucket in hand I started to walk to the ramp where my lung line was waiting. I was having a hard time getting it on because my little food motivated pony was trying very hard to get to the bucket. I took a deep breath and started to march towards the trailer, determined that if I was confident that we could do this, Phoenix would be also. Low and behold Phoenix marched right up the ramp and in to the trailer without a second thought. I put the chest bar up gave Phoenix the reward of a few hard earned bites while I held the lung line and went to close up the back. The 10 steps it took me to get to the back seemed like an eternity. I was so worried Phoenix would come flying out the back at me. When I put the butt bar up I started to grin. As I closed up the rest of the back of my trailer I literally started to jump up and down!
I was so excited! I had loaded Phoenix on the trailer all by myself! As I went to clip him in to the trailer ties up front I just kept telling Phoenix how wonderful he was. Phoenix on the other hand was trying very hard to tell me how wonderful that little snack had been :P. Once Phoenix was secured, I literally ran into my truck and headed out. I was LATE. I was SCREWED. I was just praying that I would get there in enough time to even ride my test! Luckily the 15 minute drive there was mostly uneventful. I only had to pass one group of rude bicyclists (it drives me nuts that they bike 3 across at 20 mph when there is no shoulder and the speed limit is 45 mph).
I used my drive to take deep breaths and keep calm. In my head, I was still doing the happy dance from loading. I felt like if nothing else, I had already accomplished a HUGE goal. As I turned onto the road where the show was and looked at my clock I knew that there was still hope I could make my test. I decided that this was my consequence for being a poor planner and that I had to just roll with the punches. I was feeling stressed about getting him ready all by myself when I didn’t have a lot of time. In fact, if I didn’t hustle I might not make my test at all. I was trying hard to not freak out as I put my turn signal on to turn into the show grounds.
As I slowed down I saw a car coming from the other direction that was makeing the turn also. It was a car I knew. Shawn’s Mom (who had ridden to two 1st level wins earlier in the day at the show) and she had come back to help me!!!!! I was saved! I looked up to the sky as I went to park and knew that I would be okay. I could do this. And so could Phoenix. As Shawn’s Mom and her mother started walking back to the car I set to work. I was no longer frazzled. No longer worried. I was determined to at least ride my test. I could do this. I knew I could.
To Be Continued…