Friday, November 4, 2011

Suki's Arrival

I spoke to the shippers on the final layover in Ontario. Due to the heat of summer they would travel in the late night, arriving in Unionville, PA around 11 AM the next day. Suki had travelled very well, they told me, and that I would be really pleased with her condition.

That night, I barely slept, planning my arrival at the barn for 10 AM. Michael and my friend Beth accompanied me. When I arrived at the farm, one of the boarders said "Hey Fran, have you seen your new girl?"
"Suki is here already?!" "She wasn't expected until 11?" I ran to the upper barn to see her...or "sprinted like a jack rabbit" according to Beth. I walked up to the stall and Suki nickered to me. It was love at first sight (for both of us)! When I entered her stall she nuzzled me and I hugged my VERY TALL girl. At age 3, she was already nearing 17 hands!

Because the driveway into the farm is narrow and curved, the tractor trailer was not able to drive in. Suki was unloaded at the bottom of the driveway on a quiet country road and led up the hill to the farm. They said she was looking around but was very quiet during her walk. Even when I took her out of the stall that day, she was tired but grazed quietly. And the shipper was right: her condition was amazing. Suki appeared to be in good weight, and not dehydrated. We would monitor her temperature and look for any signs of "shipping fever" for the next week. But of course, hardy girl that she is, Suki remained in perfect health.

I feel like we bonded instantly. Suki trusted me completely and didn't seem to mind when I put a sheet on her for the first time, attached her to cross ties, etc. The first time we set her out in the pasture, Suki was led around the perimeter so that she could see where the fence line was. It was a quiet walk. When she was let loose she walked and trotted a bit then quietly grazed.

Giving her some time to recover from her trip, I started to work her in the round pen to get ready for my first ride. For about 2 weeks I lunged Suki in the round pen, first without a saddle, then in full tack. She was delightful! Beautiful floaty gaits and sweet personality.

Michael helped me the first day that I sat on Suki. Now, my husband really doesn't have any horse experience other than holding horses for me at shows, carrying supplies and driving the trailer. But he is a REALY good sport. In fact, he was the first person to lay across the back of my first dressage horse, Jenny, when I started her under saddle! I brought Suki into the round pen and used the lunge line just in case.... I can remember that first was pure heaven. Light and floating! I felt like I had been waiting for that feeling my whole life!

After a few weeks in the round pen without the lunge line we went into the indoor for the first time. Sometimes horses are startled by the mirrors the first time they see them so M, one of the trainers told me to just bring her in and hand walk her. This way she could just look at everything without a rider. Suki was not fazed by the mirrors at all. In fact, she was so quiet, that M said "I think you should just get on. Follow one of the other horses around since she doesn't have any stearing yet." Once again, Suki was a star! We walked around the indoor for awhile, practiced some stearing, and rewarded Suki with pats, hugs and treats!

Tomorrow: Seeing Suki for the first time after the fire

Suki was a bit restless again yesterday. She remains obsessed by the ponies in the field across from her. Eventually she settled down and I was able to groom, exfoliate and check the skin graft area. It looks great! The right side of her neck which does not have a full thickness of hair on it seems to be getting a bit dry again, even with daily moisturizing. I will start to use the Aardora ointment to see if that helps. Otherwise we will switch to Elta again for the winter.

This morning, of course Suki was happy to see me. Everything was in order, and I am sure that by now she is outside enjoying the sunshine. She was out with Mosby yesterday....I think Chester is terrified of her!

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