I didn't sleep a wink last night. I kept waking up and checking the time to see if I'd overslept. About 5am my hubby told me to just get up already. Apparently I was keeping him up as well. I went to the barn all excited with a shiny new halter in hand. It was new pony day!
Poor Kiki, her morning started out so peacefully, hanging with her favorite colt
New bike day is a thing in the cycling community. New pony day is similar but much cuter.
We grabbed Trainer Z's two horse trailer and her ancient mini pony Mr. Ben and headed off to the breeder. The trailer got stripped so it would be a box stall with Mr. Ben tied to one side. The idea is that it's small enough Kiki would have to stay on her side without the troubles of getting her into a slot. She'd also have Mr. Ben as a model of what she should do. Mostly face forward and eat hay. We pulled into the breeder's farm and she put a lead rope on Kiki. Mr. Ben was pulled out of the trailer so she'd have room without a strange pony, then we asked her to step up. It took her a minute while she touched the ramp with her front feet a couple times to check but then she walked up calmly. She got settled, we added Mr. Ben, and we hit the road. It took maybe ten minutes from parking to departure and that included the breeder handing me a coat I'd forgotten at the inspection.
I believe Kiki's thoughts could be summed up as 'What. The. HELL.'
Two hour ride back and we caught glimpses of Miss Kiki peeking out the window with hay at the corners of her mouth. All good! We arrived at the barn and there was a whole team to coordinate the transfers. First the very pregnant broodmare in the field got moved to her foaling paddock. She was delighted with this and made not a peep. The yearling left behind, Viv, made a lot of peeps and fussed dramatically while her owner held her lead rope like the string of a kite. Then we unloaded Mr. Ben, then Kiki. Kiki stepped down very daintily and followed Trainer Z with an absolutely shocked expression on her face. What was this place? What happened? Who was that very noisy liver chestnut?
She repeats. What. The. HELL.
The girls were turned loose and folks stepped back for the fireworks. Except there were very few. Viv yelled for a broodmare that was ready for peace and didn't respond. Kiki stood transfixed, staring at the pine chip footing in the paddock. She quickly decided that Viv clearly knew what was going on and started following her. Viv is a bit of a dominant brat and was in a state so she wasn't very receptive. Kiki quickly learned to follow at a respectful distance. After ten minutes, Viv was starting to figure out that her friend wasn't coming back. By thirty minutes, she was more interested in what the deal was with the strange filly.
Future best friends? We certainly hope so.
I made a run to Tractor Supply and by the time I got back, they were both working on the round bale in their field. Not exactly friendly as they kept it between them but friendly enough to enjoy mutual grazing time.
I went into the field once it was clear the girls were done with their settling in drama. Kiki was, understandably, very skittish. She'd been thrown in a metal box with strangers, taken to a strange place, then put in a field with a strange filly that was not at all as friendly as the colts she'd left behind. I stood by the round bale pretending to graze and after about two minutes, she was joining me. Once I convinced her that I wasn't going to take her anywhere or do anything weird, she was happy for skritches. She's shedding like crazy and is one itchy baby.
I spent about ten minutes giving her attention (and explaining to Viv that I'm a grumpy old broodmare and my space is sacrosanct) before heading out so they could finish settling after a very big day. They'll spend the rest of the week just existing, getting used to each other, and for Kiki learning the new routine. This weekend they'll get adult supervision in the form of an older broodmare that isn't in foal. By summer when the fields are ready, they'll be joined by the other broodmares to make a nice little herd. It should be a great way to grow up with a mix of ages and temperaments.