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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

As the herd leader; so goes the herd..........

We were traveling home to New Jersey from Tennessee on Friday night.  The rain held off since about noon but now it was dark, around 9:30 PM.  We had been traveling with the horses since 9:30 that morning.  Our overnight stabling place was just a half mile off highway 81 which made me very happy.  There is nothing fun about traversing the Virginia country side in the dark with a thirty foot horse trailer after ten hours on the road. We found the place just where the directions told us it would be.

The woman who answered the phone when we made the arrangements suggested we choose stalls instead of the paddock because there were severe storms predicted for the overnight hours and there are no outside shelters.  So we agreed.  These were the storms that devastated North Carolina over the weekend, so they were right. The stalls were 12x12 and in the large indoor arena.  We were able to have a bit of a play with the horses when we got there.

So many things to be grateful for, but I was miserable. I hate box stalls with three solid walls and no way for the horses to hang out the front to see other horses.  I felt like I was putting my horses in jail cells and slamming the doors closed! Valentine was running laps in her stall, kicking the walls and Sterling was crying out loud. I didn't want this experience for my young colt, I wanted him to be happy and feel safe.   My friend's horse was fine, quiet, eating.  My friend was reminiscing about her show days and her time at the horse center nearby where she went to school.  She offered me some Rescue Remedy for my horses, I took a big swig.  I couldn't get  near either of them with it.  I was so annoyed that I just gave up and leaned on Valentines stall cage while she paced.

In a moment or two, I was tired and just being there and I felt Valentine's nose pushed hard against the cage breathing in my hair, deep breaths.  It was so comforting that I didn't even notice that she left me until I heard her munching on hay.  Sterling was quiet ~ all was quiet.

My friend asked if it was ok if she went and turned off the lights. I was immediately annoyed again and said something sharply about the lights and like synchronicity,  Sterling started Crying and Valentine pacing.  Then I realized, the only problem was me!  My herd was going the way I was going and clearly they didn't like the way I was going, considering how hard Valentine was smelling my hair.  After this startling revelation; now around midnight,  I was able to be quiet again and then go out to my camper to sleep.  Sterling called some, but in the morning, every blade of Valentine's hay was gone, no sign of trampled hay or spilled water.  I was grateful that she managed to get herself together and eat and drink, Sterling did the same.

Traveling to and from Tennessee April 2011
In the end, I still don't like those kinds of stalls, but if I could just get my mind right about them, everyone would benefit! 


  1. So true! I remember Linda Parelli's story about letting Remmer roam the fairgrounds barn aisle because he hated being locked up :-)

    Petra Christensen
    Parelli 2Star Junior Instructor
    Parelli Central

  2. MaryAnn,
    As usual, I learn so much from your posts. Thanks for sharing.


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