Monday, May 16, 2011

Meet Maverick

On Friday Anna, Isaac and I woke up WAY too early to go to Scott's house so we could ride with him to Elm Creek, Nebraska and pick up our mustang. We left our house just after 5am. For two people who are nowhere near "morning people"...that was a feat in and of itself! Anna was still sleeping. In fact, when I put her in the van, she snuggled up to her pillow and said, "Good night Mom." She slept for about 20 minutes, then realized that she was in the van and we were heading to get the horse. Then there was no more sleep for that little cowgirl!

For a little girl who hates mornings, she was awfully chipper for 6am!!! It was FREEZING that morning and since Anna was still asleep and wrapped in a blanket when we left home, I forgot to grab her jacket. In all honesty, we could have used our winter coats!! We got to Scott's and moved our stuff (car seats and bags) over to Scott's pickup. And then began the long trip to Nebraska. It's about 3 hours up there, I think. Scott & I both were running on too little sleep so it was an even longer trip! And Little Miss Cowgirl didn't sleep the entire trip!! She had trouble falling asleep the night before because she was so excited. She even cleaned her room instead of sleeping!! Couldn't be too mad at her for that! Anyway, we made it to the holding facility around 10am. It took about 15 minutes for Scott to get the paperwork together and then we backed up the trailer and waited for them to get #81 up the alley and into the loading chute. Anna and I stood up on the walkway to watch. They told us as soon as he got close, we needed to duck down so he wouldn't see us and run the other way. I could see him down the alley and he was prancing around, frantic and not wanting to come down the alley. He would run down a few yards and then turn back. Pretty soon he just took off. I couldn't see him anymore, but the guy down with him said he jumped the 7 FOOT FENCE!! It took them a while to get him back to the alley and he wasn't very happy! They got him into the loading chute and he gave them a hard time trying to get the halter on him.

I think Anna was a little overwhelmed by the whole deal. But she was incredibly excited! And freezing!

This is how she spent most of the trip home...watching her horse! He let us know just how unhappy he was to be in the trailer, too! He put a few more dents in Scott's trailer. But after Scott hit the brakes and jostled him around a bit, he quit doing that! Show him who's boss, right Dad? :)

This little guy did really good considering that he was in his car seat for 6+ hours!

This little girl is one happy cowgirl!

We had to make a stop at Orcheln' Anna picked out a new halter and lead rope for her horse! :)

She FINALLY crashed, head buried under her pillow. But only for about 30 minutes.

For a horse that was so crazy when we loaded him, he was so very calm when we unloaded him at Scott's. When we left, Scott was spraying down the pen so the dirt wouldn't blow so much. He called me before we got 5 miles and said "We picked the right horse. He's really smart." Scott said that this wild Mustang (who has only been in captivity for 9 months, gelded for 5 months) simply stood there, relaxed, eating hay while he sprayed. Scott has had 3 of these Mustangs and he said they usually take a couple days to start eating. Ours started eating right away. We're a little upset because he is much scrawnier than the video clip we saw to buy him. Almost as if they quit feeding him good feed/enough feed when he was bought! You can see his ribs through his winter coat!! Definitely wasn't the case in the video. But we can fatten him back up.

So today (Monday), Anna's class had a field trip to the Great Bend zoo. The boys and I loaded up and joined them! And of course, then we made a trip to The Ranch to see our horse (who was still unnamed!) Scott was doing some therapy when we arrived, so we went in the house and visited with Amy. His next session cancelled, so Anna & I got to go see the horse. I didn't expect to go into the pen with him. After all, he's a wild Mustang! We've only had him for 4 days! But Scott hollered, "Anna! Go on in there with him!" She was a bit nervous at first and stayed right by the gate. Scott came in and we went and stood in the middle. The horse ran around while Scott tried to pick up the lead rope. He finally got it. He gave us a little training in horse training. :) He had Anna hold the lead rope as well and started walking toward the horse's hind end. Scott told us that as soon as the horse takes a step toward you, slack the rope. But keep the rope tight until he does that. That starts teaching the horse how to be lead. So we did that a few times, then Scott backed off and let Anna have the rope. She and I held our arms out and slowly walked toward the horse. We got a few steps and I asked Anna what we were going to name him. She had suggested Champ long ago. She wrote a note to Papa and Binga and asked them what they thought. They emailed and suggested several names, one of which was Maverick. She and Daddy liked that one. I wasn't so sure. But as we stood in that pen with him, it fit. So we named him Maverick! :)

I am SO PROUD of Anna! She was really nervous. Goodness gracious, who wouldn't be?! It's a wild horse and she's an itty bitty kid! But Scott is 100% right...there's something about little kids that horses trust pretty quickly. I've never seen anything like it. Maverick was completely relaxed as Anna inched her way closer. He never once laid his ears back, showed aggression, or really move away from her. She got within a few yards of him and didn't want to go any closer. I moved a little closer behind her and Scott handed her some hay and then she started going closer on her own. She got within TWELVE INCHES of him!!! He was so close to eating that hay from her hand! So close!!!!! And Anna would have stayed even longer, trying, but her arm got tired. We were out there for probably 20 minutes. I am just floored that happened. When we got into the house, my hands were shaking! Adrenaline! It was so amazing. Scott and I both feel like Maverick is definitely a horse we will be able to keep for Anna (and Jacob and me :)). I am really excited about this whole experience and what it will teach Anna. After we got done with Maverick, she sat and watched Scott train another horse for another 30 minutes. I'm pretty sure she would live there if I let her!! I can't describe what it means to me, seeing my daughter around horses and the natural love and ease she has with horses.

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