Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Journey

It has been a long wait, but Rhio is finally here in Colorado with me.  This is the story of our travels, with bottom-of-the-heart thanks to my friend D. (who is feeding, loving, and riding Red for me this year) for all her generosity of time and energy in getting us along the first leg of our journey.  We began on Tuesday August 13, when D. picked Rhio up at his boarding barn (by herself, as I was seeing patients) and brought him back to her place for a sleepover.  He and Red shared the paddock for the night, and seemed quite happy and content to be together.  Late that night, I joined her family for the night, and the next morning we were up early to head to the Twin Cities. 

Rhio and Red sharing breakfast.
Rhio traveled alone quite calmly, as usual.  We arrived at a boarding facility in Shakopee (Pine Ridge Stables), where Rhio had a cool and shady box stall for the overnight.  It was fun to have the barn girls ooh and aah over his Arab cuteness.  That afternoon, we met M. and her Arab gelding Ring (a.k.a. "Stinkers"), who would be our companions for the two day trip.  We fussed with the trailer, talked about our boys and general horse stuff, and basically became immediate horse friends.

I had the good fortune to overnight with C., a good horse/endurance friend, and we made a trek to Fleet Farm (whoop! whoop!) and Rhio got a new hay bag (I "only" own about 4 hay bags currently, but I couldn't find a single one of them for the trip!).  After a good night's sleep, we were off for the barn in the pre-dawn darkness.  Rhio won't eat hay in the trailer while it's moving, so I like to get a big, wet beet pulp mash into him before we head off.  Also, I put him on a preventative ulcer medication for the whole trip, and definitely noticed a difference in his appetite.  Yay for a happy tummy!
Ready to roll.
We were hitched up, loaded, and ready to roll right around our target departure time.  We headed south, with Lincoln, Nebraska as our destination for the first day of travel.  The horses traveled great; Rhio's presence really helped Ring be settled and calm in the trailer.  I only wish Ring's awesome trailer appetite would have rubbed off on Rhio.  We arrived in Lincoln by early afternoon, pulling into a massive equine facility called the Lancaster Event Center.  There were no other horses there on a Thursday night, and we rented 3 stalls (2 for the horses and 1 for us.)  We had a small warm-up type arena in our barn so the horses could have a good roll and some freedom for a bit.  By this point, Rhio had been in a stall or a trailer for two days straight.  After feeding ourselves (found a pizza place that delivered to the Event Center), we took the horses for a nice leisurely stroll behind the building, finding plenty of fresh grass for grazing.  Rhio especially relished the flowering purple clover he

We went to bed early, on our partially-inflated air mattress (it worked well as long as we were both laying on it - if one of us got up, the other sank down to the ground as all the air migrated to the non-occupied side), listening to the horses munch their hay.  Rhio was relaxed enough  to lay down to snooze (a very good sign with him - he loves to lounge around) - there was only a stiff canvas type panel separating our prone selves from him.  Talk about bonding with your pony! 
Rhio in his stall at the event center. I had to put his hay bag in the back right corner so he could look out the door.
M. and Ring enjoy the lush grass in Lincoln, NE. (Eat up, ponies! The grass in Colorado isn't nearly this green.)
We hit snooze once in the morning, fed the horses, cleaned stalls, and were on the road again a bit later than we had hoped.  Both horses loaded back into the trailer without fuss; isn't it amazing how willingly a prey/flight animal will climb into a tiny box when we ask them to?  Thursday had been cool and cloudy for the whole trip - great trailering weather - but Friday's forecast had us hitting sunshine and mid-80s part way across Nebraska.  We stopped a few extra times on this leg, checking the boys, who were traveling like old pros.  By late afternoon, M. was dropping us off at the neighbor's place across the road from my house. 

Rhio ate some beet pulp, took a big long drink from the stock tank, and trotted off across his new huge 16 acre pasture to meet his new friends.  They weren't quite so excited to meet him; I think he spooked them, actually, and they all took off galloping.  Rhio clearly thought a nice run was fun, and quickly took the lead with his tail flying in the air.  The five resident horses kept to themselves, and Rhio was only allowed to graze within about 30 feet of them, but everyone settled down quickly without any outward jostling for hierarchy position. 
Turned out in the pasture for the first time.
Later that evening, on our dog walk along the bike path, which parallels the front of the pasture, we could see Rhio's gleaming white coat across the grassy expanse.  It sure does my heart good to see him, smell him, touch him, and feed him every day! 
Rhio's new buddy.
It took only three days for one of the horses to buddy up with Rhio.  He is still not fully integrated into the herd, but I'm thrilled to see him beginning to mingle. 

Coming soon...the story of our first ride in Colorado!
Rhio says, "Hey...watcha' lookin' at?"


  1. I board my horse in Golden. Where are you at? Rhio is gorgeous. Gotta love grey arabians. eh?!

  2. Hi Karen - Thanks, I think he's pretty handsome :) The funny thing is that grey was the last color I would have picked (filthy all the time!) but his personality won over his color. He hates to be clean, so it's a good thing he does endurance and doesn't have to get prettied up for the show ring! We're in Laporte, just northwest of Fort Collins.