Around 2:15 PM we were back with then, Jean-Luc in tow. He unloaded well, and frankly, for having no expectations of anything, I am happy to report he exceeded all of them! He even backed off the trailer, on his tippy toes, but still – he backed off.
I walked one very excited Jean-Luc over to the paddock that was prepared for him and basically turned him lose. Talk about lack of excitement. The horses in the field didn’t even bother to come meet the poor boy for nearly twenty minutes. Honestly, this lackadaisical reaction by the herd is exactly what I was hoping for. In my line of work, I often here the phrase, “less is more.” I am learning the phrase absolutely applies when working with horses as well.
For the rest of the day I watched Jean-Luc walk around the paddock from the comfort of my folding chair. The weather was cold, rainy, and overall terrible, but I just could not leave him. His introduction to the herd was as important for me as it was for him. My head once again became full of questions. Will they like him? Who will boss him around? Sure, he won’t try to become leader of this herd?
Our day was simply filled with each other’s company. I made no excuse to dote on him and show a little extra love, because I understood this week was going to be pretty traumatic for him. Finally, around 7 PM Sunday night I packed up and said my goodbyes. It was honestly hard to leave. My brand new 1200 lb. fur baby chased my car and squealed at me from the road. I paused only long enough to feel guilty for leaving, and drove off praying he would be okay through the night.
If I haven’t already mentioned it, this horses’ prior owner let him get away with murder and definitely spoiled him. Over the past few days I find myself wrestling quite a bit with the idea of making the horse comfortable and doing what I know to be right. In some ways, I assume this is same guilt any parent feels when reprimanding their child’s adorable antics? You never want to make them uncomfortable, however, you what you’re asking is best for them.
The following day went much better. According to Diana, the woman who owns the place Jean-Luc is staying, he finally calmed down around 9 PM. The next morning I received a report that he was continuing to act pretty chill, he just really wanted to visit with the herd.
By the time my friend, trainer, photographer, and all around she-woman arrived, he was less pleased.
“You may want to consider letting him out today,” she said. “He’s squealing and acting a’fool.”
I agreed with her and sped to the bard as soon as could after work. Sure enough I found my horse’s head perched prominently over the gate, looking wistfully at the rest of the herd. He desperately wanted to meet them, however Liz, Diana and I all felt it might be best to tie him up in the barn for a bit while I groomed him. Liz put her best boy, and the herd’s all-around welcome wagon, Griffin in the barn in an effort to help keep Jean-Luc calm.
After pulling into the barn and parking I met another friend of Liz’s, paid for Jean-Luc’s board, and at Diana’s suggestion, went to the barn to grab a halter and bring my horse inside. Calm is not at all the adjective I would use to describe him yesterday. In fact, “act a’fool” was pretty accurate. Although, he was an easy catch, since he desperately wanted out of that paddock.
The walk from the paddock to the barn was less than smooth. He kept bobbing his head, stress eating and trying to get as close as possible. I hate when horses assert themselves like that over a person, unfortunately I wasn’t sure what to do about it. I ready where you need to stop, and make the horse back up, do a circle, do whatever you need to gain control again. I tried some, but unfortunately gave up too quick. I just wanted him in the barn. I knew I wouldn’t accomplish much with him until he met the others.
I began grooming him as he waddled around. This is absolutely one of those moments I believe ever new horse owner has. It isn’t quite “buyer’s remorse”, but it is an overwhelming feeling of, “What the heck have got myself into?!”
A short while later my dad came back. Him being there meant a lot to me considering the fact that, out of nowhere, he actually helped contribute to nearly half the price I paid for Jean-Luc. (See _____ story for more on that). Dad’s financial help meant there were a lot of things I just didn’t need to worry about as much now. I was excited to see what he thought of my new boy – of course he too was in love.
“Man!” I remember him exclaiming. “That’s one pretty horse!”
Happy that my dad thought I spent his help well, it was finally time to let Jean-Luc meet the herd. The farm has about four different gates into the fields where the horses are kept. The one closest to the barn seemed to be appropriate since the herd was pretty far away and Jean-Luc had the space he would need to not feel trapped.
Together Liz, Dee, my dad, and I opened the door and freed Jean-Luc into the fields with great anticipation. He was off! He ran to his new herd members and kicking out little bucks of joy. It was only after watching him run around that I realized, this is biggest patch of land he’s ever been on in a while. It has to have been some time since he was able to really run around with so many other horses and just - be a horse.
Jean-Luc’s previous owner took amazing care of him. She loved him like a child. I would never want to confuse anyone to think that he was anything but loved. That said, he had spent the last several years just trail riding and living with one other horse. His previous owner knew he was meant for more potential, and thus made the difficult decision I will forever be grateful for.
Oliver is very handsome brown horse. He is also the herd leader at the farm. Jean-Luc learned this quickly. Though, we witnessed no real fights initially, it was clear Jean-Luc would need time to discover his place among the herd of eleven.
Overall, the rest of the evening went on with little no drama. Dad and I stood watching the sun go down over the fields for at least another twenty minutes or so. Eventually, he and the others had places to be. I stayed a little while long just watching my new many graze on fresh grass in his new home, and hoped he would be alright.
I remember feeling like that over protective parent when I seriously considered what it would cost to outfit the farm with Wi-Fi and rig up one a pet monitoring camera. I desperately wanted to watch overall him all night, but I knew this is something he would just have to do on his own, and so I left. Meanwhile, our great adventure together had just begun.
My name is Chelsey.
Generator's Cuevo Gold, or as he's known around this barn, "Jean-Luc Ponycard", was foaled in 2004 from Generator's Hurricane & Cheyenne's Little Bit.