Winter is pretty damn long when you've got a greenie you're dying to ride but you're waiting to send him away to a pro. Is that a bizarrely specific reason? Yes, but I doubt I'm the only one.
I hopped on once, and he was like riding a noodle. What's leg? Going straight? Nah, bro. Oh, look! The neighbor put dogs out! We should watch them for a while! A was our designated 911-caller, but we got lucky and didn't need it. I loved every minute of it, but I am wholly unequipped to start a baby from scratch, so we spent our winter hanging out and getting to know each other. Oh, and watching his stitches heal. He cut open his coronet. How? I don't know. He's that kind of horse.
The closer we got to leaving, the more excited I got. I made a full binder with all his records and quirks, which was a little overkill, but we've already established me as a maniac. He got a box of gear to go up with him and they used exactly 0% of it, even no bell boots, which was amazing because he's a shoe-removing superstar. (Apparently hot shoeing does the trick for him.) And he got a bath, which he hated and would like to never happen again, thankyouverymuch.
Shiny and gorgeous and dappled, A and I loaded him up to go over to H's farm. Another great friend of mine, P, boards there and she volunteered to drive since Vermont is far and A had to work. However, Java decided that day was the day he was going to hate trailers forever. He was absolute hell on it, trying to kill himself, turning, kicking at stop lights, hopping. And he flew off of it when we got there, stomped the shit out of my foot, ran around like a lunatic in his field, and spend the rest of the time anyone was near his stall screaming his head off.
We were off to a great start.
Apparently P's trailer is heaven, though, because he pretended the previous day was a dream and got on like a gentleman and traveled beautifully. We stopped twice on the way up for gas and to water him, and while he didn't drink or eat any grain, he was happy to eat hay from the manger.
Wilson did the majority of the training, along with a woman that does the riding portion. I don't think he cared at all that he was somewhere new; he got off the trailer and settled into his stall like he owned the joint. I was, weirdly, super relieved. Finally, I didn't have to worry. He was with people I knew and trusted to make the best decisions for him.
For 8 weeks, Java worked on getting his clothes on, longing, long lining, poles, riding in the ring, and going on trail. Generally, Wilson drove one of his horses beside Java while they were out, so he got to see all the riding and Java got to learn about carriages. I visited twice to ride and see how he was doing, and at the end of the 8 weeks, P and I loaded him up and brought him home. I wish I knew then that things weren't going to be going quite as perfectly as they seemed.