I’m trying my best not to nod off as I sit here typing this on Monday evening. I’m tired. It’s been a long few days. My latest blog post was last Thursday, when we bought the new mare, and a lot has happened since then so… let’s catch up.
Hillary and I spent basically all of Thursday looking at our shipping options for the mare. Preferably something within the next couple days, because the trainer’s barn was full and they needed stalls ASAP. Our options were either to pick her up by Sunday, or they could send her out to the farm outside of the city and then she could be picked up from there within another week or so. I didn’t really want to have to move her out to the farm, so we were trying to find someone that could pick her up soon, get her here fairly direct without a lot of stops so she didn’t have to spend a ton of extra time in the trailer, and had a suitable/safe rig. And, uh, wasn’t too expensive.
Most of the quotes we got were either a) from sketchy people b) not a suitable rig c) would take at least 24 hours to make a 7 hour trip d) hella expensive. Not saying that good haulers aren’t absolutely worth what they charge – they definitely are – but we personally couldn’t justify $2+ a mile when realistically she was within an almost reasonable driving distance of us. And all the best shipping companies couldn’t get her for at least a week anyway. So we started shuffling around our weekend plans and trying to make things come together, and finally worked out that we would leave Saturday, drive to New Orleans, stay the night with former blogger Alyssa (yay for blog friends), then get the mare Sunday morning and drive straight home so we could get her unloaded and settled before it got dark. Last minute 36 hour NOLA trip… why not?
Other than being a very boring and horribly bumpy ride (anyone who has driven I-10 across Louisiana knows the full scope of the misery) it was pretty uneventful. We’d decided to bring my trailer with Hillary’s truck, rather than trying to bring her bigger trailer, which turned out to be a good decision for navigating through the city streets and parking at Alyssa’s house. Hillary’s trailer def would not have fit. Plus those NOLA potholes would have taken out the tanks on her living quarters for sure… pretty sure you could fit a full size alligator in some of those things.
Anyway, we got there, got parked, and headed out to do a little sightseeing with Alyssa. I spent a chunk of my childhood in NOLA and have been back a couple times as an adult, but Hillary never had, so we figured she should for sure see some of the French Quarter while she was there. May as well get some culture in. Plus we were on a mission to find some king cake (I’ll be honest, at least 40% of the appeal of making the trip ourselves was so I could get a real king cake and not the sad grocery store wannabe shit they sell here that is basically french bread with sugar on top and sometimes pineapple jam filling. If you’ve ever had REAL king cake, it’s an abomination.).
We found some dinner, walked around a bit, went into some touristy gift shops and Madam Leveau’s, walked around with a daquiri taking in all of that weird AF (in a good way) NOLA essence, went and got a king cake, then went back home and were in bed before 10. That’s the old people way to do it. 10/10 would recommend. I’d only gotten about 4 hours sleep the night before so I passed out pretty quick (and then proceeded to have a repeating dream where we all woke up at 7:48 and therefore were very late for our 8am appt at the track… anyone else have anxiety dreams about lateness all the time? I’m never late. Probably because I can’t ever sleep because I’m too busy having dreams about being late.)
Indeed we actually got to the track a bit early and waited outside the entrance until the training break at 8. Then we drove down to the barn and got to go meet our mare! Who… was in the middle of her breakfast and therefore had zero interest in saying hello to us. It was a very mare greeting. More like a “for gods sake, WHAT?” than a “hello”. We got to walk around and look at several of their other horses too, and may or may not have called dibs on a couple of them when they retire. I don’t think I can be friends with racetrack people, it’s got bad idea written all over it.
After that we grabbed her papers, loaded her up, and away we went, back towards Texas. She walked right into the trailer, which was great, sometimes the racehorses are confused by a 2 horse straight load when they usually ride in big slants or vans. She seemed very sweet and willing though. Nervous, but she settled and ate her hay. We were able to make it all the way back only having to stop once, so we made pretty good time even though we hit some rain when we drove through the cold front. Poor girl, it was hot and humid when we loaded her up in NOLA and she got to Texas and it was cold and windy. Gotta love that when you’ve just hauled any horse all day, much less a young one that quite literally just came off the track. She wasn’t interested in drinking when we stopped but she did drink quite a bit when she got in the barn, and I’ve been soaking all her meals.
For now she’s in the double stall, since she can’t go into regular turnout for a little while yet. We’re trying to coordinate a weekend where we can shuffle her up to Michelle’s place, I think she’ll be happier resting for a couple months up there. Michelle has small pens with sheds, and there are plenty of horse friends in close proximity all the time for company. For now though she seems fairly content in her double stall. Bored, definitely, and not particularly happy to be inside when the others get to go outside, but she’s handling it pretty well all things considered. We’ll get to know her and play with her a little before she goes up to Michelle’s.
She’s still being a tad shy, but from what I’ve seen so far she seems smart and sweet. A little bit worried if you come at her too quickly, but we can work on that. And even when she’s worried, she’s never overreactive or belligerent about it, which I like. She’s starting to show a little bit of goofiness too now that she’s settling in, which of course I also quite like. Wouldn’t be a horse of mine if it wasn’t a little weird.
As for her name, I think we’ve settled on Gemma for a multitude of reasons. We had it down to Cora, Etta, or Gemma, and Gemma just really seems to fit her the most. Her name before was Emily, and Gemma sort of sounds similar. Really though Gemma is short for Geminio, the Harry Potter doubling spell. That has lots of meaning behind it for us. 1) she’s the second $900 facebook pony, so the doubling spell makes sense. 2) I already have one horse with a magic theme name 3) Hillary’s last OTTB also had a Harry Potter name. Plus I’ll be honest, 4) I really like the name Gemma as a nod to Gemma Tattersall. Anyone who wins a 5* wearing a lavender pompom helmet cover is a fucking queen in my book (and I’m pretty sure it automatically makes her President of Pom Club). To round it all out, 5) the mare has two forehead whirls, and she def does have two different sides to her (if you’re another horse and you want to come near her while she’s eating, she has some hellacious angry mare ears). She’s sweet, but I can also tell she’s gonna have some red mare opinions too. All of that stuff makes the name choice pretty indisputable I think.
So welcome home Gemma, we hope you love your new life. Today is her 5th birthday so we’ve got to find a way to celebrate!