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A CAT IN THE TRAILER.
Today, I was going to see if Gwen was fit and willing to go for a ride at the nearby training facility. Gwen is 23 and I haven’t ridden her since her huge ligament injury 5 years ago. She seems fine and eager to go, she carries a saddle and lets me sit on her. So, I thought we’d give it a try on a very easy, flat area.
I got up early to feed early so I could get going early.
Gwen was totally on board to participate in the familiar ‘pre-ride’ human behavior (getting the trailer ready, loading the hay bag, cleaning the shavings, assessing the items in my tack room, open the gate, bring horse out for grooming…) and she fell right into line, as if I rode her just last week.
Side Note: Gwen is Mama Tess’ first foal. I was there when she was born – and interestingly enough, Gwen was a ‘dummy’ foal. I was told she wouldn’t survive. She did (we did wrap her like a burrito, but with our arms. We didn’t give up on her to nurse. This was 23 years ago, before any science was done with dummy foals). Gwen has always been a very smart but an unsocial horse. The idea that dummy foal syndrome is a type of horse autism – fits her. You can read about her dummy foal history here.
Anyway, Gwen is a very solidly trained horse. I did it all myself and she is therefore perfect for me because she understand me exactly (and probably no one else since all of my quirks are part of her now). And she is short and perfectly smooth, which I love. Her sire was a government bred, old-style Morgan horse. Gwen has waaaaaay more hair than Tess did and is not as fine as Mama Tess.
FAST FORWARD… I get all ready, put Gwen in the trailer and I drive to the training facility and park.
Since Gwen is already groomed, I take her out of the trailer and walk her around so she can see the place and get acquainted. I’ve brought her here before, but that was back in the Spring, so we do a reminder loop or two.
La laaalaaa la la… I chat with the owner (CeCe) of the place and we hand walk the horses in the perfectly groomed arena where CeCe has a trail course set up (Yay!).
Laaa de dah laaa laaa, do-de-do…. We’re just having a relaxed, easy time… (I forgot my camera so I have no pics.)
Gwen is fine and settled so we walk back to the trailer to put on her saddle. I tie her up and open the tack room door.
LIKE A BULLET my cat, Floppy, darts out of the tack room and runs off! OMG. She must have gotten into the trailer tack room when I was grooming Gwen – and I didn’t notice.
Holy Crap! If she gets away, I will never find her on these 500 acres!
You should have seen me dive after her like a kid in a sheep riding race! I’d come up with a patch of hair but no cat… then I’d see her running towards a tree, get scared, hesitate, look back and I’d pounce on her again, only to have her dash between my arms.
Meanwhile, the CeCe is still chatting with me, loudly so I can hear, totally unaware, as she rides in the arena.
I’m waiting for some dog or coyote to come up and snatch Floppy right in front of my eyes…
Me: “Floppy, ho!”
I crouched really low when I saw her hesitate again. I knew she was scared but I also knew that she wanted to explore. This was a kitty in a dilemma.
She saw me on the ground and started towards me.
I bit my tongue to keep myself from flinching or jumping up too soon.
When Floppy got really close, asking for reassurance from me, I GRABBED HER.
Of course, she acted like a wild cat, which is silly for her since she has no wildcat in her – we named her “Floppy” because she is so floppy in your arms or on the ground…
I quickly thought of my options – could I still ride? Where could I put her? In the nanoseconds that I had to decide (as she is squirming in my arms and scratching my arms), I realized that the only safe place was my trailer tack room… however, if I put her back in my trailer tack room, I wouldn’t be able to open the trailer door again until I was home. Hence, no saddle. So, no ride.
I went back into the arena and told the CeCe the situation. She thought I was kidding. I told her that I just spent the last furious 5 minutes, cat catching.
Gwen went back into the trailer… and we drove home.
As soon as I parked in our regular trailer spot, I could hear Floppy crying in the tack room. I opened the door and LIKE A BULLET – LIKE A FRAZZLED AND VERY UPSET BULLET – she rocketed out of the tack room and was gone into the garage.
I bet she’ll never do that again. (And you can bet I’ll never close the trailer tack room door without checking for a Floppy.)