Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Dixie's Arrival

(from GRS Blog)

Was supposed to pick up GRS' new school horse in Campbellville around 4:45 today.

That was all that was on my list. No problem right?

Ok well remember that it's negative stupid degrees out.

I get in my frozen car and realize at some point that evening I'm going to be picking up a horse. It's still likely to be cold. Horse will need blankets. Leave frozen car go back into warm house and dig out one of the blankets bought for the Invisible Horse (who followed the Invisible Pony in the shopping expeditions :).

Alright, all set. Off to work.

At some point I realize that my 2:00 meeting is on the E side of Toronto. hmmmm tricky. So I bump picking horse up till 5. All good. Right. Any of you who live in TO will realize that would require a Christmas Miracle. But hey, tis the season and all that.

So I leave the meeting at 3 and it's snowing. It's Canada. Yet somehow it's still impossible to drive in the snow. Esp at rush hour (I usually leave the W end of TO at 3 where traffic's just starting to build, but starts earlier on the other side of town...) So inch by inch I roll along Lakeshore and the Gardner.

Now I have to stop at the bank to pick up cash for said purchase. Only slightly out of the way, all good. Eventually I get to said bank, and knowing I need more cash than the machine will let me take at once, I wait in the ridiculously long line of little old ladies (I'm sorry, but it's true! :) go to take out my money... And then get told I can't take out that much cash in one day. Ummmm excuse me? What would you do if I wanted to close my account? But no they can't possibly give me that much cash. But could give me half? What am I going to do, buy half a horse? Can't do any kind of bank draft because I don't know the seller's last name (I was purchasing through an intermediary).

Fine. Leave that bank and go to another one -- 10 mins down the road. Not far, but the wrong direction. Go in and fortunately far less of a line. Try to take out the rest of the money there. "Did you just withdraw a large amount?" (I admit I was actually glad they questioned that). "Yes." They confirmed the amount... "And now you want more?" appearing very puzzled. Keep in mind, less than 15 mins between transactions. "Why didn't you just take out the whole amount?" "They wouldn't let me." hahaha well credit to this woman's professionalism as she stopped herself from commenting at the last second, but you could see quite clearly she thought as much about that as I did. We're not talking a fortune here; I'm just buying a school horse :) Admittedly more than I paid for my horse, but let's be honest - that's not saying much! So anyways, thanks to this nice teller, I'm finally ready to go. It's now 4:30.

I call horse seller and bump time to 5:30.

Drive to barn. *Should* be a 10 min drive from there. Yeah, except that turns out there's construction half the way there, everything is one lane, and drivers are being particularly ignorant about skipping the line and trying to butt in the front. Lovely.

5:00 I get to the barn. Now we all know the Beast doesn't like cold any more than I do, so I was reasonably certain it wouldn't start (to the point that I had friends with trucks lined up to come help boost, and CAA as a backup if that didn't work -- but was afraid CAA would take most of the night to get there given the weather and lack of emergency status). So with fingers crossed I turned the key. Sputter, sputter, growl, vroom!!! Yeah! It took long enough to scare me but it did deign to start. Sweet.

Go to hook up trailer. The trailer next to me had their truck parked on an angle that made it impossible for me to back up straight to the trailer. Great. Lining up the ball is TONS o fun when you have to go in on an angle. *sigh* Fortunately a friend arrived in time and using brilliant directing skills helped me get the trailer hooked up w/o destroying either the neighbouring truck or the beast. Hook up trailer and discover the block that the front end sits on is thoroughly frozen to the ground. No kicking was going to free it :( Boo. Fortunately the wheel one wasn't, so I could free the tires. Steered out very carefully and good to go!

Wait.

Forgot the nice new blanket in the rabbit. *sigh* Go pick that up and try again. On my way out tell a friend I'll be back in an hour and a bit. Right - and I'm going to make it across TO in 15 minutes too.

Drive to the farm was fortunately uneventful. 401 traffic was stuck not far behind where I get on, so there were no cars where I needed to be. Unfortunate for everybody stuck in it, but handy for me :)

Get there shortly after the 5:30 plan. Fortunately tons of space to turn the beast around. And seller is understanding about my late arrival. Pull horse out and watch her lunge. Looks good. Seller is getting things ready but there was something nqr with one of the legs. I ask her if I can ride her (knowing my feel is better than my eye). So tack up and hop on. Now this was *quite* the look, even by my standards. Remember downtown office meeting? Yup, I'm still dressed in slacks and blouse. I had on my blundstones and barn jacket to complete the look. So tucked the slacks into my socks. No gloves (and stupidly cold out). And a borrowed helmet (remember the beast is full of lumber -- so all my usual back-up riding gear isn't there anymore). It was truly classy, let me tell you. And stupidly cold. Horse was stiff but sound (remember the cold?). And as she warmed up, the stiff went away. Hoped off and lunged her once more just so I could see - she looked fine. Checked legs again, seem good.

Ok so we untack horse, put on nice new blanket (which fit! Score 1 - or like 201 really - for my wonderful personal shopper, who I'm pretty sure found me the horse too :) sign paperwork etc. All good to go.

Load horse and go home.

Right. Except the horse never got the memo. Not the *least* bit interested in getting on the trailer *sigh*. Not showing any signs of fear, just more interested in the world around her. And in the process slipped once quite seriously (I suspect she'll be feeling that tomorrow), broke one of my taillights, and just generally caused grief. *sigh* Guess we'll be doing trailer training come spring. I actually suspect she'll get over it fairly quickly since she clearly knew what was expected and wasn't concerned about it. But on a dark, cold night there were just other things she'd rather be doing. Seller helped though and between the two of us, we got her loaded.

Trip home was uneventful. Horse chilled as soon as we started moving. Pull in and my phone buzzes "you alive?" One of barn friends realizing I'd been gone substantially longer than I should've checking in. I have awesome friends :) Went it to assure everybody I was fine and beg assistance. I'm not new here -- odds are any horse who loads the way that one just did, might not be the quietest to unload. Much safer with two people. And 2nd person was necessary. Horse got very excited when she heard the doors starting to open. But we managed and got her bundled into her new temporary home with hay and water.

Leave her to settle and go clean out trailer as well as I could in the dark. Close it up. No go. Try cleaning more. Still no go. It's amazing how fast manure can freeze and cement itself. *sigh* Two friends together managed the strength to slam the door up, shattering the frozen poo everywhere. Strangely musical sound that *g*

Go check on horse who has quite contentedly made herself at home. She's relaxed and chilled. Definitely good to see her settle so quickly.

And suddenly, I have 3 horses!

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