Restar Lucky Joe finally arrived at Willowtrail Farm at 3am this past Sunday, completing a process that began when he was born nine months ago. He left the Restar stud on January 9, so he was on the road 55 days. It’s understandable that he looked a little travel weary when he arrived. It’s amazing to see how quickly he’s transforming on my nutritional program.
Lucky Joe is quite a contrast in size to my mountain-born ponies. He’s easily a hand taller than Willowtrail Mountain Honey who is five days older than Lucky Joe. The going was really good at the Restar Stud, allowing him to grow as a youngster. Now my job is to get him toughened up to be a mountain pony. Fortunately the weather has been milder since he arrived, easing his transition, though he has already experienced his first Rocky Mountain snow storm with no ill effects.
We are of course just getting to know each other, even though I’ve been hearing stories about Lucky Joe since his birth. Handling Lucky Joe has reminded me that the last stallion I had at this age was one that I’d been with since birth, Willowtrail Black Robin. In contrast, Lucky Joe doesn’t know my body language like Robin did, so we’re working on hand signals for backing up, yielding to pressure on his nose, and generally understanding that I mean him no harm. It’s clear he’s more accustomed to being petted than scratched, though this morning I got him to melt in my arms when I scratched him under his mane.
Since Lucky Joe was on the road so long, I have been wondering how long it will take him to know that he’s home and not going anywhere. I figured it would take at least a month, about the length of time he was in a holding pattern after import. A friend conjectured it would take just two days. “These ponies are canny,” he said. When I put Lucky Joe in his pen early Sunday morning, the other ponies called out to him. Perhaps he recognized Fell Pony voices and could distinguish them from the other equine voices he encountered on his travels. Lucky Joe’s breeder says Fells do sound different.
After I put Lucky Joe in his pen, I removed his halter. I got the sense that that act communicated something to Lucky Joe. Perhaps he now knows that he’s here to stay. I will of course continue to work on letting him know that that’s the case.
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2014