I wrote a check to hold Imperioso with the promise that I would be back within two days with cash and the trailer.
As soon as we started the drive home, I got on the phone with Debbie Davis of Sport Equine, the trainer to whom I had sent Sydney. While she was pretty busy for the month of December, she agreed to take Imperioso for a month of training with the understanding that her daughter would be doing much of the work. That was fine with me. I really just wanted someone to ride him five days a week for a month. Nothing gets horses broke faster than consistent, daily work.
For the rest of the afternoon, I made phone calls back and forth between Debbie and Noemi trying to arrange all of the details. We finally worked out a plan, but unfortunately, it meant I was going to do a lot of driving the next day, alone. Hubby was going hunting with the dog and BFF had already promised her hubby that she would paint the inside of the chicken coop - priorities, you know!
I hit the road by 7:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, headed north to Exeter, a small town just east of Visalia. While it's an easy, flat drive, it still took an hour and a half. I pulled the trailer around to the front of Imperioso's pasture and met with Noemi. We spent some time chatting, signing a bill of sale, and exchanging paperwork and cash. Then we took some pictures.
My next stop was even farther north - Clovis, another hour and a half on the highway. Imperioso rode like a veteran, for which I was very grateful. Each time I came to a stop light, I rolled my window down and listened intently for any signs of trouble. I've been hauling horses for a long time and can actually feel, and hear, any bouncing around. But there was no need to worry.
I pulled into Sport Equine with a relaxed passenger. Not having any idea how he was going to unload, I did ask Debbie's staff for some assistance. My biggest fear was that he would come barreling out as soon as I opened the door. I had someone hold the door closed while I went in and unlooped his rope from the Blocker Tie Ring. When I gave the all-clear, someone opened the door.
Imperioso just stood there. Yah for thinking horses. I gently tapped him on the chest like I do for all of my horses and said simply, baaaaaack. As he neared the step, he cranked his head around to look. He took some little steps as he sought the edge, but he continued to back up quietly as I gently tapped him and repeated my command.
My trailer sits high with no ramp. It's at least an eighteen inch step down, so I was really proud that he trusted me enough to reach for the ground. As soon as his hind foot hit the dirt, he calmly finished stepping out. Once he realized that he was definitely not in Kansas, his eyes got very wide, and he took a quivery breath.
And then he spooked hard at something covered with a blue tarp. And even though he took a huge leap, he stopped quickly and never even put tension on the lead rope. I just stood there and let him get his wits about him. I followed one of Debbie's boarders out to the large pasture that is to be Imperioso's home for the next few weeks. He blew and quivered as we passed by a lot of different things, but the worst thing he did was to simply stop in his tracks or press into me.
Each time he stopped, I just stood there letting him think about things, and then I gave a gentle tug on his lead rope. He followed me willing, if a bit too closely. That's okay; we can work on that.
The pasture he is to live in is huge, just like the pasture he came from. Even so I was a bit worried about taking off his halter. I wasn't sure if he would bolt for home or kick out. As I should have known, when I slid the halter off, he simply stood there looking around. As soon as he saw his neighbor, he trotted over to get acquainted.
So that's it for now. Well there is one last thing. While Imperioso is a strong and regal name, it doesn't roll off the tongue easily. So, he definitely needed a barn name that didn't stray too far from his Zweibrücker name. His name starts with an I, his sire's name starts with an I, his grandsire's name starts with an I, and so do the rest of the stallions in that line. His barn name had to start with an I too.
With that, may I introduce you to ...