Hanaeleh got a call a few weeks ago about a horse named Popcorn who needed some care. His owner did not have the time to come down and care for Popcorn on a daily basis, so a few people at the stable where he was boarded had been feeding and caring for him for the past few months. We contacted his owner, who wanted the best for his horse, but acknowledged that he did not have the time to give Popcorn the care he needed. We did have a space open, but we have other horses coming in, so we were not financially prepared to take in another horse. Thankfully, between the people who had been caring for him, as well as his previous owner offering to help pay for some of Popcorn’s monthly care, we were able to take Popcorn in.
I picked Popcorn up this past Saturday afternoon. I parked the truck at the front of the barn, then walked to where he was stabled at the very back. He came right up and said hello, and I took him out of his stall without a problem. We were about 1/3 of the way out of the stable when all of a sudden Popcorn began looking around and must have realized that he wasn’t going to get groomed or a turn out. “Hey!” he yelled to the other horses. “Hey! I don’t know this human!” A few of the horses yelled back, but none of the humans responded. “Hey!” he tried again. “Stranger danger! I’m being horsenapped!” Again, a few of the other horses yelled back in commisseration, but none of the humans intervened.
We got to the trailer, and Popcorn was a little nervous but not terribly so. I opened up the back doors and started to walk him in. He stepped up, then stepped back, and said, “Um, no thank you. I believe I’ll stay here. Thanks.” I tried to get him a little closer, but he was not interested in the trailer at all, so I got my dressage whip out from the shed and tapped him on the side a few times. It took about a minute, but a few taps later and he walked right in. He wasn’t thrilled about being in there, but I think it was more due to the fact that there was orchard in the hay net and not alfalfa hay.
We drove the short distance to Hanaeleh without incident. When I went to get him out, however, he pushed back, and I was concerned that he was going to break his halter or the lead rope, so I unclipped him from the trailer lead and attached the lead rope to his halter before opening up the gate holding him in. He didn’t explode out the back at all, but he was pretty insistent about backing out pretty quickly. Thankfully he was already unclipped and I had his rope ready, and he stood nicely once he was out of the trailer. I closed the trailer up and walked him up to Hanaeleh.
I put him in the roundpen while I got his stall ready and fed the other horses. He and Devon talked for a while, but for the most part he just wandered around the pen, sniffing the dirt. He was relaxed, and seemed just happy that there were at least other horses around. I walked him up to his stall after a few minutes, in which I had both his hay and grain, and Quixote immediately walked over and said hello. Popcorn, however, seemed completely uninterested, instead focusing on eating his hay and grain. I waited around for a while longer, but he seemed pretty comfortable, so I left him to settle into his stall.
This morning we came out and Popcorn still seemed pretty happy and comfortable. Kathi and Jocelyn gave him a quick groom, and we turned him out in the arena, where he wandered about sniffing the dirt in there. We took several pictures of him because he is just so cute! He’s also very, very sweet, so it was pretty easy to hang out with him. A few of the people who had taken care of him at his previous stable came out and gave him some supplies and said hello, and he was very happy to see them.
We look forward to getting to know Popcorn and learning more about this very sweet guy!