It’s 2:05 AM and we are slowly pulling off the gravel driveway, mare in tow, about 4 hours away from our destination in Lexington, KY. It’s early Sunday morning and Webb & I are running on less than 2 hours of sleep, as we’d been up the night before helping to check on a potentially sickly newborn colt. Now it’s time for 650 AM radio, long white lines and struggling to bring up any topic of conversation that will keep us both awake and alert. The roads are deserted until we pass through Nashville, where you can tell the closing bars have finally sent the rest of the city home to their beds. But for us? The day is just getting started. Aren’t we lucky??
Honestly, I’m not complaining. I offered to go, and after Dad Burch had been up all night tending to the colt, he was in no shape to assist him and there was no way I would let him make that journey alone. But the lack of sleep was wearing on us and I was slowly succumbing to my first genuine bout with allergies. Also, despite my few and far-between lessons at driving stick, I didn’t feel ready to go solo at the wheel, especially with precious cargo in tow. My only true role was accompaniment, and I couldn’t help but kick myself for not being able to be more of a help. But it was the least I could do, and I was looking forward to both the adventure and the opportunity to take some good photos of the farm we were visiting for the breeding – a different taste from the place I described in my previous breeding post.
But things began to get difficult fast. The mare we brought was not in a good mood that morning. She couldn’t sit still, wasn’t agreeable to any kind of control, and wasn’t even receptive to the tease pony that was brought in to ready her for the breeding act. This time, Webb and I were led into a windowed viewing room, where we could look down on the action. Truth was, the folks working there knew it could be a long and tedious process, so rather than having us wait by the doors like most customers, we got the fancy chairs.
When the stud came in to do his business, the mare was more than unhappy about it – she was aggressive. Of all the few breedings I’d seen before this, none had gone quite this badly. The stud was led away so, we assumed, they could try and calm her down. But sure enough, one of the men working came in to say that it wasn’t going to work.
“So we leave her and try again in an hour or so?” we asked.
“Well, check her again tomorrow and we’ll see if she’s in better shape. She’s not ready today,” he said, like it was no big deal.
Biiiiiiggggg exhaaaallllleee. We both got silent. There was nothing we could do. The mare had been “ready” several days earlier, but this was the first slot we could get. The whole trip was for nothing, and we had an agitated mare to drive four hours home. Not to mention we were both ready to keel over and die, ourselves.
Lesson learned: the breeding process is not an easy one. Not only does it have to be done at just the right time, but you have to be able to fit in the right schedule, as well – sometimes at the absolute worst time of day. No one really cares how far you’re driving or at what time….it’s a business. And if the mare’s not ready, she’s not ready, physically or mentally – hence her aggression. Some things you just can’t know until it’s too late.
It took us much longer to get home than to get there. My nose was draining like a drippy faucet and we willingly made several stops just to rest for a minute. God bless Webb – he got the brunt of it. And once we got home, it was Couch-Netflix-Nap for a good 5 hours, until we realized we hadn’t eaten since breakfast and – surprise! – we still had to drive back to the city to rescue a car we’d been driving the day before that just decided to quit on us for no good reason. So…there was that.
And so why post about this unsuccessful mission? It’s not a rant, I promise. And it was an adventure, and a learning experience. Honestly, it was just one of those things that is a part of my life now, and in a way I’m proud of myself for going along and not being a bitch about it. I know plenty of people who would try to get out of this sort of trip and won’t believe me when I say I did it (Hello Friend at Regions who told me I should reconsider my life choices!). But crazy and as ingenuine as it may sound, I wanted to do this; I never thought twice about not going. And I was happy to be of help in any way I could, even if I didn’t feel like I was doing much good at all. At the end of the day, I slept reeeaaalll good. Plus, even if I didn’t get any choice shots of the farm in Lexington, I did get to see one of my very first real sunrises:
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