Legend's Grand Arrival
By Similkameen O’Rourke, Age 11
This is the amazing story of how Legend came to Lasqueti Island, BC.
For the past few months, the question had been: How will we get my new pony Legend home to Lasqueti when the ferry that goes to Lasqueti only takes passengers, no cars?! Vehicles have to be taken over to Lasqueti on a barge. As it turned out, that included Legend in his trailer. Originally, we were going to try walking him on by himself, but the trailer was so much safer. The problem was that we didn’t have a trailer. We ended up buying one just for this trip!
I had gone to Victoria, on Vancouver Island, BC, at the beginning of the week to ride Legend with my riding coach before we brought him to Lasqueti. But it had rained so much during the last week that the riding arena was too wet to ride in. So, I spent the week at the farm, having a lot of fun even though I couldn’t ride. And by the end of the week I had every little thing that had to be organized for the trip organized!
My parents arrived at the farm on Thursday that same week. That was the first time I had seen the trailer. It was so exciting to actually have my own trailer! We fed all the horses, had dinner, I packed all my clothes and then we all went to bed.
When we woke up, my coach fed the horses and my dad and I organized everything in the trailer before Legend got in. We then went inside and had a few bites to eat before, THE BIG TRIP! We went outside and put a “cooler” (a fleece blanket that soaks up sweat and moisture) on Legend. We were going to put ear stuffers in his ears, but he shook them out because he had never had them in his ears before.
Sometimes Legend can be very bad about going into trailers. And since he hadn’t been ridden for over two months, we expected him to be naughty, but he stepped right on in. We closed the trailer doors and drove away. I was in the truck with my dad and my mum was following us in our car so that if anything happened she could tell us. We were all a bit nervous because we had to drive over the Malahat (one of the worst and most dangerous roads in BC, with lots of ups, downs, and curves) and snow was in the forecast!
We made our way down the road, slowly and steadily, but at a good pace and we soon reached the Malahat. We started up and the sign told us that there was no snow and luckily no fog! When we were about a quarter of the way up the mountain, a big semi truck pulled in front of us and it was going very, very, very slowly. This made it so that we had to slow down to about three kilometres an hour, which is super slow for the Malahat...the posted speed limit averages 80 kilometres per hour. We didn’t know what the driver was doing, but we couldn’t pass him because that part of the Malahat was a single lane. Eventually the truck pulled over (by this time we were going about two kilometres per hour) and we were able to pass. Our truck had never had pulled a trailer before, and this made it very difficult to accelerate going up such a steep hill. Our truck started making strange clicking sounds while it was making the transition, which was really nerve wracking. We couldn’t break down now!
Photo courtesy of Similkameen O'Rourke
The ferry to Lasqueti Island only takes passengers. Vehicles (and horse trailers!) have to be transported via barge.
After a little while, the truck seemed to be going fine, and my mum said that Legend, who was moving around a lot at first, was settling down. Eventually we made it off the Malahat, and into Mill Bay. We most likely wouldn’t have made it over the Malahat if it hadn’t been for my amazing trailer-driving dad! About an hour and half later, we arrived in French Creek, the marina where the Lasqueti Island ferry and barge come in.
We parked the trailer and had to wait for about two hours in the parking lot, with Legend in the trailer. He wanted out so badly, but it wouldn’t have been safe to unload him. We gave him lots of treats and some water which he didn’t want to drink.
We were going to be the last ones loaded onto the barge, so that Legend could be the first to be unloaded once on Lasqueti. I was not allowed to travel on the barge with Legend, as there was a gasoline truck on the barge. But while I was not legally allowed to be on the barge, my dad was. He sat in the trailer with Legend for the whole ride. My Mum and I rode the 2:30 ferry to Lasqueti. Meanwhile, Legend was loaded onto the barge with the barge owner’s Bobcat, which meant that he had to be pushed backwards down the barge ramp – this was probably quite scary for him. Plus it was really noisy.
Once the barge was out in the open water, it got incredibly rocky. In fact, a wave crashed up and went right over the whole trailer! This stretch of water, the Salish Sea, is amongst the most treacherous on the Pacific Coast. Obviously, we had been very nervous about this crossing too...nothing was easy about getting Legend to Lasqueti!
My Mum and I arrived on Lasqueti just before the barge. We unloaded all of things into our car and drove to the barge ramp, where we took lots of pictures as the barge came in. Once again, Legend had to be unloaded with the Bobcat and once he was, we hooked him up to our friend’s truck. LEGEND WAS ON LASQUETI!
It was almost dusk and we needed to get home before dark, but we would have to park the trailer at the bottom of our steep hill and walk Legend up. We drove quite quickly down the island. It was a bit of bumpy ride for Legend as there are quite a few potholes! We parked the trailer at the bottom of the steep hill where we were to unload him. He unloaded quite well. It was on the verge of being dark. The skies were bluey-black. My mum drove quickly up the hill ahead of us, as we had to separate the Minis into half of the barn. Legend can be very dominating with other horses and he had never seen a mini before, so we did not want the minis to get hurt. They would meet through the fence for the first few days.
Photo courtesy of Similkameen O'Rourke
Legend seems to be happy in his new Lasqueti home!
Legend was so excited to be out of the trailer that he walked straight up the hill without spooking, which we had expected him to do. He was really quick...it was the quickest my dad and I had ever walked up the hill! Once he saw the barn, the Minis whinnied to him and he got really excited and charged into the barn, during which he slammed my dad into the side of the barn, which was really painful!
We gave Legend his hay and then my riding coach called and told me to make him a bran mash, which you make for a horse after they’ve been in a very stressful situation! That next we checked on Legend about every 15 minutes until about 11 o’clock at night. The Minis squealed a lot!
Today, the Minis and Legend are very good friends, but they still need to be fed separately, otherwise Legend jumps on the Minis and bumps them over onto their backs and then nips then and it’s a quite disaster. But when they are not eating, they are good friends!
I did not attempt to ride Legend until he had been here for more than a week, but we took him out for walks to get him used to the place. Perhaps the craziest thing for Legend was meeting my chickens. He thought they were the strangest things he’d ever seen and chased one all around his paddock! But all in all, Legend seems to be really happy here in his new Lasqueti home!
Main Article Photo Courtesy of Similkameen O'Rourke