Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Celebrating

I am celebrating all four of my horses today.  I'm taking a couple of horses to a gymkhana and a poker ride in the near future, so I have to make sure they will all get into a horse trailer for transport ahead of time.  The three Arabs haven't been in a trailer in over two years.  I've had no need to take them anywhere because I am fortunate to have riding trails right across the street and a vet who makes ranch visits.

I arranged to practice on a day my friend was here, but she cancelled due to being sick.  I thought, "This is going to be tough to do without a second person," but I hooked up the trailer to the truck anyway and started with the horse I thought would be easiest.  After getting her two front feet into the trailer and then backing out a few times, Gabbrielle got all the way in within three minutes.

Wow!  I was so happy with that outcome that I didn't want to mess it up by asking for anything more.  I decided that as soon as each horse got all the way into the trailer on its own accord without any pressure from me, it was done.  I wasn't going to ask for repeat performances.

Next was Rock.  I had no idea how he was going to do.  I just know that when he was delivered to me, the seller had a little bit of a struggle getting him out of the trailer, and she had to turn him around and bring him out head first.  I led him up to the trailer wondering if I should put on my helmet in case he panics and slams into me like my other horses have done when they were younger.  Before I could think anything more about the helmet, Rock stepped right in with all four feet and stood there quietly like he was ready to go to sleep.

I'd love to meet the person who trained this horse.  He is so awesome.  I know it could just be his personality makes everything easy.  However, when I asked him to back out of the trailer, he clearly felt uncomfortable.  He tucked his hind legs way underneath him and was worried about stepping down.  I decided that I didn't want to cause any anxiety in him where there was none before by trying to train him to back out just a few days before transport, so I allowed him to turn around and come out head first.  I'll just have to remember to load him in the first partition when he travels with another horse, because the horse in the second partition doesn't have enough room to turn around due to the design of the trailer.

I'm hoping to win a new horse trailer in a raffle I entered.  I bought a ridiculously large number of tickets to improve my chances, because it is exactly the type of trailer I've been looking for over the past five years.  I have to win it.  I'm destined to win it.  It can't be any other way.  Please, take a moment to envision me winning that trailer.  Thank you.

Next was Lostine, who made a point of running to the other side of the arena furthest away from the trailer when I first hooked it up to the truck.  However, once she noticed that each horse was being released as soon as it got into the trailer, she realized nobody was being taken anywhere, and she did allow me to halter her.  She did a lot of sniffing around and stared at me bug-eyed for about five minutes, as if asking, "Aren't you going to put pressure on me?"

At first I said, "No, I'm going to stand here and wait for you to decide when you are ready to get in."

But then I realized that she was worried about me standing right by the window where she wanted to be.  So, I relocated to the back of the trailer behind the partition out of her way and put a little pressure on her.  She immediately began pooping nervously.  Then I went back to standing in front of the window and waiting, and she realized that was a much better way to be loaded.  She stepped right in without any pressure.

Lastly, Bombay took his turn.  This horse has a serious trailer phobia.  I remembered to get my camera, since I figured it could take a couple of hours to get him in.  Here he is giving me his worried look...

He hopped up and backed out a few times...

I always know when he's ready to get all the way in, because he lowers his head...

He made it into the trailer without any pressure from me in under five minutes...

I didn't have to us either the long rope threaded through the trailer window or the long whip to tap from behind...

Every horse willingly stepped all the way into the trailer in less than five minutes!  Hallelujah!

I even had time to clean up some manure in the stalls and arena.  All of my neighbors are now working outside the home, so I thought I was alone and kept chatting it up with the horses and teasing Lostine for being scared of the trailer.  I think I was in the middle of complaining about how much their poop weighed in the wagon when I turned around and was taken by surprise by my neighbor.  I got embarrassed because earlier I was yelling at his dogs to shut up because I thought no one was home.  Oops.  Oh well, at least now he knows that it annoys me enough that I try to discipline his dogs when I think he's not home.

4 comments:

Allison B said...

Great job on the loading!

Katharine Swan said...

When you back your horses out of the trailer, do you say "Step," right before they need to step down? That might help Rock. Panama gets anxious about where the step is too, and once he realized I would let him know when he was there, it has helped him with backing out quite a bit.

Crystal said...

Wow that's awesome! I love it when horses surprise me and are much quicker than anticipated, I haven't had a hard loading horse in a long time and I hope to keep it that way. I put my hand on my horses shoulder when its time to step down and that's my cue for them so far it works, but I also let them turn around cause that works for me, but they all do both ways.

Laura Lee Evans said...

PHEW! It's such a relief when they load willingly. Nice job :)


Funny about talking to yourself and the neighbor walking up. Embarrassing, yes, but we've all done it!