Sunday, April 6, 2014

Trailer Loading - Still Looking for Softness

We did more trailer loading again today.  This time I prearranged for an assistant to hold Pie while I loaded Red first.  There was still quite a bit of resistance on Red's part to loading.  But once he loaded, he loaded well and stayed on the trailer while I attached the butt bar.  Pie was a trooper - he stood calmly at the front escape door while Red was loading, and then walked right on and started eating hay.  Red, on the other hand, was still very nervous about the whole thing.

I closed up all the doors and took them for a quick ride - probably about 10 minutes or so - perhaps about 6 miles or so "around the block".  This was our first outing with the new trailer and truck - I wanted to test out how the rig drove before our trip to Wisconsin next Friday.  I must say I was delighted with both the truck (Ford F150 with the Ecoboost engine) and trailer (Hawk 2-horse bumper pull) and how the combo handled and drove.  One leg of our trip was quite hilly, and the truck handled it just fine.

Both boys rode quietly and well, but when I unloaded them, Red was pretty sweaty from nerves.  We'll continue to work on things together - I think he's going to have to be able to load softly from the get-go before he's going to be relaxed in the trailer - pretty much like the wash stall.  Now that he's able to walk quietly and softly into the wash stall, he's no longer concerned when he's in there.  But for him to be soft getting on, I have to be soft myself and offer that to him as a safe place to be.  Easier said than done when he's trying all his maneuvers to avoid loading - including today one time trying to run directly into and through a large, spiky bush next to the trailer . . .  I need to be sure to be slow, deliberate, and consistently calm and soft before he's going to improve.

As usual, it comes down to working on me so that I can offer the horse direction and guidance in the most effective way - with softness.

2 comments:

  1. I know the smaller two horse straight load trailers are lighter , shorter and easier to haul - I used to own one- but I do prefer the angle load or better yet the open stock type trailers. I once had a gelding who tried to climb into the manger of the 2 horse, and the same horse, even though he had his head tied, managed to back up far enough to get his head stuck down in front of the manger. Gah! I was really glad to sell that trailer!

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  2. I dislike trailers with mangers for that reason - even slant loads come that way sometimes. My trailer had removable mangers, which I removed. I like its design, and the horses have a little more room than they did in my slant load. The butt and chest bars are positioned well. So far they've all been OK, and hope that continues to be the case.

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