Monday, June 13, 2011

How I spent my summer vacation, pt. 2: Trailer refresher course

Vaccinations and worming weren't the only thing I wanted to get done before the mares' departure date - they're both gentle and easy to handle, but handled on a regular basis they're not. And neither of them is exactly what you'd call a seasoned traveler. The total times they've actually been in a trailer? Cumulatively less than a handful of fingers worth.

So, I'd planned to give them a couple of practice loading sessions - more for Solitaire's sake than Star's.

But time wound down until there wasn't much left...

A pretty face hiding a lot of stubborn.

As I'd suspected, Miss Solitaire was not an immediate fan of the whole getting in the noise metal box plan.

We spent quite a long time
in front of the trailer
contemplating things.

And quite a bit more moving the feet in front of it.

It didn't take too long before the trailer started to look a bit more appealing.

Using the dressage whip to reinforce staying straight, tap-tap-tap...
Being a bright girl, she decided inside
was less work and less annoyance than outside.

Star - who spent a fair amount of time semi-patiently tied to the trailer - baled in and out like an old hand first thing. Whenever Solitaire made some progress, she'd get a break to contemplate, and Star'd have a turn at being the monkey-do part of the monkey-see, monkey-do equation.

"Oh, all right..."
And once she was in, hey, it wasn't so bad after all.
Lather, rinse repeat...

Align LeftUntil in and out were completely old hat.

Of course, the bucket of grain inside didn't hurt matters!

Once she was all the way on and standing quietly,
she got to take a bite before I unloaded her again.
It wasn't bribery - just reinforcement that the trailer is a GOOD place.

Total elapsed time, somewhere under 2 hours...

Good girl!

Of course, there's no guarantee when her new owner arrives that she'll be as cooperative, but all things considered, I'd call it a successful, non-traumatic experience all round. And an excellent lesson in why it's a good thing to have horses that load nicely when you ask them to - had there been an emergency, or some essential reason she needed to get in the trailer by a particular time? Yikes!

***Special thanks to my mother, who patiently held the trailer door the whole time in a very stiff breeze, and still managed to take excellent pictures. You're amazing, and I don't say it enough!

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