Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Trailer Loading

I figured I'd talk about a subject near and dear to my heart, trailering.

My retired horse, Stanley came without a loading button.  Actually he came without many buttons but that's another blog for another time.

I had to walk him 6 miles through the suburbs (literally) past two schools, through people's yards, a construction zone, and over a rail road track to get him to his new home when I moved him.

It was Stanley that taught me all I know about loading horses and I've worked with several poor loaders using the tricks he taught me.   At least he's good for something bless his heart.

Annie was always a skeptical owner until a horse show in April where I latched her trailer tie before the bar was done up on the way home.  Now I've NEVER done  up a horse in a straight load trailer for fear of them backing off, but in the slant load when the horse rides in front or the middle it's not uncommon to latch them, walk back, and shut the partition.  Unfortunately this time Annie was in the last slot so she fell off the trailer and thrashed around before her halter broke and she came off. 

I felt horrible (still do) and I'll never ever do it again. 

So Annie changed into a reluctant loader.  She started to take longer and longer to load even going places on a regular basis.  You needed one person on the trailer and one person behind whacking her. 

I decided that I'd take advantage of the trailer being parked in the upper pasture and load her every day.  I like teaching a horse to self load, I think it's easier to send a horse onto a trailer then to try and get them to follow you.  You can react a lot quicker if the horse decides to back off. 

After a session of about 20 minutes Annie learned to self load, and after a few weeks she now loads up right away.  Last night I moved her into the middle stall with the window down and hay in her bag to finish off the self loading.  I want to load her up, close the divider, then walk around to tie her up. 

Apparently the hay was extra tasty as I had a difficult time getting her OFF the trailer!  

The real test will be when we go to our next lesson and come home again, I'm hoping her lesson will stick. 

Later I will talk about my "technique."

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