May 08, 2013

The Move

Oh my little mare. What will I do with her? I knew going in that she was a difficult loader. I would love to practice loading but lacking a trailer I cannot. I was hoping that the wash rack issue would have helped with the next trailer loading but it didn’t. Several members of Kit Carson have offered for me to borrow their trailer so I’ll have to figure out a way to utilize that resource. I’d like to get a few trail rides in this summer!!

My friend Uschi helped me out on Saturday and man was it a long day! Her trailer is a nice tall and wide, two horse strait load. The partition swings to the side to allow a bigger area for the horse to first load. I struggled with the rope halter, I don’t use it too often and where the knot has to be tied can be tricky to get a hang of exactly how to tie it so it won’t loosen. As I was struggling Uschi stepped in and got it right. I started to work Dani back and forth on the lead line, Uschi took control and began working Dani. My mare was being a butt!


To make a long story short, she would get on the trailer but stay for a second and just back up right out again.  Then Uschi would ask her to load again.  That was our mistake right there and I’ll tell you why in a second.  We got the mare comfortable with the divider being closer and closer and started to get her used to the butt bar.  Then we had her in the trailer, me at her head feeding her hay and a handful of sweet feed.  The butt bar was up and Uschi was preparing to close the door…that’s when Dani freaked out with the butt bar against her.  In my stupidity I held onto the lead rope as my mare backed and limboed UNDER the butt bar to get out of the trailer!!!  Rope burn like no body’s business.  Ouch.  Dani was fine, she received a cut on her hip but nothing serious.


That set us back and finally in desperation I called a gal from Kit Carson who is leaving in a month for the Clinton Anderson Academy. I’d only talked with her, K, via email but this sweet woman dropped everything and rescued us with her stock type trailer. The biggest difference between what she did and what we had done was she WORKED Dani outside the trailer. Behind it, on each side….even if Dani showed interest in the trailer she still worked her. Then she had Dani get on and let her rest. As soon as Dani tried to get off the trailer she worked her hard again. This went on for about 10 minutes while Dani stayed longer and longer on the trailer. Then we began closing the door and not opening it until Dani stood calmly and quietly. Then we’d open it and often she’d just stand there. Once she got off…work, work work. In less than 30 minutes K had Dani on, tied and calm in the trailer. Off we went!

K dropped me at the driveway leading to the ranch so we had more room. She had the trailer stopped and just stood there outside to make Dani realize that she didn’t need to rush to get out. We opened the door and let Dani stand some more then slowly backed her. She didn’t seem to want to get off since she was most likely thinking she’d have to be worked. I hugged K and thanked her a million times. We’ll hopefully get together over the next couple of weeks so I can absorb as much information about trailer training as I am able!!


Dani was finally at her new home.  For the time being she’s in a round pen in “quarantine” from the other horses.  In a couple weeks we’ll make the introduction to the other horses and she’ll hopefully be on the pasture if there is rain.  I’m still thinking I may need to use the grazing muzzle when she’s on pasture…I’m nervous about that.  Anyways, now it’s just a matter of settling in and getting used to our new environment.  Phew!

Oh and guess what, there are two other people boarding here at this ranch.  A nice vet that I met a week ago to get the Strangles vaccine for Dani and someone else with a horse I looked at a while ago Red Flags.  I'll discuss that later but hopefully he and his wife are busy enough I won't have to deal with them a lot.  I don't need to talk with him or try and be his friend.  If he leaves me alone I'll leave him alone besides I think he's so arrogant he probably doesn't even remember me!

4 comments:

Kalin ♥ said...

A tip for loading: If you can, leave the trailer in a pasture when you are with Dani and put grain in it, just do this when you aren't going anywhere, show her the grain and eventually she'll end up in the trailer and realize, "Hey, this isn't so bad!" it's worked for all of the horses we've tried it with. :)

K.K. said...

Dealing with hard to load horses is the worst!! I had an accident with my horse when he paniced as the horse that loaded after him. He ended up sending me to the hospital to have my head stiched back up. I've been terrified of trailers ever since! I'm so nervouse about it, that we are probably upgrading from an older two horse straight load, to a bigger 3 horse slant load. I for, whatever reason, feel easier about loading a slant than a tiny straight load!

Hopefully you new place will be wonderful!

Cindy D. said...

Its all about the feet, Dear.
Which is exactly what K was doing for you. Sometimes food helps, but you have to remember that the brain is directly connected to the feet. If you can't move their feet, you can't control their brains.

My horses all load and haul pretty well, but every once in a while one of them will give me some crap. We don't argue, we don't fight and I don't beg. I simply take them to the side and push them sideways down the road and back. When Ii ask again they are more than happy to comply.

I hope you enjoy your new place.

Christie Maszkiewicz said...

Well I don't have my own trailer so feeding in the trailer is not an option. The Clinton Anderson method....not solely his of course, where you move their feet out of the trailer seems to get results so it's just a matter of practicing that!

My girl is a good girl but 13 years of not being made to do things the right way and never learning to trailer....I have my work cut out for me!