Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Solo trailer loading

Okay, okay, I was going to ride, and then I got a GREAT idea as I was fixing a bolt on the trailer. I had enough time to hook up the truck and work on trailer loading for a little bit before needing enough time to unhook the truck and go pick up Kaylee. So that's what I did.

Eric is not a horse person so I need to be capable of independence when it comes to trailering Gwyn. And that means hooking things up and loading. I decided to make today a low stress test run. We had nowhere to be aside from getting Kaylee, but worst case I could always go get her with the trailer hooked up.

Hooking up was easy thanks to my awesome back up camera on the Silverado. I only had to get out and raise the trailer and then back up a little more. I'd already fixed the ball size so it would be more secure and that made me feel better. I even K-point turned the whole rig to get it into an ideal spot for trailer loading practice.  It opened into an semi enclosed space with fence on two sides, the barn on a third and an open fourth side. However there was lots of green grass, and her pasture was at the far end. 

Om nomnom eating!
At first Gwyn was a pill. She reared and pulled away and ran over to the far fence line to be near her buddies who had all just gone outside for the day. I brought her back while the girl who cleaned stalls watched with concern. She tried to rear and spin again and I roared at her, sending her backwards for about 15 feet before immediately switching gears and calmly walking forward again. I do not tolerate rearing and spinning. Everything else I was prepared to outstubborn her on.

I had three carrots to use as encouragement but would only give them if she was fully on. The process went like this:
Gwyn put a foot on the ramp. The ramp is newer to her, though she had to use a steep one to be professionally shipped so it's not THAT novel. When it proved to be steady she did a couple forward and backward deals. She likes to try and escape around the side of the trailer and always to my right. I had her in the rope halter and just used the trailer corner as leverage so she couldn't go far and had to come back and face inside. Eventually she stepped all the way in. I didn't have any chest and butt bars and had opened up both escape doors. She walked all the way up and stood with me. I kept feeling like she thought she could hop out the escape door (and maybe could...) So I gave her a carrot and hooked up the chest bar. I did not tie her.

Before she went flying back I asked her to back up and she came off nice and calmly. This was encouraging! I left her to graze as a reward and a break and went to grab a flake of hay and a length of twine. I stuffed that in her hay net and tied the twine to one of the tie rings so I had a breakable point and grabbed her again. This time getting her back on was even easier. She happy started eating the hay and didn't care about the chest bar so I tied her to the twine. It was nice and loose and she had a lot of length to play with.

I praised her and walked around to the back. I used the divider to push her butt onto the left side of the trailer and connected the butt bar. She leaned back a few times but didn't panic when the butt bar didn't move. Even MORE encouraged, I closed up the right side butt bar. 

This was taken after our adventures were over but it gives you an idea of what the open back looks like. I had the center divider swung over to the right and clipped in and added the hay after our first successful load.

I went around to praise her again and she was looking rather nonplussed about the whole endeavor. I opened windows for some airflow and closed up the back ramp! I had successfully loaded my self-described hard loader SOLO!!!!

I left the back dutch doors open but closed the escape doors.  And we were OFF!

Proof I was out on the road!

I didn't go very far, I didn't have a lot of time, and I was definitely under the speed limit on parts of the road but I wanted this to be very positive and a practice run. We did highway, dirt roads and town roads, successfully! I wanted to get a good feel for how braking would be with a heavier load and going in the morning on a wednesday was really ideal for that.

We got back to the barn successfully and I turned the trailer around to the same position that I had loaded her from, again in case she went flying off for partial containment purposes.

She didn't care. She had hay.

Thumbs up for Dom because I watch/read about her trailer loading training all the time. I'm a distance learning student!

HUGE AMOUNT OF SPACE OMG.  There is no way this mare will ever be claustrophobic in this trailer. She has a buttload of space, LITERALLY.  I'm so glad we bought it. 

GM Ad Photo. 

Cell Phone Photos

Getting to graze when we're all done because she was a good girl.

Back with her buddies

1 comment:

  1. Yay trailer! Yay pony! I shall live vicariously thorough you now lol