Friday, September 4, 2009
A trailer for two
Okay, enough politics. Onto the big news of the day.
We got two horses in our trailer today.
Fortunately it was the two horses we own.
I'd been waiting for our trainer to come back from her trip because I felt I needed all the help I could get. Over the last two weeks I'd gotten Lilly to the point that she wasn't bolting out and Cibolo was strolling in there like he owned the joint.
But I didn't really try to get the butt bar on let alone load them both. I still couldn't get Lilly to stay in place and didn't feel confident that I knew how to solve the problem.
So today was the day. Adam and I went together to meet the trainer. Adam has a good connection with Lilly and I was glad he was going to be on hand. As it turned out he took care of the bulk of the loading while I was merely a calming influence just outside the front window.
Our first step was to load Lilly. It took about three tries, but with rhythmic tapping on her butt (not hard, just rhythmic) she loaded and let us secure her in place. She had a nice grain reward once she was secure, and after a few more tries she unloaded about one or two gears slower from her previous bolt. Progress.
Then we loaded Cibolo. He was confused at first at being in the back area only, but then I could almost see the light bulb go off in his head. We shut the rear door and marveled that we had two horses in there.
But unloading Cibolo then Lilly seemed to increase Lilly's fear. She was back to bolting out.
We decided to try her in the rear. Initially when we were trying to deal with all this bolting weeks ago I'd suggested loading her in the rear. Sure, you'd have to get out of the way fast when you opened the door, but she couldn't really build up a head of steam either. She'd be out and not left alone in the trailer. But there was one significant hurdle - she couldn't seem to figure out how to get in the back section of the trailer.
We loaded Cibolo first and he was fine, although he leaned on the butt bar a bit. Loading Lilly in the back was challenging at first. It was as if she didn't think she'd fit. But with more tapping and soft words, she was in and stayed in calmly for the door to close.
The first couple times opening the door were something else and she even banged her leg once getting out. But by the end she came out somewhat quietly. Quiet for Lilly anyway. Okay, not so quiet but just a bit more slowly.
Cibolo comes out very quiet. Hopefully he can be a source of inspiration. (and hopefully he won't pick up her habit!)
It will take more time and practice, but I think we're through a hurdle. We're going to try to take them on a picnic at the lake tomorrow. I hope we don't end up having to walk them home!
Wound update: we have some proud flesh starting. I'm still cleaning it every day and putting on salve. Tips are welcome...