Monday, September 13, 2010

Well, that's weird - trailer loading?!

So I had a teensy bit of trouble loading Smokey when we left the lake Sunday. It's weird, because he'd been loading just fine.

I took the trailer home and gave it a serious deep cleaning on Sunday (which was hysterical - if you've never done a self service high pressure car wash with an 8 year old, you haven't lived).

Then decided I should get Smokey to load when we went to the barn to drop it off..

Only he wouldn't. As usual, high pressure tactics don't work well with Smokey. He just gets weirded out. By the end (I had to cut it short, but we ended on a good note), he was walking up to the trailer calmly, but not quite loading all the way (got all four hooves in, just not quite in position). I'll try again tomorrow when I don't have so many time constraints.

Isn't it odd for him to stop loading? He was doing perfect, then Sunday was just a bit flakey, now zip.

The trainer says it's a young horse thing. Sometimes things just stop working and you have to restart. Does that make sense? Everything else is working...

One funny thing, at the end when I was just rewarding him for standing near it, he sniffed the trailer very intently - I imagine after our high pressure wash it smells really different.

I wonder if it needs some funk back in there.


Leah Fry said...

Every once in awhile mine weird out on me like that, too. Cookies always win.

morningbrayfarm said...

Oh, Smokey... he just had to find something to make you wonder... you probably do need some funk back in there. :D

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

Oh, they all go through it. It's like someone flips a switch and for some odd reason they decide they just aren't going into that scary tin can.

KatyM said...

Maybe it's that deep-clean smell? He might just be looking for the "funk" lol

When I was a kid, Dad (my Go-To-Guru for all things horsey) used to tell us not to clean all the poo out of the trailer, because then it would smell foreign to the horses and they wouldn't recognize the trailer any more.

Jeni said...

Strange for sure... put some funk .. or food .. back in there!

Once Upon an Equine said...

Don't worry, Smokey will put the funk back in the trailer.

I completely understand. Misty did the same thing for awhile. She would load perfectly, then the next time she would refuse to go in. She got over it and is much more consistent now and only occasionally challenges me. I circle her outside the trailer door when she won't load and let the trailer be the place for rest. Works like a charm now.

aurora said...

It's not odd, Smokey just needs a reminder.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

When I bought Apache she loaded and unloaded in my horse trailer several times and then all of a sudden when I was getting ready to leave a ride at Cedar Hill Farm, she refused to load. My friend Colleen tried and she even blew up and broke free and ran back behind the stables.
After about 30 minutes we finally got her loaded, but after I got home I spent an entire week and many hours working with her to get her to load and unload calmly and eagerly.
And Apache's at least 10 years old, not young like Smokey.

What I learned with Apache is that she is very sensitive and forceful tactics don't work. Patience and positive encouragement work better.

I at first tried to do as Clinton Anderson and make the outside of the trailer lots of work. That didn't phase her at all.
What worked was waiting at the door of the trailer...Apache knowing that there was grain inside the trailer, too. :)


Jessica Boyd said...

They just like to remind us we don't know everything, yet. At least not about them. Today.

Bar is still funny about loading for me, but is gradually getting better. Probably by the time winter gets here, he'll be perfect and then we'll have to start all over in the spring.

Oh, well. I'd be so BORED otherwise!

allhorsestuff said...

It's so true...they are so highly sensitive to smell!!!
You are so perceptive to recognise it too!!!GO ahead and eep clen...just familarize it again for them with a poo ball and some hay and cookies!

When Pantz dumped me 2 weeks ago..I thought it was the ducks...but NOW- after the Cougar attack on them so very SURE, she was reacting to it's remaining smell, lingering around. The ducks...were just a funky visual.

Yea...I am in a funk with my BO now..she has realy let me down all summer with stunts like that... leaving the mares outside, in falltime. I asked-via TXT, NOTE in our communication notebook on the tackroom counter. She says..."I don't recall you asking at all, and of course, it is far less work for me to clean up after, when they are outside". OH MY!!!
My trust is soo gone...when I say I want the mares INSIDE NOW at night...I MEAN IT! I did not have a forebododing..but "they told me", they did not want to be out. It was an unspoken, but acknowleged by me, request from my mares!
They stood by the gate nearing dark hours, instead of grazing the grasses. BRING US IN!

So, yea...My equine therapist came out with her thermography camera...she got a whole huge story of attack, on film. Below the surface, besides the visible, open wounds of the claw marks on my mare. Pantz's hind legs swollen beyond tendon grooves from hock to fetlock.

But...I give notice today...a plan from 2 weeks ago that -is being hit home- for safety and consistant, professional care for my mare!!
Thanks for your sweet, concerned note to us!