Training horses is all about baby steps. Lately I’ve been working with the girls on their behavior in and around the horse trailer. This was after I realized I hadn’t had them in the trailer since sometime last Summer. The first weekend I hitched up the trailer and parked it in the driveway. All they had to do was stand tied to the trailer, load in the trailer, eat some hay with the doors open, and unload nicely. Loading isn’t a big deal for either one of them, neither is backing out, but practice never hurts! Probably their biggest issue is getting used to the fact that one of them will be tied on one side of the trailer and the other on the opposite side so they may not necessarily be able to see each other. They’re doing pretty well with it and someday I will get tie rings added so I have the option to tie separately or together. The second day was more of the same, though I did alternate having one of the head-side doors closed while they were eating.
Last weekend I took it up a notch and parked the trailer in the cul-de-sac. It’s a whole 1000 feet from the barn which is nothing for us, but it’s a whole new environment to a horse. Once again I tied them on opposite sides of the trailer. This time though, I groomed them and we went for a very short ride, like 20 minutes. The wind was blowing that day so it wasn’t helping AT ALL with their ability to stand still and be non-spooky. We rode back to the trailer, untacked, and loaded them up. This time I shut the doors and hauled them a whole 1200 feet back to the house. When they finished munching on hay I unloaded them and put everything away.
This weekend I’m continuing the confidence building sessions. The cool thing is it helps me too – I have to hitch the trailer, work with both horses in/around it, and then back it into it’s parking spot. Today we practiced in the driveway and went for a ride again.
Afterwards I spent a couple hours scrubbing the trailer clean. I have more to do, but at least the green mold is gone and some of the adhesive that was left over from removing the pin stripes. It’s going to take a few more scrubbing sessions to finish up the adhesive removal process. I’m not really looking forward to it – one session was hard enough on my hands due to the chemicals. I guess I should find some better gloves, some that don’t disintegrate.