Thursday, January 15, 2009

Horse trailer snafu

I mentioned last night that I worked with Panama yesterday on loading into the trailer. I did eventually get some good results, but not before a bit of a snafu!

Panama had just had his grain when I arrived, so I decided to try loading him without grain as incentive. I figured, it went pretty well last time, so it shouldn't be too difficult this time, right?

Wrong! He clearly thought I was crazy for wanting him to get onto the trailer. I set my goal low — just one or two feet in the trailer of his own accord would do — but even that took almost an hour.

There were times when I thought for sure Panama would put a foot on for me, but he'd always change his mind and back away. I tried getting in the other side and looping the lead rope through the partition to get him to load straight. I also tried it being in the same stall as I was trying to get him to load into — I've loaded him into a trailer like that before, but a bigger trailer with more room to slip underneath the partition. (This trailer wouldn't work for that, but I figured there was no way he was getting far enough in to squish me.)

One thing Panama kept doing was catching his lead rope in the latches, which are on the end of the partition. Almost every time he'd stop pulling almost immediately and wait for me to rescue him; if he didn't stop right away, scolding him usually brought him to his senses. Unfortunately, one time he pulled hard enough that he actually pulled the trailer right off the block! The thing moved about a foot before he stopped pulling and meekly waited for my help.

Despite that little snafu, I did eventually get Panama to put one foot in the trailer — twice. The first time he pulled it back almost as soon as he set it down, as if the trailer floor was a hot potato. But with a little praise and coaxing, he repeated the performance a few minutes later — and actually put weight on it! He looked so bewildered when I immediately gave him a treat and showered him in praise.

One thing I noticed helped me to finally get Panama into the trailer was when I went into the trailer and squatted down in a relaxed pose, holding the lead rope. I don't know if it was because I appeared more relaxed or because he was curious about what I was doing, but that's when we made real progress. Too bad there's not room for me to hang out with him in there — I think that would help him a lot in getting over his fear of the trailer!

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4 Comments:

At January 17, 2009 at 9:13 PM, Blogger Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I hope your trailer loading efforts turn out successful.

My mare likes it better, too when I'm inside just hanging out with her.

~Lisa

 
At January 19, 2009 at 4:17 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

I still have yet to figure out how to get that trailer back up on the block. It's my trainer's trailer -- we don't own a trailer OR a truck, so I don't know the first thing about getting that trailer back up on the block. I need to try again to get a hold of my trainer.

I think Panama is getting better about the trailer, at least from where he was at after the last trip, and I have faith that in time he'll be at least accepting of it, if not completely willing.

 
At June 6, 2009 at 6:58 PM, Blogger Laughing Orca Ranch said...

We're you ever able to get it back up on the block?
I won't ever load a horse from a trailer not hooked up to a truck, not even my llamas. It's too easy for the horse or large animal to knock the trailer loose, or for the trailer to go rolling with all that weight on it, not to mention the damage that can happen to the trailer should it drop down on it's stand or tongue.

I hope you were able to get it all worked out, though.

~Lisa

 
At June 14, 2009 at 8:04 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Lisa, I actually did get the trailer up on the block today and practiced some more with Panama. I have a post about it scheduled for tomorrow. :o)

 

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