Sunday, October 11, 2009

A failed trailering attempt

My wonderful, very helpful trainer agreed to try to move Panama today when she came out to pick up the trailer, which the barn owner threatened to sell for scrap last night during his tantrum. She and her husband devoted an hour and a half of their afternoon to trying to load Panama.

Which didn't happen.

Panama was pretty fired up today — he knew something was different, since he'd spent the night in the far pasture alone, and I'm sure he'd felt all kinds of vibes coming off of me and the barn owner the night before. I noticed it even when I went out there to remove his blanket — he just about lost his marbles when I started to lift it off, and ran side to side (while tied) until the blanket fell off. I just had to get out of the way and wait until he stopped freaking out. When he finished, I gave him a short refresher course on blanket desensitization.

I left for a few hours, and came back around 3:00 pm. My trainer was coming to pick the trailer up around 4:00, and I wanted time to brush and lunge Panama. He was a bit jittery, but lunged deceptively well.

The trailer was an entirely different story. Panama wanted his grain, oh yes, but there was no way in he!! he was getting into the trailer to get it. My trainer's husband was helping, but unfortunately he had the tug-of-war approach, and you just don't win tug-of-war with a horse. Plus, Panama has always tended to fight back all the harder if you try, so he reared today for the first time in two years.

We switched tactics a few times, and for a while it looked like we would get Panama on. My trainer remembers how Panama is, and kept encouraging to make the decision to get on himself. Unfortunately, at one point her husband decided to try to push Panama on — Panama was nearly all the way on, and he put his shoulder below Panama's rump and just started pushing. At first it seemed like it was working, but then Panama exploded backward to get out of the "trap." After that Panama was afraid of him, and my trainer had to ask her husband to go wait out of sight.

If we'd had a little longer, we probably would have gotten Panama on the trailer eventually, as he quieted a bit and seemed much more inclined to get on once there was no tug-of-war involved. Unfortunately, my trainer had to be someplace at 6:00, so we had to stop around 5:30.

Because of the barn owner's threat, my trainer and her husband took the trailer with them when they left. Tomorrow, however, my trainer will be able to borrow a somewhat larger two-horse trailer without a partition, so it should look much less confining than the one we were working with today. We're also going to allow ourselves several hours to get him on.

Keep your fingers crossed that we'll be able to get Panama moved tomorrow!

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