It’s probably safe to wager that every single blogger out there has at least one post about trailer loading.
Being stranded with a stubborn donkey is never fun.
I had spent Thursday evening working on trailer loading in anticipation of hauling to the lesson Friday. By the time we finished he was on and off no issue. Friday morning he loaded right up at home again no issue.
Yet there I found myself, confidence a bit shaky, in a torrential downpour with my horse refusing to get on the trailer. It was embarrassing. I almost left him on consignment.
Of course it wasn’t entirely his fault. The rain probably felt wonderful on his lathered skin after that lesson, a giant puddle had formed right at the base of the ramp and some dumbass had parked the trailer in such a way that he had to walk through a tree to load straight. Ahem.
Still though. Flashbacks to being stranded at a trail head with Gem for 2 hours were running through my head.
As soon as the rain stopped, C came over to help and with her at front and me behind he leaped over the puddle and on the trailer the first try.
I’m very good at making mistakes. I hate making them twice.
Saturday I wanted him to have off figuring he’d be pretty sore after the lesson but the trailer was still hooked up so right before dinner I worked on self loading.
My go to set up is as below and it worked wonders for getting Gem to load. She never got to self loading status but I also never tried. I was happy she even got on it.
The first time I led him on to show him it was the same as the past two days and he walked straight on. Good boy.
Then I hooked up the longe and grabbed my dressage whip. The only thing I dislike about this set up is that he can still swing to the near side of the trailer but I figured that was his problem and he could figure out how to load on an angle if he was going to be stupid about it.
It took about 15 minutes before he was on and off like this with me standing outside the trailer.
I gave him a long grazing break and then hooked up the regular lead line and worked on him getting on with that.
The first time he tried to bulldoze through me which earned him a good smack with the whip on his shoulder. He didn’t try that again.
Maybe 5 minutes later and he was a self loading machine. I took him in for dinner, grabbed the other two, groomed everyone and then on the way back to the pasture we worked on it again.
He had retained it well and was getting on all by his lovely self with a few clucks from me. His best feature is how well he retains things. Hopefully this will prevent future issues with loading.