Friday, September 14, 2012

Trailering goal

Calabar doesn't know it, yet, but we have a new goal--solo trailering.

Going out with Lena is one thing. They both load and trailer very well--as long as they are together and Calabar rides in front, of course. In fact, loading them these days mostly consists of getting of their way while they practically leap into the trailer. "Lena, can I shut the divider first before you climb in?"

Going out is a fun thing--as long as there is two of us
However, the last time I tried to take Calabar somewhere alone, it wasn't pretty, so I haven't done it again. I'm realizing we might have to work on that, though, even if he doesn't think it's a good idea.

Ex-racehorses generally trailer very well, even alone. When racing, they trailer a lot. I do have a vague memory of Calabar's trainer telling me he always pawed while riding in a trailer, but once we got him and started taking him out on trails with Lena, he became a champion hauler.

And then.

Our friend Devon has a mare of her own that had come off the track and she wanted to take Ursulita out on a mellow ride. Since I was still not doing a lot of fast work with Bar, we decided to take the two of them out to Doran Beach for a gentle outing.

Calabar loaded great and I decided to let him have the whole trailer so did not close the divider. That may have been a mistake.

As we left the barn, he began to get upset. Frantic is more like it. The trailer rocked back and forth as we drove through downtown Sebastopol and I'm probably lucky no one called the ASPCA on me. It's also a good thing he didn't fit through the window or he might have taken Main Street by storm. As it was, the other drivers got a really good look at how long his neck is.

So, after telling his ex-trainers how great he hauled, it was a little humbling to pull in to the barn and have them tell me they heard me coming from the time I made the turn onto their road. Sigh.

When Calabar saw Howie and the farm where he'd lounged around for a couple years after coming off the track and before coming to me, his eyes got HUGE. He was still dancing in place, but Ursulita just climbed on the trailer like it was no big deal.

Gotta love ex-racehorses. "Eh, big bouncing brown horse--no big deal."

And then we had a great time at the beach! Both the horses were good, nobody spooked, Calabar clambered over a big log just because I asked him to.

Look at us, well, Devon and Ursi--at the beach!
After our ride, Calabar would not load for me ("But we're going HOME!") so we loaded Ursulita first when we headed home and then dropped goof ball at home before taking Ursi back to her barn.

The very next time Steve and I went to take the horses out, Calabar flat out refused to load for me--even with Lena standing right there. It took him close to a year to let me load him again, though he would load for Steve most of the time.

Which brings us back to the present and the big brown horse who practically drags me onto the trailer now, having finally come to believe I am not taking him anywhere terrible.

A new horse friend has just adopted an ex-racehorse and will be ready to do some trail riding in awhile. She boards at a nice place that has several nice trails right off the property and invited us to come up sometime.

Hm. Can I bring a friend for my goofy horse? That's kind of awkward and imposing, though I didn't think of that until after I'd asked. Oops--color me rude.

So. It is time to practice solo trailering with Calabar. Probably we should do it with Lena, too, just for good measure. Forrest the wonder horse already trailers well all alone. Show off. Goes swimming, too. Super show off.

I think I know all the tricks to get this started--load, unload, load, unload, short trips, unload, load, repeat--and the biggest trick of all is patience and persistence. I'd like to think perhaps I'm not giving Calabar the benefit of the doubt and he'll suddenly be fine with this, but only actually trying this will answer that question.

Field trip!

1 comment:

lmel said...

Good for you--yes, practice makes perfect so they say. I think horses remember bad experiences better than good. Harley was delivered to me at, shall we say, a rapid pace...he's not fond of trailers now. In fact, I couldn't load him to come home one time from a ride and had to hack home. Good thing it was only across town! Now we need to get our own trailer (we'd borrowed one) so we can work on this "issue".