Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Trailering, part 1

Since I'm waiting until I have some help this weekend to start riding her, I decided I'd work on trailering instead. Of course, I picked the moment when the clouds opened up a torrential downpour, so even though I pulled the trailer into the arena, it was loud and dark--perfect nervous horsey weather (generally what I work in now, which is a good thing because if she can do stuff when there are so many distractions, it'll be so much easier on a nice sunny day).

My horses tend to be a little nervous when they see the trailer anyway, which is my fault for not hauling them very much (and for only ever hauling Brandy to the vet). Sage was a bit wary about being caught at first, but mostly because the other horses were jostling around. She calmed down as soon as I had the halter on, as her motto in life seems to be "No big deal."

I figured this all would take a while, so I opened the door to the trailer and let Sage loose in the arena with her halter on. She did a little exploring:

I suppose this is all right...

But I'm not really sure, either.

Sage hasn't been in the trailer since she came home. I let her take her time. I got up in the trailer, and first I just rewarded her for standing there at the door. When she stood calmly there, I walked away ("released") and came back again. She anticipated where this was going and hopped up into the trailer the third time around without really being asked. I told her she was a good girl and taught her how to back out. She didn't like this much, because she was unsure of her footing. Thankfully the arena sand is the best surface to learn on, so I taught her to back out three times. Then, I decided she was being mature enough that she could turn around and come out facing forward, which she liked a lot better.

She was being such a good girl that I decided I'd give her a little bit of grain inside the trailer. I made up a bowl for her and placed it in the back corner, and she was more than eager to go in and eat on her own.

I kept the session short: 15 minutes or so. Tomorrow we'll work again, and we'll work on closing the divider and the door. Then, we'll add driving to that. One step at a time, though!

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