Friday, August 22, 2014

the rig - part 2

So I finally have my rig! The trailer dealer gave me a really capital crash course on parking the thing ("when reversing, move the bottom of the steering wheel in the direction you want the trailer to go"). And my truck conveniently has a bumper sticker right smack in the middle of the cap's rear window - which makes hitching up fairly simple. 

together at last!

But how do I get the pony on the damn thing? At this point, it was essentially just a shiny lawn ornament and Isabel was NOT impressed with it. 

Since it was pretty critical to me that the loading/unloading be a sure thing, I decided to get help from a pro. I needed to know that I could get Isabel back onto the trailer in new and unfamiliar settings - and do so by myself. 

We had two sessions with the pro - with him doing the handling and explaining his methods and purpose to me. (he says it normally only takes one session, and I believe that... but we are speshul lol)


installing the buttons

His approach is to simply ask the horse for 'forward.' It isn't about asking the horse to get into the trailer - the trailer is actually just sort of incidentally there, kind of in the way of forward progress.

He uses a dressage whip as an extension of his arm, and rhythmically taps the hindquarters to ask for forward. ANY forward movement - even just a lean - is rewarded. But as soon as the forward movement stops, the tapping starts up again. 

Slowly but surely - Isabel figured it out. 


success!

The trick was really in teaching me how to press the right 'buttons' to get the same effect. He's a pro for a reason - he's got the timing and energy thing down pat. It took a little more effort for me to get the same results, but we got there!


success replicated, sans pro! (she is thrilled, clearly)

But the lesson was learned, and Isabel now hops in and out of the trailer on the first try. 

off the property like it ain't no thang

So we are officially road-worthy and have been hauling out for weekly lessons since May!

4 comments:

  1. Hooray for a trailer!! And hooray for hauling yourself places!!

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    1. thanks! now that i'm used to it, it's no big deal. have to admit, tho - definitely drove with white knuckles the first time lol

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  2. Fabulous! So important for them to load and unload calmly =)

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    1. seriously! esp bc she doesn't belong to me, i did NOT want to mess around with any off-property issues

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