We all know that trailer loading is a big issue for me. Mostly because Poseidon and I had an accident with a trailer, the one time I tried loading him, back in my innocent and foolish youth.
He loaded and someone slapped the bar shut behind him instantly. I had not had time to escape under the front bar, so when the horse panicked, I was in a very tight space with him. I ended up on the floor, underneath him. To this day, I am not entirely sure how I got out of there.
Still, those kind of things leaves an impression on you. And on the horse. Poseidon never loaded again, (without sedation, the two times I HAD to drive him,) and this is as close as we got to becoming friends with the trailer in 15 years. I am still very proud of this picture, only those who knows what it is like to work with true fear, in yourself and your horse, can understand how awesome it might be to stand on the ramp of a bloody trailer, nowhere near loading…
It took us about a year to teach Apollon to load, that was Poseidon’s brother, and even if he didn’t have any bad experiences, he was claustrophobic. He learned though. I didn’t. I hated it. The one time we drove him to the beach, I was panic stricken, sure he would tear the trailer apart on the freeway, half way there.
We spent all this summer training Saleem, and he can load, but he is still unsure of being driven alone, which is why we still train him.
We did drive him alone across country this summer and he did fine, but I am not satisfied just yet, so maybe we are mostly training me…
Apocalipse decided to help me get over my trailer fears. He even taught Marble for me as well.
Marble has been a huge problem. She has been terrified, she has been screaming “hell no!” in any language she knew how, and even if I managed to lure her into the trailer last week, using treats and patience, I hated it, and she hated it.
So, we used a different tactic yesterday. Park the trailer in the pasture and open in. Apocalipse ran up on his own accord, and stayed up there, untied, just waiting for me and Marble to follow him.
We didn’t get all of it in video, honestly I knew Apocalipse was cool, but I didn’t know he was THAT cool.
I never keep them up there for too long, not when they are a bit unsure of the situation, and Marble still was.
Still, in about the time it took to shoot these three videos, Marble went from being scared, to loading alone, before Apocalipse came up to her, and she didn’t mind being in the trailer alone.
I have rarely been so proud of any of my horses. Apocalipse was amazing. Truly brilliant. And Marble was so brave, and so sensible… I can hardly believe it. I loaded two horses, and I was not afraid at all.
You will notice, I stay in Apocalipse’s room, not Marbles. I trust him to not panic and explode in my face. He is the only one of my horses I trust like that. I never load any horse, other than him, in the same room. I learned my lesson with Poseidon…
Still, it was a bit of a problem, training Saleem yesterday, because Apocalipse and Marble kept running into the trailer. In the end, my friend had to hold Apocalipse in the halter, away from the trailer, so I could get a chance to ask Saleem up. Once he loaded, Marble ran around on the ramp behind him… he didn’t freak out… Maybe he is learning after all…
One thing is for sure, those two little ones… They are amazing!