|"What are this?"|
The leadrope was wrapped around her neck, FYI.
Need I mention this was during an arctic outflow warning and -19C weather?
We just roll like that in the north.
I pulled Annie out and stuffed a few handfuls of grain into a bucket (because I am the worst Horse Mom ever and rarely bring treats with me to the barn. But to be fair, Spud solidified my choice in not feeding treats regularly when he decided to try and bite Suzie while she was taking a treat from me and ended up chomping on my hand. Yah... not cool little pony. Not cool).
I let Annie investigate everything as I pulled open the doors and dropped the ramp - she softly snorted and looked pretty anxious, but was listening to my body language and assessing the situation. That is something I really enjoy about her - she won't freak out about something without first assessing what is going on.
|Clearly, I traumatized her.|
The ground-work I had been doing with her helped immensely, as when I asked her to back out she immediately obeyed (even though she was kind of like "Why are we backing out of the trailer?"). I repeated the exercise three more times and each time tried to get her to be more self-sufficient.
For example, on the second attempt at loading, I attempted to get her to self-load (which was a fail), but I had her stand in the trailer quietly as I jumped out the escape door, walked around and did up the butt bar for her to feel it. She set back on the butt bar on our third time loading, but only because I think she was caught off-guard by the fact it wouldn't budge and she seemed like she wasn't totally sure how to fix it. I wandered over to the front of the trailer and grabbed her leadrope through the side window and clucked her up. She seemed pretty relieved that I had helped her, which was a bit hilarious since all she had to do was literally move one step forwards.
|"But... but... I need someone to hold my hand... er hoof."|
We will keep practicing with it, and little by little I know she will get the hang of self-loading and backing out on her own. I don't intend to make use of the escape door too much, as I don't necessarily want to be in the trailer with her as she loads/unloads, but for now it works for us and I am glad to have an "escape route" should things ultimately go south.