|Ready, set, GO!|
Truthfully, I didn't really fully prepare for this maiden voyage adventure as well as I probably should have. I simply went with the assumption that Suzie, being as aged as she is, and being as passed around as she was, that she would have been in a straight haul at some point in her life.
Folks, never assume something.
A friend hauled out with me to the next town to take the horse's to the indoor and I pre-warned him that the horse's might not be totally cooperative loading and unloading. Suzie's first impression of the trailer was very balky - she didn't really enjoy the ramp aspect of it and I had a feeling that she didn't like the idea of a "tighter" space to load into. She also seemed a bit lost in the whole "self loading" I was attempting and would stop and back up every time I stopped to ease her on in. She wasn't being spooky or completely refusing to load, but she seemed pretty confused and frustrated with my requests for her to load.
|Mare says, "Let me outta here!"|
I will preface by saying that I've never really dealt with loading into straight hauls (pretty much everyone up here in this area have angle hauls) so I wasn't sure if I was just "doing it wrong" or confusing her. In the end, I pulled her leadrope over the center bumper pad and led her up through the opposite stall. She stood quiet as I clipped in the butt bar and didn't do much else.
Spud was a bit of a pain in the ass. In reality, I should have loaded him first. Every time I went to load him, he balked at the ramp. We played tug of war for a few seconds before he reluctantly followed me in and as soon as he loaded in, he tried to flip around and face the other way. No matter what I did, he would turn around to face backwards (which is fine) but there honestly isn't much room so his butt was ducking under the divider and hitting Suzie's legs.
|Suzie also christened the trailer with her shit.|
I actually had a few people message me on my Facebook about the trailer and how dangerous it is to have Spud able to swing underneath. I understand their concern, as it is valid. At this point, he does not swing under once he's already facing backwards. I had someone message me saying that if he were to fall, he'd fall under Suzie. Well, I suppose that is possible... but he is also tied in the trailer.
So, readers, what would you do? Would you put up a sheet of (removable) plywood for when Spud is being hauled in there or would you just leave it? Remember that I hauled him in an angle haul like this and the dividers in the angle haul were taller, too.
|Such a pretty Dressage horse.|
She didn't take any misstep or give any indication she was in pain, which was good to see. She got a bit amped up a few times passing the other horses, but other than speeding up and lifting her head a bit, she still responded well. We had some great walk to canter transitions, although it took her a few strides to get composure and "come back" to me and the bridle.
|Fat, fuzzy, and so cute.|
Again, the horses were a bit fussy to load but I shouldn't really blame them. The trailer smells pretty new and weird (paint) and it is a very new concept to them. I plan on, once the snow melts a bit more, to have a few loading and unloading sessions with them. I feel as though once I get them familiar with the trailer, they'll self-load like Emma's cool little mare in no time.
Operation Self-Load is a go!