On Friday's ride on Cisco we started, um, slow. His donkey face was on right at the beginning. My assistant gave me a lead a couple of times, bt it didn't stick and he kept stopping. We decided to just put him on the lunge and do some more trot, hoping that the idea of forward would help. We had a couple of upwards transitions that were off of my leg and seat, so he is getting the idea. I just need a way to back it up that it's non-negotiable. So we are going to spend the next couple days back with some groundwork to reinforce the forward buttons. Tap tap with the whip means go forward.
The farrier had been out the day before. Getting his feet trimmed was probably the most relaxed I have seen Cisco so far. He generally comes in and stays quiet, but I haven't seen him just stand and chill yet. He's always watching. But this time he just stood relaxed.
Phantom is the opposite and pretty well chills everywhere. And she only wakes up when the food is brought out. I just left her with all of her fly gear on to make life easier for everyone involved. She stood fine, but I noticed that after hot fitting a new shoe on her left front (before it was nailed on) she was really uncomfortable standing on it. She kept picking it up, and touching it back down, then picking it up again. So I had a feeling that she would be a bit off the next day. And, because I know my princess all to well, she was.
But we had a challenge we had to work on - having Cisco ready to trailer. I wanted to move them to a new facility this weekend, and had to decide if if would be safe to move them in my 2-horse straight haul, or if I should borrow someone and a 3-horse slant.
|My wonderful Boeckmann Big Master.|
Last summer I had taken my trailer over to my friend who owned Cisco and we worked on getting him on. The first day was about getting him to step on the ramp. Day 2 we got mainly on the trailer. Day 3 we were on! Whoo hoo!
Day 4 - I screwed up and pushed him too much. Don't forget that this was a horse who had never been inside anything. We did the butt bar up. Then I tried to put up the ramp. And he panicked. And managed to back himself off the trailer by going under the butt bar. I must admit I was impressed at how much he was able to flex his back to scoot under there! But this was definitely a setback.
When I bought him this spring I hired a friend who has a 4 horse angle that we could leave him loose inside of. The trailer was a step-up and fairly dark inside. It took us almost 2 hours to get him on. Although in the end, he figured it out and we were able to use it as a training opportunity and unloaded him and loaded him about 3 times. I think he pawed all the way on the 1/2 hour drive to the new place and arrived soaking wet.
I knew that having him trailerable would be a summer project. I have no problem with taking my time and teaching my horse in steps so that it would be easy in the end. When I got my trailer Phantom would get on and immediately back off. She now self-loads. But I took the time and we practiced loading. So I have been doing the same with Cisco. He was at the same point as Phantom at the beginning of this week - he would get on, but I was having a hard time getting him to stand. I know that he was still nervous. And I knew that giving him a trailer buddy would make a huge difference.
|Both horses are on!|
And I was right. Phantom was a rock star of a babysitter, and stood quietly on the trailer all through our practice sessions. Thursday Cisco stood where I needed him to, and we put the butt bar up a couple of times for a minute or two. Friday he was in, secured, munching on some pellets, and very relaxed. (Phantom was a little sulky as I gave her the same inferior alfalfa pellets. Totally unacceptable.) Saturday - Cisco pretty well hopped right on. We secured him in right away. Then the ramp. I put it up very slowly. No reaction on his part. I shut up the top. No dancing horses inside. Excellent! Let's do this!
|What's through this door? More food?|
We were off! It's only about a 10 minute drive away (by car with no trailer). However, when you miss the turn, It's more like half hour away. Thankfully I have been practicing my backing skills, so I was quite confident in my ability to back onto another road in order to turn the trailer around and get back on track. Which I did like a champ.
We finally arrived. When I opened up the trailer, both horses were standing quietly, but Cisco was super sweaty. It was a hot morning, but I'm pretty sure nerves were the main cause. He unloaded very calmly, as did Phantom, and they were both turned out in their new field with about 5 other horses.
|See those two little white dots in the middle of the screen? That's Phantom and Cisco, avoiding the rest of the herd.|