Friday 18 May 2018

Other Things This Week

Since there was a clinic on last Sunday and I couldn't use the arena, I decided to tackle another thing that I need to make Cisco comfortable with - trailering. Well, start tackling.

Remember that he had never been inside anything other than a 3 - sided shelter until last spring. So it's pretty easy to understand why trailering is a bit stressful for him.

He was trailered twice last year - the first time I borrowed a friend and her 4 horse trailer and it took us over 2 hours to get him on. And he arrived in a lathery, sweaty mess. The second time was in my 2 horse straight haul when we moved last summer. I had practiced loading him for a couple of weeks previous, and his big sister Phantom was the key to get him on. He'll follow her anywhere. On the day that we moved, he was very good about getting on and seemed to travel well, but he still arrived sweaty (he's a nervous sweater).
This was the first successful loading last summer. 
So I know that trailering will need some practice, especially to get him to the point that I can trailer him alone. Now that the weather is finally good, it's time to get this training happening.

So on Sunday I put air in the tires, pulled the trailer out, and then cleaned it out (winter storage of some extra blankets). Then I led Speedy Gonzales and The Turtle over to the trailer. The goal for the day was to get them both on, and then see from there what we could manage. I wasn't planning on taking them for a drive, just get them on, hopefully with little stress.
I need to do a post up about my Böckmann trailer one day.
Phantom mostly (usually) self-loads. She's not confirmed enough that I can just throw the lead over her neck and guarantee that she will get on, so I thread a lunge line through a ring at the front and down the side and can use that to guide her on while I stand at the side of the trailer. (She's not confirmed at completely self-loading because she often decides that she needs to pee before getting in the car. So she gets on, but doesn't take that last step so that I can do up the butt-bar, then comes off, and when re-presented parks out somewhere on the way in - which could include while on the ramp - pee, and then walk right on. Which usually means that I end up with pee all over my foot as it runs off the side of the ramp and I forget to remove my foot from the pee path.)

She remembered what to do and hopped right on. Next was Cisco.

I led him up. He was pretty good and got to the top of the ramp before going backwards. But that was as far as he would go. So I grabbed a dressage whip that lives in the trailer for this purpose and gave him a couple of light taps. Which resulted in another step forward. So I repeated the tapping, and he kept taking another step, and soon enough (with only a couple of re-attempts needed) he was on the trailer.
Again, last year. I was going to take some pictures on Sunday but that's when the extra dancing started.
So that went better than I anticipated. Phantom, however, was not amused at having to babysit. She was pawing and dancing around, and refused to eat the treats that I put in the manger in front of her. Her fussing was worrying Cisco, but he was trying very hard to be brave. I secured him in with the chest and butt bars up, and that was going okay, so I walked around to put the ramp up. But when I got back there Phantom started dancing even more, and Cisco thought he should maybe get excited, so he kind of sat on the butt bar (with his hind legs off the ground and kind of swimming). So I just yelled at them and thought I better call it a day while I was still ahead. Both horses unloaded very nicely and we went back to the barn.

There I tortured them again. I finally remembered to bring out dewormer. Cisco was rather excited to get some apple sauce squirted in his mouth again - but I bamboozled him with ivermectin! The apple sauce training totally worked - last time I dewormed him it took at least 5 minutes to get the syringe in his mouth. This time I just popped it right in. He's pretty smart though, and I don't know if he will fall for it a second time, so I will need to practice with apple sauce on occasion before the next time he gets his medicine.

Phantom was good as usual. She just looked terribly unimpressed with how her day was going. The trick with her is that I need to feed her before she gets her dewormer, because once she has that taste in her mouth she won't eat anything else for a bit, including treats. She was quite sulky when I turned her out.
Phantom needed some kitty cuddles to feel better.
Wednesday was pedicure day. When I arrived my two were the last two to be done. So I brought them in together and tied them up in the barn to wait their turn. Phantom immediately went to sleep. Cisco didn't.

He actually was super good to get his feet done, which is normal, but then stood amazingly patiently while Phantom got her feet done. That's a first. He didn't have his toy to play with anymore, and he didn't settle in for a nap, but stayed quietly alert.

After the farrier was done I wanted to clip some of the remaining winter hair from them. Phantom was still rocking the winter hairy legs, while Cisco just had long curly fetlock hair.
She's a lumberjack, and she's okay.
Out came the clippers. I wasn't doing a close clip on Phantom, I just wanted the long hairs to be a normal length. I only screwed up a couple of times and took a chunk out of the back of each hind leg. It'll grow back.

This is Cisco's third time being clipped. He stood perfectly still for me to do his fetlocks. So I decided to tackle his bridlepath, which he has not let me do before. But he did this time! I mean, he didn't drop his head right down to make it easy for me. But he kept it still, and I blindly reached up behind his ears with the clippers and buzzed off some mane. Probably too much, and I don't think it was straight, but I'll finesse it next time.

I'm happy to see that some of the little things I've been working on with Cisco are paying off - on the ground at least!


  1. Your trailer is gorgeous! I've never heard of that brand, but looks similar to a brenderup? You should definitely post about it 🙂 and I'm glad that all your work on the ground is paying off with Cisco! Such a ham in that blanket GIF haha

  2. gotta love it when trailering (even just practice) goes so smoothly! also that pic with the kitty is too cute omg

  3. Your trailer is so interesting and looks very aerodynamic!