Monday 2 August 2021

It's Sweater Weather

 It got hot again this weekend. It doesn't feel as bad as it could because there is a haze in the air again so the sun isn't as strong as it can be, but that haze has trapped in the humidity at ground level. 

I decided that this weekend would be better spent with life lessons for Cisco instead of riding. Namely, more trailering experience. 

Every time that he's been on a car ride, Cisco has come off the trailer soaking wet with sweat. I totally admit that I've neglected getting this sorted out. Although I've had a 2-horse trailer for a few years, up until last fall, I didn't have confidence in my dad's truck that I used to pull it. One horse it had no problems with, but I didn't like how it felt with two horses on board. 

I do not want to arrive somewhere and have to tack up this sweaty creature!

Last fall my dad got a new, bigger truck, with more than enough power for my little trailer (also with a backup cam which is awesome for hooking up!). The issue has been finding a time that I can get the truck - my dad is a busy guy.

It worked out this weekend that I could do two days in a row. Cisco is going to need a whole lot more than that. 

As per usual, I loaded Phantom first to be Cisco's emotional support animal. He'll follow her anywhere and she's a pretty good traveller.

I had a couple of loading sessions earlier this summer with Cisco and they went pretty good, so I was hoping that I wasn't going to have to start from the beginning again. 

Day 1 - he was slow getting on, but it was always forward. Probably 5-7 minutes with me not making a huge fuss about it - I only cared that he continued to step forward. Once on they chilled for a few minutes before we went for a drive of a loop along the local roads. All of the roads in that area are dirt roads, so I drove quite slowly - there are some washboard sections near the intersections. 

Upon return to the barn, sure enough, I could smell the sweat emanating from Cisco before I dropped the ramp. He was soaking wet. (When I cleaned the trailer afterward, I thought he had peed in the middle of the stall - nope, it was sweat marks from where it had dripped down his legs.)

The wet marks are from the sweat that dripped off of him.

Day 2 - the big question was would he get on relatively easily or would we have to go back to the beginning? 

It took a few more minutes, but it was mostly forward steps again (he went backwards once on his own and once when he nose-butted me in my nose - while I was holding a whip - not his best decision). There was a period where his forward steps were literally an inch at a time, but they were still forward, so I would give him a short release before asking for another step. Once he is fully on he's pretty good about staying put, and sure enough, we were able to lock him in and head out. I'm sure he was on within 10 minutes, which to be honest kind of surprised me. I expected it to be much more of an issue. 

This time we went out to the highway. I hoped that the smoother road would help, although we had a stretch on the dirt roads at the beginning and end. I also put Cisco's sound-proof ear covers on him. He's quite noise sensitive, so maybe reducing the noises would help?

Yeah, no. He arrived a sweaty mess yet again.

Sweaty muzzle, sweat under his eyes, super sweaty body.

Granted, it was close to 30 degrees, and I had left the back canopy down, and there were two horses in there. This was the only time that Phantom has come off the trailer sweaty (just around her elbows) - was it hot in there due to the temperature, or did Cisco turn it into a sauna?

The ear coverings didn't make an obvious difference, so I don't think I'll bother with them again. 

I had set up my old phone as a video camera so that I could see what he's doing in case he has a hard time standing, causing him concern. I didn't see any reasons - he didn't seem to lose his balance and scramble at any point (I drive like a grandma with the trailer) so it appears to be all mental. 

It appears that Cisco is going to need a whole lotta miles before he comes off the trailer dry. 

If anyone has any ideas to try let me know! I'm not concerned about it taking a few minutes to get him on, I would just like him to arrive cool and relaxed. I don't want to use a sedative as I don't want him groggy and not able to balance, but I might have some Chill I can maybe try. I have a feeling though that it's just going to take time and experience. 


  1. I have a mare like this, and it just took practice. I started with very short trips to a local barn (<10min) and then built up to taking her grocery shopping with me. Now she is totally fine on the trailer if she has company. By herself is much improved but still a work in progress

  2. Just agreeing, it's a practice thing. I tried to make the trips super short and easy to start, and I still try to vary them so sometimes it's a fun/easy outing. We had a super long travel day for lessons a couple of weeks ago, so the next day I just drove them 10 minutes up the road to eat grass :)