Spent most of today trying to get Bruce and Iona comfortable with the trailer. My agenda was to have them both relaxed in the front section, let them eat hay awhile, congratulate myself on my fabulous horsemanship, etc. etc.
What really happened is that Iona did pretty well, confidence wise, but I didn't have a clear enough plan as to how I was going to keep her straight while I put Bruce in. The trailer interior is about 16' long, with a swinging partition that divides it into a front and back section. My intention was to put the Fells in the front section and the horses in the rear. I thought I would just get one in and relaxed, tie to bars at front, load 2nd one, close partition and go have lunch. Wrong.
The Dreaded Stock Trailer!!
There's plenty of room to turn around in there. They both know that. Therefore, when I tie one (well, only dallied the rope so far!) they get worried because they can't turn. And although I did only dally the rope, it was enough to give each of them a wee fright. (Yes, that's right - I made the mistake with one, and repeated it with the other, just to confirm my findings. Doh!)
Bruce's confidence was wobbly, at best, anyway, so now he thinks the trailer is a deathtrap. Iona is much more pragmatic about the whole thing. "If I have to do it, okay. Let's see whether I have to." Bruce even put in a running away performance in three acts. Oh, well. That provided one of the better laughs of the afternoon, when on one occasion after chasing him for a bit, I managed to draw him back toward me, and when I saw him following me I ran down the drive with him chasing me.
I ended on the best note I could, but felt very down this evening. I knew that I had been too direct line. Somehow I couldn't seem to get my head around using this type of trailer and just wanted the comfort of my old two horse straight load. What I began to realise is that to use this trailer with excellence, it's really got to be about loading at liberty. Especially since it's a great trailer for allowing them to travel loose. Then I felt frustrated because I need to be ready to take them all on a trip by Friday morning.
I have loaded them at liberty in the past, both into a straight load and a slant. In the end I decided that I am likely to get too tense and too direct line with this time frame, so I did what I considered to be the Savvy thing and rang the dentist. He said that he is happy to arrange to come to us in the next few weeks, so that will allow me the chance to do this for them rather than to them! It will also allow me to do something in the next 48 hours other than trailer load. Exciting things like putting up a fence and going to the laundromat. Now I just need the self discipline to continue with it.