Sunday, July 10, 2011


I had plans to take Chrome to his first horse show, just to walk around and experience the sights and sounds of a boarding barn, but we didn't get to go. We made the necessary repairs to the trailer yesterday and got up early this morning to take him. He loaded perfectly onto the trailer (I was so PROUD) and stood still while my husband raised the ramp and secured it. I fed him treats while my husband went to get the doors that we forgot to put back on the top. I don't have a halter that's safe for tying so I normally haul Chrome loose and he's acted like he wants to jump out so we always haul with the top doors closed. I'm going to get a safe halter (can't tie in a rope halter) and one of those quick release bungee ties so we can start teaching him to haul tied. I'm just worried because it doesn't have a center divider so he can easily set back against it and panic. If there was a center divider his butt would hit the back of the trailer and he wouldn't be able to sit back against the halter . . . we will just have to see.

Anyway as soon as the doors went up and closed Chrome turned around to see what was going on (yes he still fits to turn around in a two horse straight load). He turned back around because I was at the front of the trailer with the door open. Then he proceeded to poop in the trailer, which he's never done before. He pooped three more times before we left the driveway. As we were driving we could feel him turn around two more times which made me really nervous. What if he tripped and fell? We remembered that we forgot to check the air pressure in the tires so we stopped at a gas station when we got to town. When I went to check on Chrome he was drenched in sweat. I'm talking about it looked like someone had poured a bucket of water over him. It was early in the morning, but already very, very muggy. So I decided to take him home. I figured it was a decent hauling experience, he didn't get hurt, who cares if we didn't get to go to the show. I was glad later that we didn't get to go when I found out the high for today was 103F with a heat index of 115F because of the humidity. Good grief!!!!

So we took him home and I unloaded him. There was not a dry spot on the floor of the trailer. I can't believe how much he sweated and pooped. Poor guy. As soon as it cools off, since we have a truck with an automatic transmission, I'm going to learn to pull the trailer and start taking him on short trips to get him used to hauling so he isn't so nervous. I hosed him off twice and let him graze a bit. I was happy that he even let me run water over his muzzle and cheeks. I didn't get his eyes or ears because I don't want to teach him to pull his head back. I'm disappointed that we didn't get to go, but so proud of how well my boy did. I think the difference, aside from the insane heat, is that Faran was neighing at him and that got him excited. Normally there isn't anyone neighing so he's cool going for a ride. I hope he calms down again. He'd also been playing with Faran and Zep all morning while we prepped so he was already a little hot.

I worked with him tonight on yielding his forequarters and he did great!! The first couple of times he still moved his rear legs, so it was more of a sidepass, but I was clicking before a rear hoof actually moved so by the end of the session he was stepping over with just his front hoof. We've only got one step so far, but he does it off of such light pressure! I barely use any pressure at all. I'll slowly fade out the right hand until he's moving his shoulders with just my left hand on his ribs, then I'll ask for more steps. When he's doing that in a full circle I'm going to teach him to move his haunches over with pressure where my heel would be instead of on his hip. When he's doing both really well separately (on both sides) I'll press both places at once for a sidepass. Then when he's under saddle he'll already know the cues from knee or heel pressure, or both. :D It's going to be a long process, but totally worth it. I love how maneuverable he is considering the pony I grew up with had no clue how to move body parts under saddle (or even her shoulders on the ground). Chrome is so smart!

I also did Chase the Tiger again and he did great. He was so full of himself this evening. He was even bronco bucking when he galloped up from the pasture. He's really understanding that I want him to play and is offering GORGEOUS trots and pretty canters easily. He likes to strike at it with his front hooves too. The only weird thing I'm going to have to work on is that when I click and stop moving the handkerchief (Tiger) he runs over it, stops and gives an impressive kick with one hind leg . . . every time. I'm not even rewarding that part, but it's becoming a habit already. I think instead of leaving the Tiger on the ground when I click I'm going to raise the whip so it lifts off the ground. Then maybe he'll quit kicking. I don't want him to learn that it's a good thing.

I also tried working on having him put his hoof on a hoof stand, but he was being uncooperative so I let it go. I think I'm going to build a pedestal out of an old tractor tire and work with that first. He just doesn't understand putting his hoof on something. I did accidentally teach him to paw though lol! I don't really want him to do it right now though because the ground is so hard and he stomps his hoof hard. I don't want to damage his hooves or joints so I'll move on to something else and come back to that when it rains (which we haven't had in a couple of months). It'll be easy to teach him to count at least. :D

Well, sorry this got so long. If you made it to the end, thanks for reading!!


  1. Of course I'd read it until the end :-). Horses always poop in the trailer, a lot. At least that has been my experience, I think it's payback or something. It's too bad you couldn't take him to the show, but I think I'd be dripping in seat with that heat and humidity, WOW! I really do like the Pacific Northwest, we really don't have humidity issues. Today was 79 and probably no more that 35% humidity, pretty typical.
    It's probably good you just turned around and went home after you aired up. Nice uneventful ride for Chrome.
    I would love to see videos of Chrome running and broncing towards you. What fun!
    All of that pre prep pressure training (say that 3 times fast) you're doing is going to really pay off I think, very good thinking. I'm so glad you're blogging about this experience, I really enjoy following along.
    Stay cool!

  2. The guy who owns the kennel we go to also has horses which he competes with in barrel racing. He has an air conditioned trailer about the size of a house. I think he can put six horses and their gear in there. You need one of those.

    Mango Momma

  3. That was a thoughtful decision to bring him home. Hopefully you can get him to another show this season when he's had more trailer time. I used a bungee trailer tie with Misty at first and one time she tried to exit the trailer rapidly while still tied and it was a bit scary. She almost got a back hoof onto the ground with the bungee stretched to the max and she was still pulling against it when a Pro came to our aid and encouraged her to move forward. Then they advised me not to use the bungee cuz sometimes they break. They are popular though and that was when she was new to trailering and unsure of it. I've been using a Tie Safe Trailer Tie. If they fall or pull back hard enough, the Velcro is supposed to separate and release them. We've not had an issue to test it out though. I know others who use The Clip, so that the lead rope will slide some if they pull back.

    There sure is a lot to consider with trailer safety. I hadn't thought about the type of halter to use. What kind will you get? A regular nylon halter or a special breakaway halter?

  4. We always use breakaway halters when hauling our horses. We have a 2 horse straight load with a divider in the middle. It seems ours stand quieter and more relaxed when clipped at the halter and the butt bar up.

    We have trailered Riva with another one of our horses and alone - she gets better every trip. Keep at it!


I appreciate all comments, advice and questions! Your comments are what makes blogging so worth it. I love to hear from my followers, so thanks for taking the time to share your comments. :)