Friday, June 10, 2011

The New Cave On Wheels or We Haven't Won The Porcupine Game

We all know this was coming.

I sold my other trailer on Wednesday and bought the new one the nest day. It belonged to someone I know and who needed to sell it fast. It's a 1993 Trail-Et two horse straight-load bumper pull with lots of room for Royal. And it looks cool.

I don't have much experience backing up trailers, so last night I watched a bunch of Youtube videos on how to back up trailers. Most helpful was a series by a semi driver who broke it down into little steps that I was saying out loud to myself as I practiced backing in the local high school parking lot this morning. I'm sure I looked like I was nuts, but once I got out to the farm, I was able to back it into its spot with very little trouble. A few more times and I'll get the hang of it.

Royal was less enthusiastic about it. Besides the fact that its new! and weird! and different! which always sets him on edge, he hadn't been in a straight-load in years and the last time didn't end well. To make a long story short, he wiggled out of a 3'x1' escape door while still tied inside the trailer. And he didn't get badly hurt, only had a few scrapes.

I've previously mentioned that Royal had a tendency to turn around in the other trailer, which is just not an option in this one. That had to have made him nervous, since he had to carefully reconsider how to get out. It took about an hour to get all four feet in, with a lot of help from my trusty clicker and carrots. Then we got to the butt bar. Once Royal could stand in there for more than five seconds, I tried fastening the butt bar. I then found out that Royal is not totally respectful of pressure in Zone 4. He respects it in Zone 1 and yields off the halter like nothing, but is willing to blast through pressure in Zone 4. So he would hit the butt bar and lean on it. No panicking, just leaning, waiting for it to open. Then the new guideline became that if I went to unhook the butt bar and he started backing into it, I would walk up to his head, ask him to move forward and start over. He got that message pretty quick, and would wait for me to say "okay" before backing out, but we'll see if it sticks tomorrow when we go to Steepleview.

This is not an ideal situation, or even a very good situation. I would love to leave the trailer in his paddock for a while or just load him everyday for seven days before going anywhere, but that isn't practical right now. We'll just have to muddle through and try to make everything go as well as possible.

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