Posts Tagged ‘problem horse loading in a trailer’

PHOTOS FROM YESTERDAY – HOMECOMING – AT LAST

We did it. Star and I completed a month of learning with the illustrious, indefatigable, incredible horse trainer, Jim Frazier.

The man is unending. His stamina. His dedication. His knowledge and experience. He’ll turn seventy on 9-11-17 and he kicks my butt for endurance. A truly remarkable guy.

I think some people send their horses to Jim for training and expect to pick them up a month later all ready to ride and go. Not me. Not my dear friend Janice; who had her horse there with Jim the month before Star burst onto the scene. We knew we needed to learn as much as our horses…in tandem…in harmony…lessons with Jim and our horses in a huge arena never to be forgotten. Lessons imbedded in our minds to go home with and practice, practice, practice.

Jim’s words ring in my ears. “THERE’S THE EASY WAY AND THE HARD WAY.”

At first it was, “WHY DID YOU GET YOURSELF A SADDLEBRED?!”  um…me in a small voice…”he was a rescue of sorts and I fell in love”…Jim sheeshing me. (his body language…nutso horse-lover-girl doesn’t know better). Then admitting, “WELL I TRULY BELIEVE THE 3 SMARTEST BREEDS IN ORDER ARE ARABIANS, SADDLEBREDS AND THOROUGHBREDS…THE 3 MOST HOT-HEADED BREEDS…BUT ONCE YOU GET THEIR HEADS CONNECTED TO THEIR LEGS THEY CAN TURN INTO SOMETHING GOOD.”

In my opinion, we got good. Good enough to come home with Jim’s approval and encouragement to; “KEEP GOING WITH HIM. YOU CAN’T GIVE HIM VACATION TIME. HE’S GREEN. HE NEEDS WORK.” Roger that.

However…I am giving Star the 4th of July off. He’s been ridden and worked and scolded and praised for many days in a row now. In my humble opinion he deserves to snooze in the barn with his girlfriend Gypsy, graze and lollygag around, and maybe pluck a few apples from the trees with his endlessly long neck.

Last night I hung out with them in the barn, Gypsy on one side of me, Star on the other, stroking their necks and heads and talking silly love-gooberish. I think Gypsy yawned a dozen times as their eyes got droopy and their bodies started swaying. I almost fell asleep too.  I think we were all feeling blissful-zoned-out-tired-contentment.

I texted Jim this morning… ‘It was a happy barn this morning and I am gonna spend the 4th pampering my pig who has been highly neglected and we are gonna eat watermelon together’.

That’s tough for a horse trainer to swallow. He said, ‘Holidays are made for eating pork sandwiches’. I may disagree with my fabulous horse trainer…but I will never argue. (well almost never)

I was steadfast in my insistence on loading Star in the trailer of Janice’s we had such a hard time with many moons ago. It’s a narrow two-horse trailer with a ramp and divider and a heavy gate to lift. Recluse Man has been giving this trailer a face-lift and I must say…it looks truly TrAshe county in appearance all covered in primer and painters tape, but who cares when you are a horse wanting to go HOME? (OK…it took a few flighty balks…like Star thinking… YOU ARE TAKING ME HOME IN THIS???)…never mind!

Here are some favorite photos from our homecoming…many thanks to my friends Janice and Karen for making the photos of me with my red-headed beauty and an even bigger thanks for making the journey home possible.

Here we go…

My Philosophy…Dessert First. Here is my favorite photo from yesterday depicting Dessert First…THE HOMECOMING!!!!Jim Frazier….riding Star at the end of our month of lessons…Last lap around the arena…Seriously…I always took him seriously…A few final instructions…“Anybody Home?” (Jim’s famous question)
It took 8 minutes to load Star in the trailer of our nightmares….So yeah….get on board…
Loaded and almost ready (one more balk)… Yup. Here we go….Home Sweet Home.Photo BombGypsy…way beyond just strutting her stuff…Pretty boy rolling and soaking up his turf…

Hay. You got the day off. No worries until the neighborhood fireworks go off.From all of us at the Funny Farm…

Have a happy, totally FREE-RANGE INDEPENDENCE DAY!

STUBBORN AS A MULE

I wouldn’t dare call Pockets a mule to her face. But technically speaking, it is what she is.

Breed a male (jack) donkey, to a female (mare) horse, and you’ll get a mule.

But the way we see it around here…ya breed a donkey to a pony…ya got a ponkey.

Ponkeys are total cuteness. Ponkeys are endless entertainment. A good ponkey is short and stout, with big ears and will chase away homie-dogs and hyenas. A good ponkey always comes right over after chasing a hyena…in immediate need of a cuddle-rub-hug and a smile.

After all…fearlessness deserves reward.

A good ponkey has a smile that will make you laugh.

Yet..a couple of days ago I found myself laughing my ass off…over a naughty ponkey’s grimaces.

OH MY GWAD…here comes another episode of Trailer Loading Flunkies.

(move over Star)Star load

That same-sinister-black Darth Vader horse trailer that created my personal ‘Star-Wars’ last year, is back. Sitting in my pasture. Waiting for a trip down the mountain to carry Pockets-the-Ponkey to a vet.

Too bad after the trailer arrived, we told Pockets she needed to be ‘vetted’ at the end of April. Big mistake.

Instantly she retorted; I WILL NOT BE VETTED…NOT EVER-NEVER…NOT TO GWAYSON OR ANYBODY…NO VETTINGS FOR ME…GWAYSON NEVER EVEN PWOPOSED!!!!

(What a Drama Queen…I told her she was too young to be wedded…and that’s not what I meant in the first place!)

Ever since, Elizabeth has been diligently teaching Pockets how to load in the monster-trailer. They were making big strides, those two.

Then a couple of days ago when Elizabeth couldn’t make it out, I promised her I would load Pockets. My friend Janice was coming over to collaborate on a round pen session with Star. Janice and I both have three year old geldings and we had agreed to do ‘co-op’ training sessions, sharing time with our boys. It was her turn here. Our goal that day was to put a girth around Star for the very first time.

Success!J & Star girth

I was so tickled to see my crazy boy wearing a fancy belt around his scrawny waist…Star girth

Loading Pockets afterward, sounded like a piece of carrot cake. I told Janice I would snap some photos for Elizabeth while she loaded Pockets. Easy-breezy. Nothing to it. The P-Pip had loaded already.

I must mention…Janice is light as a sparrow. Very horse savvy. And full of mischief.

She led Pockets to the trailer ramp and sat down inside.

What the hay?

Star watched from the sidelines with huge trepidation…Star trailer Pockets

No doubt…Pockets was wondering about the new girl at the end of her ponkey leash…Pockets trailer1

Let the circus begin!Pockets trailer2

It was about here…J&P trailer

…that I was laughing so hard…I nearly peed my pants…J&P trailer3

Meanwhile…Janice was flying by the seat of her pants!J&P trailer3

Down the trailer ramp and through the pasture they go!J&P trailer4

Star was…shall we say…Startled? Notice Grayson in the distance…chomping away…J&P trailer5

Finally Pockets gave into curiosity and stopped pulling…
J&P trailer6

Pockets-the-Ponkey decided to investigate ‘The Girl Who Wouldn’t Let Go’…J&P trailer7

The two of them talked it over…Janice said…YOU ARE STUBBORN AS A MULE!

Pockets said…I AM A PONKEY…NOT A MULE…I AM A FONKEY-WONKEY-PONKEY…YOU HONKEY!J&P trailer8

…slowly they made up…J&P trailer9

ROLL THE CAMERA!!…B Roll!J&P trailer10Thank Gwad…Elizabeth showed up the next day…P&E trailer1

I was worried we had made a wreck of her training progress…E&P trailer6

Carrot bribes sure help…E&P trailer7

P&E trailer2

But in the end it was Grayson…P&E trailer3

…who saved the day…P&E trailer4

All lickety-split that stubborn mule…I mean PONKEY…loaded!

PHOTOS OF THE DAY – FOUR ON THE FLOOR…HEAD OUT THE DOOR – November 24, 2015

 

FOUR ON THE FLOOR AND HEAD OUT THE DOOR…YIPPEE!!!

GO STAR!!!!

After 10 days of working with Star, and getting him over his fears and green-colt anxieties about loading in a trailer, we had the best day yet.

Thank you Goddess of Patience! Thank you Blocker Tie Rings! Thank you Janice for leaving your trailer!

Not only did Star load, he stayed. He sniffed. He stuck his head out the side door. He nibbled. He leaned into my fingers at his favorite scratch spots and batted his eyes. He turned his head this way and that. He backed out a few steps, then came forward. Then he stayed again…for awhile.

And then he asked… “Hay girl…where’s the TV?”

I was so happy with this headway (wimpy pun), I promised we’d watch the next Panthers game together.

It was the same feeling I had at age 14, when I won four blue ribbons and then grand champion, in a horse show at summer camp. It was hard work and team effort then, and no less so today. With the same huge feeling of accomplishment.

And trust. Gotta have trust.

Check out the Star-dude…in Photos of the Day…POTD_15_11_24_Star_load_1

Head out da door…four on da floor…

POTD_15_11_24_Star_load_2

“You coming?”POTD_15_11_24_Star_load_3

“Where’s the TV?”POTD_15_11_24_Star_load_4

“Love my little apartment…where are my slippers?”POTD_15_11_24_Star_load_5

“So when are we going?”
POTD_15_11_24_Star_load_6

Lookin’ like Turkey Day…you hot-red-headed-turkey-you.

PHOTOS OF THE DAY – STAR DAZED – November 23, 2015

I haven’t posted Photos of the Day in two entire days.

I had my reasons. I think one was valid…the rest a bunch of poo.

Honestly, I think I needed a break. But the scary thing? I immediately got used to it.

Makes me wonder if I should take weekends off. But that’s when things happen!

For example…Saturday I had Recluse Man help me with Star. I really believed the day had come when that stubborn mule would load and go. Like an ‘IN-N-OUT’ Burger.

He went in OK. And he came out OK… breaking two lead ropes, and ruining a new halter along the way.

Booger-Burger. GIT-BACK-IN-BURGER.

I got him loaded again…after much coaxing…then called it quits. Always great to end on a good note.

Sunday was dismal. The coldest day so far this winter, with a bitter-stiff breeze. I had Recluse Man and a helper who is good with horses, and yet we still regressed.

Star wouldn’t even load. Not used to guys hanging out….trying new techniques…and probably gazing into my eyes… watching me wanting to turn the Panthers game on…we called it quits. Again. With no progress made.

Saturday I wasn’t able to post a POTD because I couldn’t access my FFF blog site. I took a nap at 8pm and didn’t wake up until 1am. Site was up, I wrote a post, went back to bed, woke up, and thought..HOW STUPID IS THAT? I should never have accessed.

Sunday I wasn’t able to post a POTD because I was accessing so much great football. Double Header!…Panthers then the Packers…my favorite two teams…WON!

I was very happy.  Then later on, I found myself easily entertained with some really great excuses for not posting.

And then it was the late game!!!

Are you ready for some more and more and more FOOTBALL???

YES!

Lately, beyond football, I’ve been watching too much news and having nightmares about terrorist attacks. There are snipers and suicide bombers and feelings of deep fear inside my head. I wake up…then fall asleep to the next nightmare.

2nd nightmare…I’m trying to walk Star to my farm…1.2 miles along the highway. There are trucks roaring by, loaded with Christmas trees and lumber, that backfire when there is no shoulder on the road and nowhere to escape.

They are equally scary nightmares.

Then I’m shivering…and realize Recluse Man has rolled all the covers around himself, just like D.O.G. wrapped in his pig blankets. I grunt. He grunts. (I mean Recluse Man). I steal back the covers.

Now back to Star. We had a really good day today. I needed to hit ‘rewind’ on our training sessions and start with some easy tying. Forget the trailer. I had worked with tying him last winter and he did great, but there was no trailer in sight.

I thought he’d freak over any kind of tying at this point, but again, he surprised me.

Don’t forget this is a very green horse.

I bought two Blocker Tie Rings after watching videos, and seeing how much sense they made. The lead line is wrapped inside the tie ring so there is some play in the line when a horse pulls back forcefully. The amount of play is adjustable.

Once there is some give in the line, the horse will ease off on the crazy pulling. Horses are prey animals who hate restraint. Especially when separated from their herd. But when the restraint gives..no need to pull!

I was amazed by how quickly Star calmed after having a mini-freak-out. There was nothing to break. Nothing to fight. Nothing to bring him down…or up. In fact, he ended up with just a little longer line…(which I quickly shortened as soon as he moseyed closer).

Go Star! Go Blocker Tie Rings! GO INTO THE DAMN TRAILER!!!

At this rate…I will be happy to get that mule here for Turkey Day. I will STUFF HIM GOOD… RIGHT INTO THE TRAILER.

Here are some Photos of the Day. I do believe I will put an album together after that horse finally gets here…ya know…for his grandkids.

That Blocker Tie Ring has him….Star-Dazed….POTD_15_11_23_Star_daze_1

…putting a broken lead rope to good use…”Say Yuum??? Star?”FG_209_1 copy

We eventually got brave enough to tie on to the trailer..with great success…FG_224_1 copy

…for us at least…FG_223_1 copy

“What can I say or do to get you loaded…Dude?”FG_071 copy

To be continued.

Duh.

 

PHOTOS OF THE DAY – FOUR ON THE FLOOR – November 19, 2015

Today was Day Four of Star’s trailer loading training.

On Day Three, Star put his two front legs inside the trailer, while his hind two stayed firm on the ramp. It didn’t last long, but it was a huge improvement over the previous session. So long as there is forward motion with each session, I find I can muster a whole lotta patience. The pay-off is so worth it.

For your Photos of the Day…I never thought a set of horse legs could look so gratifying…or make me so happy.

May I present …FOUR ON THE FLOOR!!! POTD_15_11_19_4_on_floor_1I even had witnesses, although they were busy looking for crumbs from my secret bribery technique…POTD_15_11_19_4_on_floor_2Then suddenly eight more legs loaded!!!POTD_15_11_19_4_on_floor_3There is much more to this story but alas…it’s late…and Thursday Night Football has begun.

Let me part with this sweet photo from the StarBuck farm. It was a nice diversion in the middle of teaching a stubborn mule to load…POTD_15_11_19_4_on_the_floor

PHOTOS OF THE DAY – STAR PART IV – November 17, 2015

I don’t have many photos to share today. I was more focused on a training session with Star, and didn’t want to distract our efforts by pulling out my camera. When I did, there was a break in concentration that wasn’t worth losing over a few photos.

We did not fully load in the trailer today, but once again, we made strides.

Am I talking like we are one?

Hell…if we were, he’d be dictating from the couch, after whipping up a carrot cake for us.

I want my boys to make life easy. Or rather…I want to make life easy on my boys? (Consult Recluse Man for the answer)

That will take awhile.

Meanwhile… bottom line…Star got his front legs inside the trailer today, and both back legs on the ramp. It only happened once, but I was beaming the rest of the afternoon. We got two legs on the ramp many times…but OMG…the flat, inside part was the scariest.

“I am a girl in constant sorrow…if only I get that horse here tomorrow.” (sorry…but that tune just popped into my head)

We started on Sunday with butt ropes and multiple lead lines and tricks and treats…and lots of resistance and lots of high pawing and scary rearing up.

Today, there was much pawing on the ramp (good sign)…but the rears were wimpy and few compared to Sunday, (double good sign). And there was so much more trust without restraints, and positive rewards after Star realized resistance wasn’t worth the effort.

Of course there was only me, (like yesterday)…not a whole gang of human strangers, (like Sunday)…and none of his horse buddies to cop the treats. Or dogs. Well waitaminute…that damn puppy ran through my car twice today…leaving muddy paw prints all over the place. And eating horse treats. Damn. Sorry Rita…but DAMNDAWG!

At the end of the day, I wasn’t disappointed about not fully loading Star in the trailer. I think we were both a little surprised, feeling a renewed connection we shared many months ago. The tiny gestures. The eye contact. The mutual understating and reactions over certain behaviors.

They were subtle…and clear…in a way I never get from communicating with people.

Maybe Star was thinking…duh…you human-girl…you are finally catching on.

Fortunately, I have the trailer on loan for a few more days. Tomorrow will be a wash-out, and too wet to pursue. So maybe Thursday is the day…or Friday. And that could be the first Thursday or Friday in December. But I hope not.

I have learned so much from these training sessions. But most of all…I have felt this joy, working with a horse I admire.

Star is so green…maybe that’s part of the attraction. I like to think I’m the first human he’s learned to trust. Lofty thoughts aside…I know he connects…as much as a horse can do….if you are not a bale of hay, or scoop of grain.

Blah blah blah…here are some photos of the day…late tonight… hay ho…hay ho..it’s off to work we go…POTD_15_11_17_StarIII-5

Three mules-of sorts…lookin’ for the payload…POTD_15_11_17_StarIII-4

See Star-mule…waaay off in the distance…is it dejå vu…all over agin?POTD_15_11_17_StarIII-2

Less rearing…more pawing…and forward movements beyond yesterday that I did not capture…you just have to believe…and tell Star the same…POTD_15_11_17_StarIII-1

GOOD NIGHT…

DANG!!!

NO STARS IN SIGHT IN THE PASTURE!!!

PHOTOS OF THE DAY – DR. RM SPOCK – November 16, 2015

For those of you who have been following the adventures of Star…the horse that is sooner or later bound for my farm…here is the latest.

Star did not load in the trailer all the way today, but we made great strides. Janice was sweet enough to leave her trailer behind so I could work with Star in a more relaxed environment. Just one on one with a trailer. Like Aaron Rodgers says…RELAX!

But then I started to realize…there is no such thing as a relaxed environment at this farm. In fact, there are a ton of distractions in the neighborhood. For being out in the country on a dead end road, there are horses all around, and people jogging and walking, and dogs barking and stealing my gloves and lead lines, and trucks and cars, and the mailman and neighbors. But what finally ended our session? The loud blasts of gunshots nearby! Even the Great Pyrenees slumbering out of sight, was glued to my leg after that.

It had been awhile since Star and I had a training session together, so I spent time with him first off, working in the round pen. A refresher crash course of sorts. I made some spooky stuff for him to walk on…a huge length of plastic wrap with corrugated tin underneath. He walked over it so many times, it got booooring. Could a ramp to a trailer be scarier than that?

Apparently so…this is as far as we got….looks real scary…eh?POTD_15_11_16_Spock_3

I used a stick and a flag and tips I learned in videos I watched, but overall I found that I wanted him to trust me, without instilling fear. I want to make him feel like the trailer is a happy space. We were on the verge…until the damn gunshots….POTD_15_11_16_Spock_4

Now you’re wondering…. WHAT THE HECK? Where does Dr. RM Spock fit into this?

Well, lemme back up. When I go to Star-Bucks, I have to round up the horsies first. Their pasture is huge and very steep and lately they favor the uppermost parts. I drive up in my trusty Subaru, but it sure makes things easier if I have a helper, shaking the bucket of grain, enticing the three stooges down to the lower pasture. Then I single out Star, and jump the creek with him, to move him into the paddock with the round pen. And that’s where the scary-ass trailer is parked.

Elizabeth is a pro at this, however she wasn’t available this morning.

But look who showed up…to beam the horsies down!!!!

It’s DR. RM SPOCK!!!!POTD_15_11_16_Spock_1

He kept saying crazy shit like…

“Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end.”

“Change is the essential process of all existence.”

“Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

He was getting heady as I got the halter ready….I couldn’t help myself…

“SAY WAAAAH DOC RM SPOCK???? …

…BEAM THAT DAMN HORSE IN THE TRAILER!!!!”

And with that, he disappeared.

Still… I must say…DR. RM SPOCK…ROCKS.