We all woke up around 7am and began getting ready to take Lola on our first trip to the local indoor arena I told you all about. Meadow Breeze Farm's owner is kind enough to allow me to rent the use of their facility on Sunday mornings for a nominal fee. It is a 70'x140' pole barn style arena and I have private access to it. This farm is all of 10 minutes away and so, it should prove to be a great opportunity for us.
Anyhow, Rick decided he'd take us over for our first visit. We loaded the truck with the video camera and notes regarding assessments. While Rick hauled the trailer to the barn, I fed the horses and fetched Lola. I played with her briefly and asked her to load in the trailer. She was not coooperating at all. After about 30 minutes of rearing, bucking, backing. etc. etc. (you get the picture), she finally loaded, I waited to make sure she was truly ready to stay in the trailer and once I believed it was true, I put the divider in place, closed the door, gave her a treat (from the outside) and tied her using the Blocker Tie Ring (from the outside). I'd have to say that this was not a good start and I also admit I should have played with her and the trailer more before this trip. Unfortunately it was not a possibility because the trailer has been full of stuff until yesterday morning and then, it poured rain all day.
When we arrived at the barn, we left Lola on the trailer and met the barn owner. We had a nice chat with her for at least 15 minutes. Lola was patiently standing in the trailer. Finally, I unloaded her (asking for back using yo-yo from the side) and she calmly came out of the trailer. I took her in into the arena and she was nervous. Then, she heard a loud "moo" from a cow in the barn and she was scared! I decided to take her halter off and give her time to walk around the arena and calm a bit. I took this time to go to the trailer and got my 22 foot line, carrot stick, and savvy string.
I lead Lola out of the barn and to the trailer and asked her to load. She was even worse than at home. I tried everything and she was extremely bracey, disrespectful, rearing, not moving her hindquarters over, etc. At one point, I hate to admit it but I leaned inside the trailer and about cried. I asked myself why I even bother, that this is all too much, too frustrating, too difficult, that I could not understand why we are struggling like this, yadda, yadda, yadda. I think that I was feeling residual from the St. Jude's experience perhaps and was not being a good horsewoman by allowing things to frustrate me. There is no reason that I can think of as to why we are struggling with the trailer except that our relationship is still new and she still does not totally respect me as the leader. I can say that she is a bit defiant and still testing me, I guess this is to be expected and okay. After my moment of weakness, I took a breath, thought ok, how interesting, what is going on, and continued to ask her to load. I even used the rope around her leg to place her feet up in the trailer (like Linda does using a pedestal, and it worked as far as having her touch her feet in the traile! I had treats, was using the Parelli trailer loading techniques I've used for years, etc. Anyhow, eventually she walked on, got into position, stood calmly, and so I put up the divider, gave her a treat and tied her like before.
When we got home, I unloaded her just as before and she was calm and happy. She ate grass and then I played with her a bit more, took her to the barn, and released her into the paddock with Fosse and Whiskey. They were all happy to be together again.
So, this was our morning and Rick and I are exhausted (I think Lola is too). I am emotionally, physically, and mentally drained. Rick said he is tired because it was difficult and exhausting for him to watch the ordeal. I truly appreciate him being there with me through it all. He is a great supportive husband.
Next Sunday, we do it all again. I need to work on my technique. I will breathe and say, "how interesting" no matter what. I know that we are on a good path, I just need to be patient, respectful, and move forward. I plan to play with Lola all week with the trailer and hopefully we won't have such an ordeal with loading next time.