Copper is still here, though he was supposed to go to Jessica's yesterday.
We gave ourselves an hour to load Copper, thinking that would be plenty of time to be patient and get him in. I had let him explore the trailer earlier in the week and he was not afraid and was willing to investigate, so I truly thought an hour would be plenty to gently introduce him to the trailer.
Thursday morning came and Jay got Copper ready. I opened the trailer and Copper walked in just like a pro. But ... we had thought about the work it was going to take to get him in the trailer and not given one thought to how we were going to secure him. I was trying to talk Jay through how to close the slant gate and he was trying to do it with his left hand while keeping Copper in place with his right, but there's a super secret way to release the gate that neither of us knew at the time. We decided to leave the slant gate open and treat the trailer like a stock trailer, so Jay released the pressure on Copper and made to get out of the trailer. Copper took that as an invitation to get out as well and backed out right behind Jay.
I got in the trailer and fooled around with the gate release until I figured out the super secret way to open it. Since Copper had loaded like a pro to begin with, we didn't give loading him a second thought.
Two hours later, we still couldn't get him loaded into the trailer.
We tried everything: being patient, adding pressure, adding bribes, moving his feet, and plain old brute force. It was not happening. I texted Jessica and told her that he must be part mule, as stubborn as he was being. She laughed and said we could probably see his ears get longer by the minute. She was right.
Copper was done, Jay was done, I was done. Even Grandpa Bill was done.
After a flurry of texting, she offered to come out and do a loading lesson for us over the weekend. We headed out with the trailer to pick up Skeeter, even though Jessica offered to keep her until Sunday when we took Copper to her place. I had my heart set on getting Skeeter home, so off we went.
We were disappointed that poor planning on our part (not knowing how the gates worked) meant that not only did Copper not get to go on Thursday, but that it caused frustration and stress all the way around. I tend to think that everything happens for a reason, even if we don't know what that reason is and even if we are disappointed at the time.
When we got home and got Skeeter unloaded, she was a bit distracted and 'hot', so we spend five minutes or so doing groundwork to get her focused. I would have worked her a bit longer, because she was still a bit distracted, but Copper was losing his mind in the pen. With the moisture we've had, the pen is a slippery, mucky mess and we were worried that he'd slip and hurt himself, so I turned Skeeter out into the pen.
They settled in with just a couple of bucks and dove into the hay. Not nearly the homecoming we thought we'd get to see, but they were obviously happy to see each other.
This morning, watching them both back out in the pen, I decided the reason that we couldn't get Copper loaded was because we needed them both home for a while. My heart is happy having both of them here; Jay's heart is happy having both of them here; and even L.E. has mentioned how nice it is to look out and see them both.
Copper is going to training on Sunday, we're sure of that since Jessica is coming out to the house to do a trailer loading lesson, but I needed them both home for a couple of days (even if I didn't know it). I'll also get a riding lesson at home to help transition us to working and riding here.