Friday, September 16, 2016

Pre-Posse Worries

Lizzy might not be the purdiest truck, but she'll get the job done.
Skeeter and I start Posse training tomorrow morning. I'm not at all stressed out by riding her in the arena with other horses, but I have been worried about the whole trailering thing. I've pulled a trailer with a horse in it exactly *two* times in my life. Once was with this truck/trailer to take Estes to the Lodge, and the other time was with my friends' big truck/trailer to take Skeeter to Jessica's for training.

There are two parts to my stress about trailering tomorrow:
#1, will Skeeter get in the effing trailer? Remember when we went to Colorado Mustang Days, we had to call in reinforcements to get her and Copper to Denver.
#2, can I get us there safely? Hwy 85 is one pot-holed mess and I am not 100% comfortable driving Jay's truck.

Because I'm a bit stressed, we had a game plan. Jay went with me while I towed the empty trailer to the gas station and got gas. This required me to drive on parts of the same road I'll be driving in the morning. We also had to go to a second gas station to get to an air pump (which didn't work, btw). I got a feel for how the trailer tracks on a dirt road and on pavement. I was feeling pretty good by the time we got home. Since the air pump that we paid for didn't actually put air in the tire we needed, we borrowed L.E.'s air compressor. When I asked to borrow it, she said, "Sure, just back the trailer in here.". I laughed, but attempted it. Luckily, I managed to NOT hit either of the 500 gallon propane tanks in my eighty thousand attempts. Eventually, Jay just took over, backed the trailer in on one try, and we filled our low tire.

I guess that means I'll be practicing trailer backing in the near future (but not today).

The next hurdle we had to get over was putting Skeeter in the trailer. She's been in it before, back when it lived in the pen with them. Heck, she's self-loaded lots and lots of time, but that was on her terms. Jay was willing to help me work with her on loading before he had to leave for work, but then looked in the trailer. Stupid wasps had started building nests in the trailer, which derailed our plan for a bit. I sprayed the nests, then Jay knocked them down for me to stomp the ever-loving-shit out of. I stomped those nests - and the dying wasps within - to dust, then stomped them some more.

I'm lucky that Jay looked up in the trailer, because if I'd tried to load Skeeter and she'd gotten stung, there's no way I'd ever get her back in our trailer again. 

I knew that there was no way Skeeter would load while the trailer stank of wasp spray, so we decided we'd just get up really early tomorrow to work on getting her loaded. Jay went off to work and I went back to stalking watching the EMM in Fort Worth (I love FB live right now).

It's so nice out and I really didn't want to fight with Skeeter in the morning, so I thought I'd give the trailer loading a go. She was doing so very well with her front feet, but wouldn't load her back. I was kind of cussing and thinking the EMM horses get to cheat on their trailer loading, because they get to load into a stock trailer, not a two-horse straight load like we've got.

That grumbling got my little brain a thinkin' and I realized I too could have a stock-type trailer if I just took out the middle divider. I tied Skeets to the outside of the trailer, and started removing the pins holding the divider in. There were a couple that I needed some leverage to get out, so L.E. was kind enough to help me lift the divider enough to take the pressure off the pins. We got the divider out and now the trailer looks HUGE inside.

We fiddled around some more. I introduced Skeeter to the trailer again with both back doors open, because I know it looked different with the divider out and I didn't want her to freak out. She climbed partway in and then backed out. Good enough for me, so I closed one door and tried driving her in while L.E. bribed her from the front with her very favoritest treat on the planet.

Boy, I wish I'd had my camera for that. Skeets would walk her front legs in and then go up on tippy-toes with her back legs to try to reach the granola bars. After we figured out that she was smarter than we are, we changed the doors. I closed the one I was trying to drive her in, and opened the other one. L.E. went to the other window at the front of the trailer and in went Skeeter to get her reward. She stood quietly in the trailer for a minute or two before calmly backing herself out.
I don't think loading her tomorrow is going to be any trouble at all and my stress level has plummeted. As long as I don't have to back the trailer into any tight spaces (or back the trailer at all), and as long as she goes in as calmly as she did today, we're set for tomorrow!


Allenspark Lodge said...

Have fun tomorrow!
Bionic Cowgirl - who is green with envy at the thought of posse training.

Shirley said...

Here is a little tip on backing a bumper pull trailer. If you are using your mirrors, and you are seeing too much trailer on one side, turn the steering wheel that way. For example, if you look in the passenger side mirror and the trailer is veering too far that way, turn the steering wheel to the right. Don't over do it, and back slowly.
If you absolutely can't back up using mirrors it works just as good, - turn the steering wheel towards the direction you are getting too much of.
Have fun!

Linda said...

Good advice, Shirley! My husband always told me to turn the steering wheel the opposite way I want to go, but it's not intuitive. Practice makes perfect! And everyone's been there, so most people have a lot of patience.