The first bad thing was loading on Saturday morning. Since Emi's been home I've been hauling her out usually 2-3 times per week to ride. She hasn't been very happy about it recently and I think that's two fold. The main reason is Roz screaming for her and relating to that I don't think she's been very happy hauling alone. Loading is something I practiced with her quite a bit as a youngster and at one point she loaded really well. In the past month she has started being a little more difficult to load. She's stopping at the step up to the trailer and questioning whether or not she actually needs to get in. A couple taps with the whip have fairly easily convinced her that yes, I do expect she get in.
That was all fine and dandy until Saturday morning when I walked her up to the trailer. She turned her neck and trotted away from the trailer. Umm...that's NOT okay. I took her back to the trailer and she did it again, this time getting away from me (as I was dodging the trailer door and a wood pile off to the side of the trailer. Plan B: Where's my chain? I used to have two and I couldn't find either one. Plan C: I grabbed a lunge line and ran it up through the front of the trailer. I took her over to it and before I had a chance to hook her to it she took off again. At this point I was totally frustrated (alright lets be honest, I was frustrated after the first time), but I got her tied to the trailer and then hooked the lunge line on before I untied her. She tried leaving but with the leverage that I had she wasn't able to go anywhere. "Perfect" I thought as she climbed in, except she managed to turn her head as she was getting and ended up facing backwards after she got in. I had about a second to realize this was going to go well when she came charging back out. I held on and luckily she didn't get away. I got her lined out once more, kept more tension on the line as she was going in, and finally got her loaded and locked in with the divider. I'm sure it was somewhat comical to watch but it was definitely a nightmare for me.
I got in the truck with my mind reeling. Emi has NEVER been that naughty before. On one hand I wanted to kill her and on the other I know she's experiencing very real anxiety to be that bad. I was frustrated with myself for letting it get that out of hand but I was so shocked by it I didn't resort to a good game plan quickly enough. Of course I spent the hour drive to the clinic replaying the drama.
Luckily when we arrived at the clinic Emi seemed no worse for the wear and we had a good ride. On the way home I thought she'd probably load with out issue and I thought wrong. She took me trotting across the parking lot the first time I presented her to the trailer. Que tying her back up and grabbing the lunge line. The second time worked great and we made it home with out incident.
This morning and the return trip home I went straight to the lunge line and there is no doubt in my mind that she would have left if I didn't have the lunge line on her. Ugh. Interestingly enough the only other horse I've had a similar problem with is Roz. When Emi was a baby he spent a period of time loading in the trailer and turning right back around and promptly dragging me back out. There's nothing like being helpless on the end of a lead-line.
I think for Emi since her first evasion of not going in really didn't work this is the next thing she could come up with. I mean, if you run away I can't make you get in. Haha. I do have a corner feeder in the trailer and have been putting a small amount of grain/treats in there every time I load her (for at least a couple of weeks). She also has hay. Roz has also stopped calling for her so that's helpful. Any suggestions? Has anyone else ever dealt with something like this?
This next week we have quite a bit of hauling to do. The horses are going to a friends house for a few days while the arena and paddock are being worked on. Since they are both going I'm planning to load Roz first and I suspect Emi will hop right in. Then on Sunday we have a league show to attend. Once we are done with that I think she can stay home for a month or so and the break will be good for her. One thing is for sure, the lung line is here to stay for a while. I'm not going to let her have any more chances to learn that if she doesn't want to load she only has to run away.
The other sort of bad thing is that Emi has started to put her tongue over the bit. She did it both days. On Saturday it was at the very end of our ride and Sunday it was at the very start. Saturday when I got off it wasn't over the bit and I thought perhaps JW had been mistaken. Today I got off to fix her bridle and she fixed her tongue herself. JW didn't seem overly concerned but did suggest experimenting as we want her to have good bit habits. I have been planning to try a different bit on her so I ordered that tonight (she's in a basic eggbutt snaffle). I'm also going to put the flash on her. I don't plan to have it be super tight but hopefully it will encourage her to keep her mouth quiet.
|Back home with her BFF|