Maryann was nice enough to give up her morning to help PJ and I with his loading issues. We first took a hack, which turned to be a short ride because the ground was still saturated and very mushy. We ended up just going through the field and back, but it was still good to get the horses out.
Then she hooked her truck to the trailer. We had to fill all of the tires with air, but the rest of the trailer looked in good shape enough to practice loading (we knew it needed some electrical work). It took 30 minutes to load him the first time. My friend, onthebit, told me what she did to teach the mare she’s riding to load. She backs the horse up whenever she’s not going forward. That didn’t really work with PJ because in his mind he got what he wanted – away from the trailer. What worked better with him was not backing him up when he just stopped going forward. If he started backing up, that was a different story – then I kept backing him up. It worked best if his only options were forward or standing still.
Eventually he got on, and Maryann closed him in. I stayed in the trailer with him. There was a big space in the front and escape doors on both sides, so I felt pretty safe in there with him. We drove about a hundred feet and then unloaded him. I think he was surprised that he was still home. He loaded back up much better. We drove another hundred feet and repeated unloading and loading. We did this about six times down the driveway and back. Each time PJ got better and better. I think it helped having me in the trailer with him telling him what a wonderful boy he was and feeding him treats.
In the spirit of no good deed goes unpunished, after we parked the trailer Maryann started to go to leave only to discover that her breaks weren’t working. She was able to get it into a parking spot, and I ended up driving her home. Hopefully, it’s nothing major.