I like to have PJ bonding days where I do everything I can to give PJ a good day – I scratch his itchy spots, don’t ride him, let him each grass, etc. Today was not one of them.
His day started with a quick ride where I worked on me and not him. I tried standing in my stirrups and putting my arms out. It was hard for me and I think I scared PJ b/c I had a whip in one hand and he didn’t quite get why I was doing what I was doing, especially when I lost my balance. I threw him in his stall with his boots and halter still on while I hooked up my trailer. That took a while and that sound when the ball on the hitch hits the trailer got to me. But I hit it right on on the 10th try, hooked up and pulled up next to the barn.
I pulled PJ out of his stall and introduced him to the trailer. I don’t know if he just liked the trailer, with all of its windows, or he’s getting better, in general, about loading, but he walked right on after only the third try. It definitely helped that I had grain. Then I backed him out, and (I think) because I continuously fed him grain, he didn’t run backwards out of the trailer like he often does. I made him take one step at a time. I loaded him and unloaded him two more times and then loaded him again, but this time I walked around to the back of the trailer and put up the butt bar (bonus: he didn’t try to leave). Then I tied him up, closed up the trailer, and pulled away.
We drove around the block, which is probably 3-4 miles. I kept repeating to myself, “PJ is in the trailer; PJ is in the trailer.” I drove very slow. The route had a lot of hills and bends, and stopping and going. I pulled back into the farm’s driveway with relief that we made it. When I opened the door, PJ didn’t seem too worse for wear. He unloaded like a champ – no rushing. And I turned him back out with his friends.
Backing the trailer into its parking space took a bit of effort, and I ended up moving the parking space over a few feet instead of spending my entire afternoon trying to hit it just right. I’ll figure it out eventually.
Of course PJ pooped in the trailer. It’s no longer perfectly pristine. I knew it would happen but it still felt a little bad to leave the green poop that I couldn’t scrape out of the mat. Of course, the true test of my driving prowess will be if PJ gets BACK in the trailer!