Today I pulled my horse trailer out of the barn where it sat over Winter. I dusted it off, drove it around the country block, checked the tire air-pressure and looked the trailer over for damage. I also brought out Bear and Shiloh for a little test-load. I hadn’t trailed them anywhere since last Fall. I wanted to see if the horses acted as rusty as the trailer looked.
Speaking of the rust, my plan was to have the trailer painted last year, but I had a difficult time finding someone in my price range who could fit me into their schedule. Long story short, the trailer went into Winter storage sadly unpainted.
I make sure to get the trailer inspected and the wheel-bearings packed on a yearly basis in an effort to keep the trailer road worthy. I would also like to be able to look at the trailer without wincing, ya know?
I noramlly do the first load of the year on a day where I don’t plan to travel. Takes the pressure off. It allows me to make mistakes with less risk to the horses as I get used to the whole process again.
I ended up parking the trailer further up the driveway than I usually do and decided to lead both horses up to the trailer at the same time. Shiloh on my right and Bear on my left. As we strolled, I noticed that the truck was really shiny with the sun glinting off the chrome in a funny way.
About that time, I saw out of the side of my right eye that Shiloh looked a bit alarmed as we approached the truck. I decided to continue confidently walking while hoping that both horses would follow in lockstep. They kept up with me as we began to make the final turn towards the back of the trailer.
Somewhere through the turn, someone spooked. I was not stepped on or bumped in the process, but Bear ended up on the right side of Shiloh instead of the left side of me. Bear’s extra-long lead rope now draped over Shiloh’s back, and I surprisingly still had hold of both horses. The scene looked like we had played a round of double-Dutch jump rope. After rearranging the horses, I gave them a moment to breath, lick and chew, sniff noses and enjoy a couple of forehead rubs. Then I pointed towards the trailer and in they went. Bear first. Shiloh second.
I know from past experience that it is a pleasure to travel with your horses so frequently that you develop a well-timed routine. It takes the anxiety level way down for horse and human alike. So much easier than when you only travel every once in awhile. With a frequently executed routine, everyone knows their place. Everyone knows the order. Everyone knows the idea is to go as a little group and return as a little group. The process feels safe and familiar. Camaraderie builds. I imagine that is what it must feel like to travel in a herd.
I was pleased to see that both horses loaded up easily. So pleased, in fact, that I forgot to put up either butt bar. INSERT NOTE TO SELF. You don’t really want two horses deciding to back out at the same time. Think bumper-car potential. Fortunately in this case, Bear and Shiloh each backed out safely and separately.
So to sum up May 9th, 2020. . . Horses loaded easily. Horses unloaded easily. Horses safe and in one piece. It made for a good day; something I hope the horses and I have the opportunity to build on as the year continues.
The trailer is rusted. I am rusty with the trailer loading details (put up the butt bars!). But today Bear and Shiloh proved well-oiled.