Partay at the Trailer! #thevolunteeringhorse 11-18-14

horse partyAlthough I just wrote about the boys and trailering skills yesterday, I feel I must post again already.  It was just too fun!

First, I started with Mr. Atticus (I usually do) and he made a beeline for the trailer.  Fortunately, it was already set up and he could just walk on and get all those party favors!

I also went ahead and hooked up the butt bar and closed the door in one chain rather than breaking them up as I usually do.  I added more yummies to the hay bag while he was closed up behind, but I did not close the side door.

Then I opened the door and dropped the butt bar at the same time, but wanted to reward him for staying on before asking him to back off.  This went perfectly.

I put a double handful of Alam cubes on the pedestal (about 60-70 feet away) and ran back to the trailer to set things up again.

Atty came right back and got on.  I did not close him up again; but when I went to the back to ask him off, he was already backing off.  I added in my cue word – “pickles!” – anyway and let him come off.  That was my mistake.  I didn’t set him up to stay on the trailer before walking back.

We were finished, but he still wants to check the pedestal for treats on the way to the paddock.  He came through the paddock gate and we walked to the hay box and I left him a double handful of treats in the hay box.  pedestal

Then I got Ollie out of his stall but then remembered I needed to get more Alam cubes.  When I came back with full pouches, he was at the hay box with Atty.  I gave Atty another handful and coaxed Ollie away with clicks and treats.  Ollie willingly followed me to the paddock gate and Atty stayed behind at the hay box.  I was rather surprised at this.

Ollie and I went through the paddock gate to the lane and Ollie was willing to walk directly to the trailer and offer to put a foot or two on.  He did so well that I couldn’t reach far enough forward to give him his treat without his having to partially back off.  I then went to the front of the trailer and got in by the hay bag, in front of the breast bar.

To my surprise, Ollie didn’t do any circles today!  Remember I said yesterday that he would eventually give them up as too much work?  I certainly didn’t expect that so soon!  He did back off several times and even partially turned away a couple of times, but no circles.

I had some cut up carrots with me today to help Ollie really like playing near or on the trailer.  Sometimes I CT’d for leaning or reaching forward, sometimes for stepping with a front foot, but mostly I wanted to concentrate now on what the hind legs were doing.  There’s only so far he can stretch out on the trailer.  At one point he had his left hind up on the trailer floor (I have a step-up style trailer) and I kept clicking and reinforcing for that foot being there, even if it was on the toe.

At one point Ollie just got on!  His right hind slipped a bit and he was spraddle-legged for a moment or two but he righted himself and got to eat lots of goodies from the hay bag – an apple, carrots, Stud Muffins, and peppermints.  Of course I had gotten out of the way so he could eat from the hay bag.

When I went to the back to ask him off, he just started backing off by himself.  But it’s a bit scary to watch as he just hopped with both hind legs backwards until his feet hit the ground!  I think we have some practice to do!  He’s never backed off that way before!

We finished there; I saw no reason to continue and I was out of the really good things.  It was also really cold and windy.

I walked to the gate, but Ollie didn’t follow the whole way but Atty seemed to want to join Ollie in the lane so I just left the gate open between the paddock and the lane figuring they would eat the grass there and I went in the barn to clean their stalls.

Nope.  For them, it was party time at the trailer!  They both hung at at the very back of the trailer for what seemed like 15 minutes!  Atty was practically hugging the trailer.  Ollie was right next to Atty.  They seemed to be saying, “Hey!  Open up in there!  We want to partay!  This is the best joint in town!”

That sure made me smile.  And laugh.  horse laugh


About Laurie Higgins

I play with clicker training - with my horses, dogs, and cats. I also attempt to grow vegetables with the hope of one day being able to feed my family from my garden. My daughter and I are learning ballroom dancing. Well, we were. But she left me for a paying horse job, so now my husband and I are learning ballroom dancing. I'm also now helping Peggy Hogan, of Clicker Training Horses (and The Best Whisper is a Click) to teach people how to train their own horses using "clicker training".
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