A few weeks ago I took Fox down to the indoor about an hour from my house. Once again it was a bit of a hassle to get the pony brat in to the trailer. Which is the same issue the High Queen had. Anyone sensing a pattern here? So I decided to take a real hard look at my horse management to try and pin point the deficiency that leads to the "I don't wanna" attitude.
My horses live out 24/7 with run-in-sheds to get out of the weather and a blanketing wardrobe to rival the inside of a Kardashian's closet. During cold weather this sort of set-up fosters a hands off routine. I go in, I dump feed, hang hay nets and scuttle back to the wood stove. A few times a week I brave the dark and check feet, coats and for blanket rubs (Thank you Horseware Ireland for my no rub blankets!) treating any cuts and for the evils of thrush. Other than that my horses lead a pretty uncomplicated life.
Which is where my theory that this limited contact was causing the trailering issues. At least with respect to Fox. He at least I know will get in to the trailer though it might take awhile. Where as the High Queen if she decided not to get in, well, just start walking!
So what does one do? Especially if my evil day job keeps me slaving away until after dark. Well you suck it up and take your pony for a walk. Every day, in the dark, and the cold. All the evenings that I don't take my pony out for grooming or to and from the side pasture, I clip on a lead line and walk my bratty pony down the long driveway. We turn at the end of my driveway where it touches the paved road, we pause letting Fox learn to trust and obey me. Then we move on, turning at the big gate, push the gate closed, the I try to close the padlock and slip on the insulated bag while Fox mugs me for the horse cookie he is sure is hiding in the bag.
Then we stroll back down the driveway, stopping a couple times to reinforce my role as the leader, then we go back in to the pasture where Fox assists me in pushing the gate closed, also forcing him to step into the big muddy puddle in front of the gate. The first week or so at that point Fox would resist me leading him in to the mud and cold water. These days though he follows willingly. Is he a perfect angel every time? Nope. There has been naughtiness, flailing of feet, flinging of heads, and spooking for no reason.
But is it working? Time will tell. I've a couple days off coming so indoor time is imminent. I found a new one about three miles from my house. Looks easy to get my trailer in to and the footing is decent. So until the behavior report keep it between the flags everyone!