I had a lesson over the weekend focused on making smooth transitions. It wasn’t so much that it was hard, but just something that isn’t always focused on, so I think it was good to work on it. It had its good points and its bad points. Good point – Berry is holding herself much better, and more consistently. I’m liking it!
Bad point – She had some moments where she was not happy at all. I don’t feel like my contact has changed significantly, so I’m not really sure why she’s so upset, but she is due for the dentist, so hopefully, that will resolve that.
Bad point – much of the time it felt like I was steering a freight train. She felt so heavy and fast, but then watching the video later, she doesn’t really look fast. Heavy, yes, but not really fast. We will just have to work on getting much lighter.
I actually left the lesson feeling really disappointed. It seemed like we were worse afterward than before. I’ve had much better rides on her, and this just seemed like we regressed several years. After I watched the video, I did feel a little better, as it certainly didn’t look as painful as it felt, but I could see where I needed to be more forceful with my aids, and other times when I may have been unfair to Berry. I feel like Berry puts a lot of worth in fairness, and she’ll do just about anything if she thinks I’ve asked fairly. If she thinks I’m being rough and being unreasonable, she throws attitude.
The other huge negative – we’re having trailering issues now. She does not like trailering anymore, for reasons I don’t understand. My brand new trailer, specifically bought because it seemed so much more comfortable for horses, and it makes her so nervous she trembles when she’s getting in, and she’s a sweaty mess when we get there. I have no idea why she doesn’t like it, but it’s been progressively harder to get her in the trailer.
After this lesson seemed to be the breaking point. I was trying to load her, using my loading halter that has always worked in the past. It puts pressure on the nose, which is released when the horse goes forward. Before that day, it has worked on 100% of horses I’ve used it on. I have taught other people’s difficult loaders to get in the trailer. That day, it was too much. Berry, reared up in the trailer, whacking her head, and went out backward, reared up, and fell over. It was horrifying. I took the halter off immediately, and then it was just any other method to get in her the trailer to go home. I ended up attracting other people to help, and after a full hour, we got her in.
So now, trailer loading will be our main focus, since I can do nothing until she loads. The next day, I put Vintage in the trailer as an enticement, but that didn’t really help either. She would come in with her front, but not her hind. We’ll just keep working on it!