Today gave me a glimmer of hope that I can convince Tarma the trailer isn’t all bad. This was mostly thanks to my barn owner, who turns out is something of a whiz with trailer loading. Within about 15 minutes she and I had Tarma pretty much loading up with no pressure, although she was still nervous and a little bit stressed about it. A few more low-key sessions like this and we might be OK. Trailering is such a struggle for me, because I want a partner happy to go on adventures, and starting every time with stress over the trailer drives me nuts. Of all the things I ask Tarma to do, loading is unfortunately the only thing she has to do no matter her opinion on it. That said, my husband has agreed I can get a much nicer, newer trailer sometime this year!
After trailer loading practice (wherein we didn’t actually go anywhere), I tacked her up at the trailer while she munched on alfalfa, which I always feed a bit before a ride to soak up any stressful stomach juices during the ride. I didn’t ride as long as I wanted to as it was getting dark, but we did get some good trail work practice in. Last weekend’s ice storm nocked down a ton of trees and branches, so we worked on going slowly, dismounting, clearing trail, and remounting several times.
She also showed me another good sign that we could try our hooves at endurance someday; I led her right down to the river and she tanked right up. Drinking from pretty much anything whenever the option arises is a critical endurance and trail horse skill, and shows she can definitely take care of her needs.
Whenever the weather and my work schedule agree again I’m going to take her back to McIver and ride until she’s sweaty, to really check out the saddle and pad fit and get a baseline of her fitness level. McIver has several decent hills so we’ll climb them until we’re both tired!