The key to consistent loading by Dakota? The butt rope. I don't know why I didn't pull one out sooner. The first attempt with the rope he lashed out with double-barrel back hooves a couple times, then jumped on board. The second attempt he jumped on board as soon as he felt the rope touch his back legs. The third attempt he took one look at the rope lying on the ground and just walked on. As long as we have it out so he can see it, he now loads quietly. Sometimes the old methods are the best.
My amazing husband got me a wireless camera so I can see the horses in the trailer while I'm driving. He thought of this gift, purchased it, and installed it all without me even knowing. It's AWESOME! So comforting to see quiet ponies on a nine-hour drive. It also doubles as a backup cam that helps me see the gooseneck hitch and the ball in the bed of the pickup. It ALSO has night vision. I love it!
Dakota, Clair, and I had an uneventful drive to Dubach, Louisiana, Monday. We got a late start and arrived around 9:30. Trainer Gwen helped me unload, unwrap legs, and tuck the horses in, and also helped get the hay and grain bags situated. I was in bed by 10:30 and slept like a rock.
Yesterday we introduced Clair to the double bridle. The Weymouth bit I ordered is a bit too wide, and we need to punch a couple holes so the bits ride higher in her mouth, but even so Clair took right to it. Suzanne has me holding the reins in the French method, with the snaffle rein running over the top of my index finger and the curb rein running under my pinky and up my palm, with my thumb over both reins. This allows me to use the bradoon to elevate Clair, and then while she's up, if she needs it, I can lightly apply the curb to ask her to give in the poll. It worked like magic. We didn't work her too long, but I got nice walk, trot, and canter with no resistance or stress. She had crazy amounts of foam, too, which she doesn't usually. A splendid debut!
Dakota, too, was wonderful today. He was a little tense with everything going on around the farm (many lessons in multiple rings, and a pony named Truffles shooting by the arena randomly). Also, Clair and he were hollering back and forth. Even so, Suzanne was thrilled with his progress. She said he's really showing a nice trot lengthening now, which we've been working on, and we even did a little half pass. Mustang got skilz!