Fiona-Trailer loading practice.
It is possilbe that this was Fiona's first encounter with a trailer, but I'm not certain. She is eight years old and I do know that since 2009 (when Mike started working at WGA) she has been in the pastures that don't require trailering to move the horses from place to place. So if this wasn't her first experience with a trailer, but it's probably been at least 5 years, if not longer, since she's been on one. I do know that she's never been hauled off the property and, if she has been on a trailer, she's never been on one by herself...always with her "herd group" at that point in time. For her trip to her new home tomorrow, we will definitely include a trailer buddy to make the experience less stressful for her. This is very important as her new "mom" (Martha) is a competitive trail rider and having Fiona be VERY comfortable with trailering is of paramount importance. I've mentioned before that what horses "feel" with a first time experience can greatly influence subsequent events, so yes, tomorrow's "haul home" is a VERY big deal for Fiona's future. Taking along a really good trailer buddy is key to her future "feelings" about trailering.
At the risk of saying something really obvious, the horse you choose for the "trailer buddy" needs to be a horse that is really, really good at hauling...and we have chosen Emiricka. We chose her to haul with Story Thyme when she was delivered to her new family (actually, even better..the new trainer!) and not only was Emiricka great while on the road, she's cool with the part where she's left in the trailer while everyone does the "meet and greet" for the new girl!
This is one of Mike's videos, but it's what we call a "training video" and it's shot with a cell phone and not his usual "video camera". A pretty typical day where Mike might switch from "horse trainer" to "camera man" within minutes...that's how we roll most days!