Sometimes it's the little things that make the biggest difference.
You may recall the problems I've had with Gabe in convincing him that my trailer won't eat him alive. He would put one hoof on, then two, then freak out and fly backwards out of the trailer. Over and over and over again. It's an open stock-style slant load two horse trailer...it's not crowded and it's not dark and scary, at least not in my humble human opinion.
However, what it is, is noisy. I started thinking about the difference between my stock slant load and my friend's stock slant load. Basically, the exact same trailer and he gets on hers just fine. So, what's his issue?
Then, it hit me.
Every time he's loaded on to her trailer she had a nice, thick layer of sawdust on the floor. Could it really be that simple? Surely not!
Yet, it really was. All it took to get him loaded happily on my trailer was a nice thick layer of shavings on the floor. That stuff is a serious sound buffer and probably helps him feel more stable and solid on the floor. The trailer didn't echo and rattle when he stepped on it and as soon as he realized that, up he went.
Yay! So, of course, we hit the road with Calypso and Teddy (my friend Jaquie's horse) and headed out for a nice, long trail ride away from home.
It was lovely. The horses were fabulous, Gabe was happy to be out and very excited but not naughty. Every creek, mud hole, hill, log and ditch we came upon he navigated without question. Such a good boy! He made me proud and he garnered a few "what a beautiful horse" comments from several other trail riders at the state park. I have to agree with them, he is a good-looking critter and it also seems he's finally maturing a bit out of his silly baby stage into a level-headed, braver horse who seems to be taking things in stride more often rather than just reacting to things he doesn't understand.
The only little oops on the entire ride happened towards the end as we were heading back...and of course, it's something that would happen only to me.
We stopped in a creek to let the horses drink and cool off a bit. Gabe absolutely loves water and will stand in it and play in it for as long as you'd let him. So, I let him play. It was hot, he was sweaty and it was a good time to just stand and take a break. He dunks his head in the water, blows bubbles, flaps his lips around in it, paws and splashes and grunts and just has a good ole time. He tried rolling but thankfully didn't.
Then, it happened.
He lifted his head and gave his whole body a mighty shake. Nearly shook me right out of the saddle, and, as he nearly shook me right out of the saddle, he shook his bridle right off his head!
What the heck?! I've never had a bridle just fall off my horse's face while I'm riding! So, there I am, holding empty reins and sitting on a horse in a creek who I'm pretty sure won't run off but I'm not pretty sure won't roll in the cool water if given the chance. Only me. Wow.
Thankfully Jaquie was right there near his head sitting on Teddy and she managed to help pull his bridle back on with no problems. The only thing I can figure is the bridle leather got slick and maybe stretched a bit after our long, sweaty ride and when he added water to the already slick and sweaty mix it added up to a too loose bridle that happily slid off his face when he gave that tremendous shake.
Ahh...horses, it's always something new. A good time was had by all and that big, wet, gray beast got right back on the trailer and settled in for the ride home. He was even comfortable enough in the trailer that he stretched out and peed in the trailer while we made a pit stop at a local gas station.