Trailered Harley in for lesson with new coach
Today was a full day. At 9 am, my daughter and I headed over to the barn to clean Harley up as best we could and get him ready to go to a lesson with a trainer that is 10 minutes away. Of course, he had laid in his urine all night and his belly was wet and filthy. A good amount of scrubbing later, he's still pretty yellow, but it'll have to do.
Getting him on the trailer was more challenging than I'd thought. I had to go around three times before he was willing to follow me on. He used to trailer well, but I guess the disruption in his routine had him out of sorts (his stablemates had all been turned out so he was not happy with the idea of having to go to work!). I finally got him in, the BO closed the bar behind him and he started to try to back up and - to my horror - managed to get his butt UNDER the bar. He was tied to the front, and quickly realized that, but it was scary for a minute. I pulled him in and he settled down as the BO shut the ramp so he was secured. At that point, I thought about calling the whole thing off. As long as I was by Harley's head, he was ok, but when I tried to leave, he would get frantic and start to neigh. I decided he was just throwing a little tantrum and walked away. So we were off. He seemed to get over it pretty quickly because he unloaded perfectly at our destination and was quite reasonable for grooming, tacking up, etc. even though there were lots of kids, other horses, dogs and goats running around everywhere. After the lesson was over, he loaded right up the first time too, with just a little hesitation on the ramp, so I'm thinking it really was more a tantrum than genuine fear. Oh, and he did have hay in there to keep him busy.
Now for the lesson: the coach was very motivating and thought both Isabelle and Harley did really well, but she really pushed my daughter hard. Both she and Harley were pretty tired at the end of it. They did w/t/c and jumping. I thought my daughter would say "I never want to go back" afterwards, but no, she loved it and wants to return! I think she and Harley felt like they were working hard because they're both a bit out of shape. The dressage coach only makes her walk so it's been a couple of months since they've really had a hard lesson. I felt like this jumping coach was pushing my daughter's limits, but maybe that's a good thing. And Harley did really well after the initial loading fit.
I guess we're going to try a few more lessons. They neighbors have offered to help again, and I've suggested maybe we could "rent" their trailer so they don't have to drive us around (hubby has a truck so can haul it). They've also said they'd consider selling us their trailer, but I'm reluctant to go to that expense until I know for sure my daughter will want to keep doing this.
One thing I've come to realize is that my daughter likes a challenge and needs to have specific goals. The dressage coach works on general things, but I think my daughter should start doing her rider levels so she has something to work towards. I discussed this with today's jumping coach and she agreed - also, she's certified and can evaluate my daughter who she estimates is probably at a level 3 (but we may start at 2).
Thanks for reading my long posts... I am still learning so much about horses and appreciate your thoughts on our journey to improve! Here are a couple of pictures.