Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
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Monday, April 13, 2009

Trailering Chex to Colorado

Easter, 2009! A 4 day weekend! We headed to Colorado! This was part horse business, part store business, part trailer trading, and part seeing family. It was so much better to travel 7 ½ hours over 4 days instead of 2 or 2 ½ days!

We left Friday morning with a 4 horse trailer, yearling colt, and 30 bales of alfalfa! We are selling a horse and some hay to our daughter, who wanted to buy our little reining colt, Chex. She is planning on starting him under saddle and showing reining.

Chex was brought into the barn about 4 weeks ago with the other 2 yearlings. Two stud colts needed castrating, all 3 needed their hooves trimmed, all 3 needed their yearling vaccinations, 2 had wolf teeth removed, and since Chex was leaving the state, he needed blood drawn for a Coggins test and health papers. The vet and farrier were scheduled the same day to get this all done! Worked like a dream. Sedate, castrate, vaccinate, give a shot of antibiotics, pull wolf teeth, and trim hooves, on one yearling at a time, with each one done within a ½ hour time frame!

A day later, all 3 were turned back outside to be with their buddy, Red, the older gelding who is babysitting them. Two of the colts didn’t move too fast! Honey, the filly acted just fine, even though she was slightly sedated the day before to have her wolf teeth pulled. She actually acted too fine! I increased their grain to put on a little weight, and Honey was feeling good! Kicking out as she ran around her lot. She made me watch my back side as I carried in hay and grain each day. The other 2 were swollen and walked slowly. One colt was fine after a week, but this time, the other colt took 2 weeks for the swelling to subside. And this colt happened to be Chex. He didn’t put on weight during this time, and I could feel ribs. Then about the time I was going to call the vet, the swelling decreased in half, and a few days later, he was back to normal. Whatever was inflamed, had finally healed. I was glad! I was starting to get a little concern and thought an infection had set in, even though the colts were given a dose of antibiotics.

I had started giving the yearlings alfalfa to put on some weight. We backed our trailer up to the barn and loaded 30 bales into the first 2 horse stalls of the trailer. I wanted to make sure that Sara had enough alfalfa for 2 months to continue building up his weight. I’m sure Chex will drop some weight in the move, and I want to make sure he has the best nutrition available to keep his weight on, especially as he is still growing. All the yearlings are getting tall and lanky. Alfalfa hay and 4# of Nutrena Compete each day should help promote weight gain and growth. He needs some fat cover over those ribs!

The next morning, it is time to load up for the trip to Colorado. And Chex hasn’t been in a trailer yet. The night before, we lead Chex and Red to the barn. In preparation for separation from his buddies, Chex spent the night in a stall, with Red in the stall next to him. The next morning, the trailer was in place in front of the barn door. Part of the barn door was closed so that only the opening of the trailer was seen. The back trailer doors were opened and the stall divider was collapsed to make room for both Red and Chex to be loaded at the same time. Then once Chex was loaded, Red could turn around and be led out.

Loading didn’t go as planned. Not bad, but not as easy as Chex walking in on the first try either. I thought for sure he would follow Red in, especially since his grain bucket was there. But he was interested in the cats, and in the cat’s water, and just in smelling the trailer, but not going into the trailer. After 10 minutes, we unloaded Red and haltered Chex. We didn’t want him trailering with a halter on since he was going to be loose in the back part of the trailer. After loading Red, we tried leading Chex up to the trailer edge, and while Tom pushed and I shook the grain bucket, we got Chex up to the trailer again. Then Tom stood behind Chex while I shook the grain bucket. First 1 foot stepped into the trailer, then the next, and as he took a bite of grain, he stepped into the trailer with all 4 feet! He definitely was interested in his grain, so I set the grain bucket down up at the front of the 3rd stall, unhaltered Chex, and as he ate his grain, we lead Red out and closed the doors.

Tom lead Red to his lot with the other 2 yearlings as I watched Chex eat at his grain and hay. He didn’t whinny or act up! What a good boy! We moved the truck and trailer to the gate entrance and closed the gates. We drove the 2 miles to the highway and I got out and checked on Chex. He was just standing there, looking around. No whinnies, no kicking. Wow!

We traveled 2 hours without stopping. I checked on Chex as we filled up with gas. He just stood there, looking outside the rear window. I still can’t believe how good he was doing. We made 2 more stops, and each time, Chex just stood facing front. One time, he turned his head and looked at me while I talked to him. The last stop, he didn’t even turn his head. He just stood and dozed.

Once we got to my daughter’s house, we backed up to the round pen. We opened the gates and trailer door. After a few minutes of hesitation, Chex stepped out as he saw Sara’s horses, in the other pasture, come up to the round pen to meet him. He trotted around the round pen for a few minutes, then settled in to eating some hay that was ready for him.

I must say that this was the easiest trailering experience with a young horse that we have had. And he trailered by himself!

Now for trailer business. We traded in our 4 horse Exiss for a 3 horse Trails West with a living quarters. No more sleeping in the cold! We’re driving home today and it pulls wonderfully! Pulling empty so I hope it pulls the same with a horse or 2 in it.

And finally, this weekend, we spent 2 ½ days with our 4 month old granddaughter, Makenzie. We were able to watch her 4 month pictures being taken. We went to church on Easter morning together. As I held her, she looked at a picture of Jesus on the wall, and started cooing and smiling at him! Just like Jesus was talking to her and she was smiling back! I know that Jesus loves the little children!

As I gave her an evening bottle last night, she dozed off so peacefully. Her little body was cuddled in close to mine. It was so comforting to rock a little and pat her bottom. I laid her in her crib and covered her up. We said goodbye this morning as she cooed and smiled at us, her fingers in her mouth.

Within a few short years, Makenzie will be trailering with me, and Caden, too! I’m planning our rides together already!

Chex and new friend, Zip


Pony Girl said...

Sounds like Chex had a good trip to his new home, what a trooper! What does your daughter plan to do with him? Did he come from a neglectful situation to your barn?
Your new trailer sounds divine. And I'm glad you were able to spend time w/your granddaughter, that is precious time, for sure!

Brenda said...

oh, Pony Girl, no, this colt hasn't been abused. My gracious, I raised him. But I raise QH's that get tall and lanky, and don't fill out until they are 2 or 3. Which is fine by me, because it is easier on their joints and legs. Even though this colt is from a reining stud, he is still taking his time to fill out. But what I was getting at, was that he dropped weight right after his castration and following 2 weeks of swelling. Before, and since the castration, he has had free choice alfalfa hay and 3# Compete. We did up his grain after castration to 4#. I don't like my colts to gain a lot of weight fast, so right now, my daughter has him on 5# Compete along with the alfalfa hay that we took her. I am postitive that now that he is over the stress of castration, and now the stress of moving, he will be a different looking colt in a few weeks. I didn't have pictures of him ready when I posted, but I have posted some now. As you can see, he isn't bad, but showing more ribs than I like. I will post another picture of him, along with my yearlings, once they have shed out! But thanks for the concern. We will continue to baby him for awhile!


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