February 16, 2014

Trailering: The Ultimate Entertainment

Throwback to the day I bought Ypke.  Good gosh how time flies!
We've all been there before. The point of no return: when your horse REFUSES to load in a public environment, be it a show, clinic, trail ride, or the infamous 4-H meeting. There is something about a horse refusing to get in the gosh darn trailer that attracts people like flies to a barn. Is it the feeling of superiority that their horse loaded yet yours didn't? Are they a teenybopper wannabe trainer? Or are they simply bored for the day and want some good ol' entertainment?

A two horse stock trailer Ypke used to ride in... it has since been sold
On a blazing hot July afternoon in 2012, I found the answer was all of the above.  Where might I have found this out you ask?  Why, a 4-H meeting of course!

Ypke was always a good loader up until that day. The facility borders a freeway, so there is always a lot of noise. Ypke wasn't having any of it, and she did NOT want to load right there along the busy street. Immediately there were at least a dozen people surrounding us.

"Have you tried a bucket of grain?"
"Have you tried backing her into the trailer?"
"What about lifting her feet in there one at a time?"
"Do you ever used the blindfold method?"
"You should try using a butt rope on her!"
"Want me to try to load her?"

I regret accepting the 6th option. She was an 18-year-old 3rd level dressage rider with a half decent show record, so I figured that maybe she knew what she was talking about. NOT. Without warning she whipped Ypke (I'm not talking about an encouraging tap, I mean raise your arm above your head and WHACK) three times with a dressage whip. I was appalled. Ypke was trying to pull away, but the girl whacked her even harder for that. I am typically a very cool cucumber, but there are some things that I will not stand for. I immediately told the girl off, wrenched the lead rope out of her hands, and stormed off into the pitch black night. The girl yelled some rude things after me.

Needless to say, I came back. What choice did I have? The girl was still there, a smug look across her face. I told her it was probably time for her to leave and she left, but not before whipping Ypke again as she walked by. It took a lot of effort not to retaliate against her. Everyone else drove off and there I was, alone in the pitch black darkness with a scared horse. That is enough to put a damper on the day.

Low and behold my trainer came rolling in. Thank goodness! I think she was rather surprised to see us there, but she of course began to try to load Ypke. It was not more than five minutes later until the girl that whipped Ypke came speeding in. Apparently she had brought her horse home but drove back to see if were still there. She hopped out of her car, crossed her arms, and just stood there. Within 15 minutes with a patient person trying to load her, Ypke stepped into the trailer. Smug girl hopped into her car and drove off immediately after without a word.

I have had loading issues with Ypke ever since that day. In fact, two days after that incident she had a major blowup (I am thinking it was because of being scared of being whipped) that landed someone in the ER. Luckily, it was just a badly sliced up hand due to a malfunctioning "panic release" snap.  You can no longer have a whip around the trailer because she will freak out, and she is always looking behind herself, almost as if she is expecting to be whipped. I know that she wouldn't be quite such a horrible loader if that event hadn't happened.

Have you ever been a victim of trailer loading trouble?

Stock photo of Ypke's new 2013 Exiss warmblood trailer


  1. That is awful! I don't know what is going on in people's heads who think they can just whip other people's horses! Luckily for me, Shy loads without a problem, but I had a friend who's horse wouldn't load (still won't). She put it through a multiple hour long loading session one day with a ton of people "helping". Horse still never loaded.

    1. Lucky you! I remember the good ol' days when Ypke was a pro at loading. Whenever I trailer Ypke anywhere, it also ends in a several hour long ordeal with a tons of "helpers." There is just something about horses not loading that attracts people to crowd around you.

  2. It sounds terrible that someone would whip your horse!

    1. It really was a terrible experience for both Miss Ypke and I!


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