Focus on the positive.
That is something I always say, even when it is hard to do. I know you have been waiting for the rest of the story.
But let me go back a little first.
…to when Lito would not load in the trailer to come home. Complete with GIFs. Because GIFs make everything better.
We had just wrapped up a great clinic experience and I decided to go ahead and load up to head home before the last lesson. An hour and a half haul back to the farm to unload and then another hour’s drive home makes for a long Sunday and an early Monday. I loaded all of our stuff and got Lito ready.
As we were walking to the trailer, the evening barn help arrived and started feeding all the barn horses early.
What I should have done in hindsight was just turn around, put him back in the stall, given him some feed, and then loaded when everyone was finished.
Gotta love that hindsight.
However, being the dull minded human I am, I continued forth with the plan. He will load just fine, I thought to myself as he kept trying to look back at all the happy barn horses being fed.
I could belabor the specifics, but that would go on and on just like that fateful evening. I also do not want to focus on that negativity.
Long story short, it is a good thing the clinician, Mark, was spending the night there and not hauling out. He eventually stepped in to help get him loaded. It was a long night that had us unloading at 9:30. I am so grateful for trailer lights.
I think the long weekend combined with the feeding fiasco just all added up. We also had a little bit of drama before we loaded up to go to the clinic, but he loaded just fine to go so who knows.
The positive in all of this was he unloaded like a champ. I opened the door. He looked at me and stood stock still. I stroked his neck and softly whispered in his ear as I untied and gathered the lead in my other hand. When we were both ready, I asked him to back out and he slowly, calmly backed out and off the trailer.
I left him alone for the week and forced myself to focus on the positive. He did really, really well besides the loading. Tomorrow is a new day and we will just go back to practicing trailer loading the next weekend. If he has an issue with it, we will cross that bridge if and when we get there.
Fast forward to this weekend. We crossed that bridge. Or rather, we are on it. We will see with time if we have crossed it.
I was sure he would just load like he always has in the past and that last weekend was a fluke. Just walk right on. Well. That was not the case. It was almost a repeat of last Sunday!
Was it all pretty? No. But neither was last Sunday. Sometimes you just have to work through the ugly and the suck to get to the other side.
And we did just that. We worked through it.
I also had to have an open mind about it. Horses are good at making us do that.
During the more ugly parts, I kept thinking to myself. He’s locked up and he’s stuck. I don’t know why, but he is. I should put another horse in there. But there was also this old thinking part of myself that thought no, that’s cheating. He needs to get his butt in that trailer.
At that point I stopped myself. Wrong attitude. We walked away, I tied Lito up, and went to grab Cheetah. I loaded her in the first stall and closed the divider.
After just a few minutes, with Cheetah standing calmly in there letting him know there was nothing wrong, he loaded and went all the way to the front of the second stall.
I loaded and unloaded him several times. Then I loaded and locked him in there several times. Then I loaded, tied, and locked him in there several times.
Then I took Cheetah out and tied her to the side of the trailer and repeated the process. Each time he walked calmly right on.
Then I took Cheetah and tied her somewhere else and repeated it all again. Again, he calmly loaded right on and off.
Sometimes, you just have to try something new. Do it from a different angle. Fresh perspective.
Part of me wonders if something happened on the way to the clinic. There were no signs other than the refusal to load. The only thing I can add is that tying seemed to cause him to worry when it has not in the past. All he wanted to do is look under the divider. Anyone have any advice for me?
I won’t call it redemption just yet, but we are getting there.
Sounds like a good enough ending? Ya, I thought so too.
There is more.
If all of that was not enough, Lito then decided he does not like to tie and is scared of kites.
That right there? I believe is actual footage of me watching my horse forget how to horse.
So. That is what we will be working on in addition to the trailer loading. Back to square one. But you know what. That is OK. We will work through this just like everything else and be better for it.
Maybe he is just in a phase. They all have their moments. We have had a very smooth road up until now. He never really had terrible twos. Some say they do it again, and worse, at four. Maybe this is how he wants to spend the last month of his four year old year. Throwing tantrums.
It is now my turn to throw the tantrum. You guessed it, it is not yet the end and there is more!
The fun is not over yet. It is like the infomercial that never ends!
I have to get a new car too! Too bad it will cost me more than $19.99.
So for all you bottom line folks, here are the AHA moment bottom lines…on the bottom lines. Haha get it? Bottom lines? No?
Tomorrow is a new day.
Keep an open mind.
Work through the suck and have faith.
You will get to the other side.
And most importantly, walk in love, dear readers.