Monday, May 29, 2017

The Day My Horse Scalped Himself

Unrelated photo of earlier this week - he turned eleven!!
Today was the day.  Today was the day that my friend and I were going to trailer our horses without the assistance of someone more confident about hauling a trailer. 

We hitched up the truck and trailer in excellent time, loaded up the tack, grabbed the ponies, who easily loaded in to the trailer with no fuss.  We trailered to a VERY close public arena (2 miles?) with a known turnaround (no reversing for me!).  The boys backed out of the trailer with no issue, and walked around the new area with not a single spook or snort.

It was an excellent first outing.  It started raining, so our time was cut a little bit short, but we did what we had come to do, namely: hook up the trailer, load the ponies, trailer them somewhere, have a positive experience, and then get home safe and sound.
Photo from a drive into the plains this weekend.  Really serene.

When we arrived home, we got to the business of unloading them.  My friend's horse, Sterling, comes out first (he was a hesitant traveler when she first got him).  He came out, no issues. 

Annnnnd that's where sailing the calm trailering seas ended.  Gavin decided that he was most definitely coming out RIGHT THIS FUCKING INSTANT.  Somehow (how, I don't know), he got his big fat pony butt under the butt bar (in this trailer it's a padded butt chain, so there was enough slack for this to happen).  He went into reverse at full speed and got stuck at the withers (I didn't see this part as I was still trying to get him back into the trailer (I was standing at the escape door, my friend was to his side).  At this point Gavin made the decision to crouch (WTF HORSE?!?!) and wormed the rest of his body out.  He wasn't scared - nothing scary had happened.  Sterling was still right there.  He was just impatient.  As soon as he was out of the trailer, he just stood there like "Okay... so let's go back to our stalls now".  He may not have been freaked out, but I was freaked out, especially when I realized he had managed to rip out a good 2x2 inch section of fur along his spine (about 2 or 3 inches back from his withers).  Yes... my horse scalped himself.  Or gave himself some weird version of a horse Brazilian.  Dude is hairless in that one section.  Sexy Gavin.... :-/
Did I do that?!?! *Gavin's best Urkel impression*

Well... hairless or not, we couldn't just go back to his stall.  Sterling was put up and Gavin was reloaded.  The butt bar was hooked back up (with the plan that if he tried the same maneuver he'd have the flag of death waving at him from behind (courtesy of my brave friend), and me asking him to give to pressure from the halter.  He never tried it though.  He just stood there, calm as could be.  We took the butt bar down and then asked him to politely back out, which he did.  We did it one more time, and again, no issue.

We did a very long walk around the indoor after the trailering and I doctored up his bald spot (which didn't seem to be causing him any pain).

I would very much like to NOT repeat this little episode and so I'm going to be working a lot with him on trailer etiquette and cues on backing up.  I think in this case, food is my friend, as is three helpers (one to hold Gavin's ride-or-die gelding bro, Sterling, one to dissuade the backing up with aforementioned flag, and one at his head).

Anyone else have any scary trailering stories they'd like to tell?


  1. Oh geez that sounds stressful! Good idea to do some loading immediately after. :) Most of my bad trailering stories involve horses not wanting to get in haha

  2. ughhhh that sounds super unpleasant. seems like he maybe came to the same conclusion based on his decision to sit chilly after you loaded him back up again. glad he wasn't freaked out or anything tho!