Sunday, October 23, 2011

Trailering Tips

It occurred to me that humans may not really understand what goes on in the moving stall (trailer) behind them. While they are merrily singing and laughing and eating and drinking, things are happening in the back. So for anyone potentially riding in the back, here are some tips and knowledge I have learned through the years.

1. If you ride crammed in with others, you don't have to work nearly as hard to keep your balance. If you are by yourself, you want to keep at least one side or your butt up against the wall to brace yourself. Bracing yourself with your head and neck is not recommended.
1a. Some trailers have you stand with a squishy bar against your chest area, as well as in the back, and you can brace against those if you need to. These trailers allow the humans to pass under the chest bar and go out through the "escape door". There is often some sort of hay bag that hangs off the front wall and stretches to the chest bar.
1b. Escape door is for human use only.

2. Don't fluff the hay with your feet. Humans may give you a wall hay bag instead of the walk-through-area-hanging-manger-y bag if you persist in trying to fluff the hay with your feet... sigh. So it's not perfectly poofed the way you like it, but you know you can't reach up that high to fluff it. Mother shakes it out when she puts it in the wall bag, actually the manger-y bag too, but it isn't the same... hhhrmph.

3. If you do fluff the hay with your feet, and end up sideways in the hay area of the walk-through with the hay bags at your feet and the head divider displaced from it's normal location to behind your butt against the escape door,  just know you can't really eat the hay anymore. And you'll get a crick in your neck from craning it into the passenger-side horse area since you are longer than the space is. And you may require stitches. In multiple locations.

4. Water that drips down on you through the back door is just rain. It isn't acid and there is no reason to overreact.

5. When you load, the human doing the loading will usually give you a treat once you are safely aboard. Oh, and it is best if you know at least one member of the loading team. Otherwise, you may in fact find yourself the victim of theft. From what I hear, that doesn't end well.

6. Display caution when loading into a step up stock trailer, especially if it has straw on the floor. If you commit and leap with too much enthusiasm, you may slide forward on the straw and crash into the front wall or cut gate. Fortunately, Mother has this really nice chiropractor that comes to visit me.

7. If turning around is an option for unloading, it is preferable to do that so you may see how far down you may have to jump. I forget while I am on the trailer if it was a ramp or a step up or the giant step up (which really should have a lift gate, you know?). If you turn around, this problem can be avoided. If you must back off, display caution, and make sure the footing is safe before proceeding. Do not rush out backwards.

8. If you have the option, ride backwards. You can watch Mother in her car behind you that way. Oh, and it is easier to balance. And you're already facing out when it is time to unload.

9. You may stop every few hours at the truck feeding smelly place. This is a great time to take care of bodily functions that are more difficult to perform while in transit. This is also a good time to fill up on hay. You can judge how long a trip it will be by whether the humans offer you water or not. Water means you may still be in there for hours (or days...) and you should drink it if offered. Trips that require only one truck feeding usually won't have water offered.

10. If you like people watching, truck feeding stops are the place for you. Small female humans in particular seem to be attracted to the trailer, and they can be fun to watch as they hop up and down and try to peer in.

11. Always stay prepared. You never know when you may experience a sideways shift (humans call these "lane changes"), although you may hear a faint buzz/ticking from the side that you will be shifting to right before the shift happens. These usually happen smoothly but may arise suddenly without warning. This is possibly accompanied by a sudden acceleration or deceleration that may be unpleasant. If the humans have open windows, you may hear further unpleasantness.
11a. Just because you are going slow doesn't mean you are safe. Sometimes that just means you are going to go over a small mountain that makes the whole trailer jump. Humans call these speed bumps. I dislike speed bumps.

12. Don't ride while under the influence (in your Happy Place). Just say no. Well, actually, I say yes, but that's because I've found if they load you up while you are still Happy, they usually will stop before very long and get out and go feed themselves. So you sit there and eventually wake up a little bit more, and then you are fully awake awake, and then you start to realize that you are really, really hungry but there is no food because you were in your Happy Place, and by the time the humans come back you just want to get going. Come on! Let's get home for my dinner!

Umm, I think that covers the main points. Any questions?

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