I see that I've been slacking off on regular posts--sorry! A lot has transpired, and I've been exhausted frequently thus unable to process thoughts in any coherent order.
I took Tule to Biltmore last Friday (the 6th) for a ride with my friend Cindy and her horse April. Tule was amazing for the most part. After about an hour and half of our morning ride, April bunched up about something as we entered a meadow with a road adjacent. A truck was coming down, but not even a big one; nevertheless, when Tule got into April's space, she'd had enough and she threw a temper tantrum. And I'm the one who got kicked. Thankfully, she didn't land a hoof on me, as we were too close, but her hind right hock nailed my left calf. Nearly a week later, I'm still experiencing a lot of pain, my lower leg is quite swollen, and I'm not entirely sure but that I may have suffered some severe soft tissue damage. But I can still ride, which is all that matters.
At the end of the day when it was time to load and go home...Tule wouldn't. And we tried EVERYTHING. Sadly, trying everything led to sensory overload on my poor boy, and he flipped his mental switch to "off" and off he stayed. As my friend Rhonda put it, I know Tule, and he wasn't there anymore. After about two and a half hours, I called for reinforcements (Rhonda and her 3 horse slant load GN trailer). She spent over an hour trying. Then she called for backup, her husband Mike. And he ended up successfully loading Tule...blindfolded. But it was over four hours after we'd started trying to load the silly jackass. I was completely melted down by this point and was swearing up and down that this was it, it was over, I was never taking him anywhere ever again, we could just dig a hole and put him in it. Yes, it got that bad.
So I proceeded to spend time every day since working on trailer loading my horses. The next day, Saturday, we did get all four of Tule's feet on the trailer one time for a brief moment after an hour. Sunday also saw a moment of success. Monday...again. Tuesday, I got him on all by myself on the second approach to the trailer, fastened him in, and took him for a short drive. Wednesday, we rode first and then went to trailer school, and loaded within a couple of minutes. So it's working out, but I won't be so cocky as to say I've fixed this yet. I will say it's been improved.
On Sunday, we went for a wonderful trail ride with Rhonda during which we had a lovely long canter uphill and another series of firsts that Tule made it through with flying colors.
I do love my horse. He just tries me sometimes!