Cantering and Turning Left

So, ya'll are doing 2pointober, and meanwhile, I'm over here doing "Canteringandturninglefttober". 

The Equisense has continued to be illuminating in the most shameful ways.  Like, you hope you'd recognize the fact that the canter is his weakest gait because you literally never do it or that turning left is uncomfortable for you both because you go right a lot more, but there's a difference between casually thinking that and seeing cold, hard numbers that you cannot ignore.

The above rides were from earlier this month.  I've since set some casual goals to increase the amount of cantering and going left that we do every ride. 

There's already been improvement.  Each ride between the one above and the one below has been progressively longer in terms of cantering.  The left rein comes and goes, but is generally trending upward too.

The reason I'm not cantering enough is largely because until he's really on my aids, his canter is not fun to ride.  So I spend most of the ride getting him perfect in the trot before deciding to canter. 

But, often the canter helps the trot, so it's a catch 22 that I need to recognize and power through.  My last ride showed some definite improvement in that, with cantering early and often (for me):

It's still such a "nice to have" that I'm almost guilty owning it, because it's really not essential, but it's also shedding light on some really important things we need to fix, and there's a lot of value in that.


Horse Trailer Insurance

Since I bought some this week, let's talk about trailer insurance!

There are three things to have coverage for on a horse trailer: liability, contents and theft or damage.

Outtake from yesterday

Liability is easy.  It makes sure I'm covered in the event my trailer damages someone else's property.  It's covered by the tow vehicle's policy.

(In researching this blog post, I discovered that's true for all auto policies, as long as the truck's registered/insured owner is the same as the trailer's registered/insured owner.  The insurance industry says you can't insure what you don't own, so if your friend borrows your trailer, her tow vehicle's policy doesn't extend to your trailer.)

Second, I need to cover the contents of the trailer (minus the horse) in case my tack is stolen out of my tack room.  For me, my homeowner's policy covers this.  I called my insurance agent and checked on this when I got the CWD.

Unlike tow vehicle liability insurance, this is a major your-mileage-may-vary area, so definitely call your insurance agent and double check this one.  Even non-trailer owners should check on this, since it applies to your tack sitting in the barn's tack room same as it does the trailer.

Still the absolute love of my life even though we don't jump much right now.

That leaves some major gaps, though.  If the trailer itself gets stolen, or pummeled in a hailstorm while sitting at the barn or blown into the hayfield by a tornado, none of that damage is covered.

For that, you can buy a separate comprehensive trailer policy with a deductible for a trailer just like you can for cars.  And for my tiny bumper pull on my multi-line policy, it's insanely cheap: $5/month or $30/six months for a $1,000 deductible or $6/month or $36/six months for a $500 deductible.  $6 a month for that much peace of mind?  Sign me up!

Anyone else shopped for trailer insurance recently?


Connor and the New Trailer

Connor has been in a step up before, his breeder has one, but it's been at least six or seven years since he'd been in one.  With a couple of trips coming up later this week, I wanted to make sure he was cool with the new trailer.

I needn't have worried...

"Wow this is pretty great!"
One thing I learned with the KieferBuilt is that this chicken of a horse takes his cues from me.  If I walked into the KB like I meant it, so did he - and he went right in.  If I walked up to it tentatively, so did he - and he wouldn't go in.

"Well played, horse, well played."

With the Shadow, we walked up to it casually to check it out and sniff it all over, then I hopped into it like I meant it, and he hopped right in with me.

I'm not one to haul with the windows down, but for getting him comfortable with the trailer, it was great.

When he got in the first time, he learned the trailer is an amazing place where the cookies never end, and we repeated that a whole bunch of times (although maybe with fewer cookies).  He never even hesitated even though it's a decent sized step for his stubby legs.

Slant loads, especially one horse slants with big doors that latch open on the outside, require a whole different safety protocol than the two horse straight with escape doors did.  When I have two people later this week, we're going to work on self loading, which is pretty much a necessity now.  But for just getting him comfortable in it tonight, I didn't mind getting in with him.

By myself, I worked on teaching him we only go off of it head first, since he can so easily turn around in this, and reinforcing our already-installed "stay where I put you" command ("Wait") and our "you're good to get off the trailer now" command ("Okay!").

Which we did...

...and over...

...and over...

..until he was incredibly bored.

Fit-wise, I could not be happier.  He had so much room back there, much more than I thought he would from visualizing it in my head. 

So much room for activities!

All in all, super happy with how he handled it and how he fits in it, and I can't wait for our first real haul on Friday!


Yep, I'm Crazy

Say hello to Connor's new ride!

Husband says it looks like half a horse trailer.

There are going to be a lot of people out there that think I'm crazy for this, and I don't blame you one bit.  My new trailer is a 2017 Shadow Stablemate 1H slant with dressing room.  You did read that right: that's a one horse.

I've been looking at this trailer for over a year now, so this is definitely not a snap decision.  My justifications:

- I refuse to haul two horses with a half ton pickup.
- I don't want to own more than one horse at once, ever, unless one is totally retired.
- I couldn't use the KB's second stall for storage because it wasn't a stud divider.
- Connor is tiny.
- I want to simplify my life, and the amount of maintenance the things in my life require.
- Resale value is overrated (says the owner of the 1H slant and the 16" Dressage saddle)

Warmblood height, because what trailer isn't 7'6 these days?

Once I settled on a 1H, I started shopping.  There are more options than you'd think.  Some were too expensive (Double D and Equispirit), some were so narrow they made me nervous about stability (4 Star) and some didn't have enough of a dressing room (Brenderup Baron One).

The divider locks all the way to the left in case you want to use it to transport...a four wheeler?  IDK.

The Shadow ticked all the boxes. It has a proper dressing room.  It's built on the chassis of a two horse trailer, so stability is fantastic (and I got to test that out on the 2 hour drive home in 30mph crosswinds and driving rain - it never moved).  The horse's weight is positioned right over the axles, and I actually think it's slightly wider than my KB was.

Technically it's an 18" short wall.  Hahaha.
Most importantly, it's 1,400lbs less than my KB was, at 2,100 lbs empty.  I never really felt undertrucked with the KB behind me, but stopping definitely required some brainpower, planning and finesse.  I was immediately much more comfortable with the Shadow behind me - braking with it felt like I was just braking the truck.  1,400 fewer pounds also means less wear and tear on my 12 year old truck and slightly better gas mileage, too.

Grate dropped.

I had planned to buy one brand new from the dealership because they're extremely cheap as far as new trailers go, but then the local Shadow dealer raffled one off at a backyard Western show in my area earlier this summer.  I figured the raffle trailer would turn up for sale sooner or later because I think I'm the only person on the planet that wants a one horse trailer.

Brrrrrrand new.

The raffle trailer did show up for sale, and I was the only person who called about it (told ya!).  I ended up getting it for $2,000 less than I was going to pay the dealer.  Brand new with every option I wanted, and a seven year warranty plus a two year tire warranty.

Factory insulated roof!  I was going to DIY this, very glad I don't have to!

The dressing room has slightly less square footage than my old one, so I need to maximize available space by mounting everything I can on the walls, which sounds like a party to my organization-obsessed self.  But that's a subject for another post!

Boot for scale.  I can stand comfortably underneath that saddle rack, I have no idea why it was mounted so high.  Good thing I don't ride Western.

So there you go.  It's not the trailer for everyone, and I don't blame you if you think I'm crazy, but I'm in love with it.  I can't wait to use it the next two weekends!

Anyone else ever considered or known someone with a one horse trailer?


Comparing Lunging and Riding with Equisense

I got the Equisense a couple of weeks ago, but given that I couldn't use it at the show and then Connor got a week almost completely off, I've only just now started to get to use it.

The real value of the thing will come when I have enough rides to compare and view trends and anomalies over time.  But so far, what I've found most interesting is the difference between when I'm lunging and when I'm riding.  I've been capturing both as separate "sessions" so I can see them clearly.

This was my first ride back after Connor's week off.


I love how it thinks he jumped something.  I mean, all four feet did leave the ground, but it was a sassy half-assed buck.


Ooooh boy.  I knew I favored the right side but I had no idea it was this bad until I got this data.



Besides the fact that we are not ambiturners, (ha.  ha...), I'm interested in how much more elevated his front end is without me on his back, and how all of his stride frequency numbers are higher without me on his back.  Obviously higher stride frequency is not always a good thing, what we really want is more suspension and fewer strides, but uh, we're not there yet.  Right now, the reduced stride numbers correlate to what NK referred to as "something about the way you sit on him shuts his engine down."

It's going to be really interesting to see what else this thing shows me!


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