Monkey proof a trailer for climbing wannabe circus pony? Brainstorm with me!
I currently have a 7'6" tall 6'wide trailer with mangers. My 13.3hh pony is a midget in it but we need the size for the Friesian. Little pony thinks it's quite fun to club on things....wheelbarrows, mounds of grass, stalls, fences, mounting blocks, human stairs...she just loves to put her feet up on whatever she can. I am currently working on training this behavior out of her but now we are on to her other love...standing with her feet in the manger of the trailer to peer over the top divider. She's not panicking or fearful. She just loves to get up there. She's done it twice and I can't risk her getting hurt. She went up and down without a problem the first time. Front feet in the manger and standing completely erect without hitting the ceiling. The second time she went up, I yelled, she came down calmly but her left hoof hooked on the ledge of the manger and she couldn't get it down. She was insanely calm and just stood there on 3 legs with one up in the manger. She carefully reared back into the manger and tried to get down again. No luck. She rears back in again and this time, with my help, she gets it out. I lost 20 years off my life. She was unphased. So this leads me to the trials.
1) I tried a walk-through. She tried to stand on the chest bar and then slipped off the other side and got hung up. Again, remained freakishly calm while I pulled the pin and let it drop freeing her. Walk throughs are not an option.
2) I boarded up the manger but she juuuuuust fits now. Her nose is 1" away when she's all the way in.
So this leads me to the following options.
1) try to find a 7'6" tall slant load for dirt cheap. Not ideal.
2) monkey proof this trailer so I can safely train her not stay down.
1) the manger is not designed to hold the weight of a horse. She weighs 850lbs and I'm worried if she gets up there while I'm training she could put a leg through.
2) the "lip" of the manger is 2.5-3" tall. I can't have a lip for her to get a leg caught on if she goes up. I need her to be able to slide safely down.
I prefer to train her safely to knock it off rather than getting a new trailer and avoiding the problem. I'd like her to learn how to trailer no matter what. I'm sure a time will arise where she may end up in someone else's trailer and I need this behavior gone.
SO! what can I do to monkey proof the trailer while I teach the circus pony to stay down?
1) get a 3" thick rubber mat cut to the dimensions of the manger. If the manger gives way in a spot the mat should prevent her foot from going through...right? Also it would eliminate the 3" lip for her to get hung up on. Opinions? Ideas? Other alternative ideas because I'm not seeing 3" thick mats anywhere. Maybe pink board guerilla glued down?
2) Keep her extra snug and leave up the barricade.
3) put a tie low to prevent her from going up. Use in conjunction with her regular trailer tie.
4) Amy other opinions? Ideas? I'm in the early stages of planning so please feel free to point out any dangers in my plans as I'm just throwing ideas out there! Thanks for any help...I hope to get it safe so I can work with her without having to worry about a disaster while we train through this. Ugh. PONIES!!!!!
"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."
Maybe I'm not understanding your configurations, but wouldn't it be possible to weld tie rings further back in the shipping stall, then tie her up more snugly? For a chest bar perhaps a few bales of hay in hay bags so she can't get a foot through them?
Been there, done that. I had a horse that just loved to climb in the manger if he was left standing on a trailer. However, he didn't climb into it when moving. I had another horse which tried it while I was stopped at a light--with that horse, when he reared up to get in the manger, we stepped on either the gas or brake, I don't recall which, but essentially jerking the trailer--he came down, stayed down, and never tried it again.
I had another horse which climbed over the breastbar in a trailer; he had learned that doing this sort of thing resulted in the horse being taken off the trailer--for him, I pulled the pin, let him drop to the ground, but never unloaded him from the trailer, and continued driving. He was madder than a wet hen, pawing, etc. We took him for a trailer ride every day for a week--and no matter what he did we didn't unload him--by the end of the week he was trailering fine, and did just fine for the rest of the time we owned him, which was several years.
The only good thing about climbing in a manger is that I have had it happen several times, and I have seen it happen, and I've never seen a horse get hurt. If she is doing it to look over the partition, can you just pull the partition out and haul her without it in there? That might stop the problem. I do think your idea of putting something in the manger so the lip isn't there is a good idea--then when she does get up there she should be able to get down easier.
1-definitely add a tie ring lower down so she can not get her head up high enough to try to stand in the manager
2-as a second-line safety item, build an insert for the manager. I'm thinking triangular, with a base that sits down in the manager and a slanted top surface, sloped in such a way that if she did rear up to put her feet in the manager, they would just slide off the smooth wood surface of the insert. This insert would have to be fastened to the trailer to make sure it didn't tip out in any way if she put her feet on it.
"Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
- Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926