Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Spirit of Adventure

Quest and I had a very productive weekend. We got in a fantastic conditioning ride, played with the trailer, and I hauled my trailer for the very first time!


I had Good Friday off from work and after spending the morning on a family outing, I scooted over to the barn in the afternoon for a much needed (in more than one way) trail ride. Quest and I went to Hawk Watch for the first time in a long time. I recently bought 3 more Easyboot Gloves at an great price used and I booted the mareface all around. We got some sustained speed on the trails over rockier sections and short bursts of trot over pavement. The weather was perfect and we accomplished exactly what we set out to do. We were still a little slower than race pace but it was no matter- the purpose of the trail ride was to test out the hoof boots at speed over terrain and set a fitness baseline.


Both goals were done and done. The Gloves worked super well w/t/c with only one mishap. Despite being ridiculously anal about checking them throughout the ride, I noticed we lost one boot probably 2 minutes after the fact. We had to double back quite a ways before I found it sitting all by its lonesome on the side of the road. I was able to hop off, put it back on with ease, and continued on our way. In hindsight, the boot mishap was totally preventable. I somehow had figured that the "spare tire" aka the boot in the worst shape of the 3 I had bought would work fine instead of using the better/newer one. Quest is the same size all around so I just grabbed any boot and went with it. Well, lesson learned!

As for fitness, I was quite pleased with how much energy Quest had throughout the ride- especially at the end. The trail is and out and back so we have to tackle some pretty gnarly hills going both ways. On the way home, mareface decided to take them at a gallop and I let her open up until we reached the top. It made me grin to see how pleased she was with herself. It was a very warm day so after stripping off tack, I checked sweat patterns (no dry spots and spine was clear!) and let Quest drink her fill of water. I cold hosed her legs well before putting her back in pasture and calling it day.

The next day was trailer practice! Since I still don't have a truck and probably won't for awhile, I did some research and found suitable pick up rentals through Uhaul. The truck had the proper electric connections and tow capacity so all I had to do was  provide my own ball and hitch receiver to get on the road. I've driven trucks before (ex boyfriend had F150) and Suburbans at work so driving a larger vehicle wasn't too difficult. However I never have had to backup, hook up a trailer, or haul before so I intentionally set an entire day aside to take my time figuring everything out at my own speed.

I'm going to brag a little here but I am ridiculously proud that it only took me one attempt to line up the truck with the trailer and then I had A standing outside as a spotter to line up the final inches.

Not too shabby for a newbie!

It could have been beginner's luck or whatever, but I'll take it haha I got the trailer fully hooked up and A helped me check that the lights/electric were working. We left the wheel chocks in place because the second task of the day was to grab our horses for some trailer loading practice. I have no idea if Quest has ever been on a stock trailer before so I opted to treat it as a new-to-her experience. She put both front feet inside at first before balking and asking to step out. Okay, not too bad of a starting point to work from. It took a few attempts and mental breaks but eventually she followed me right in. Treat incentives were useful.


The horses were both rewarded with a nice grooming session and grazing afterwards. After putting them back into pasture to enjoy the rest of their weekend, it was time to practice hauling. No time better than the present to create good habits so I checked everything again before pulling out and going down the road a little ways. Before leaving the barn, I stopped to do another walkaround check and then hit the streets for real!

It was very interesting to see how hauling a trailer made the truck feel different on inclines but it was more or less the same on normal flat surfaces. I'm sure it'll be whole other experience with horses for sure but for now, I practiced keeping my wheel base within the lines on my side of the road, making gentle stops and wide turns. My destination was an elementary school parking lot that I had already scoped out earlier in the month. It was usually always empty on weekends and I figured it would be perfect for my practice needs.




I first practiced the simple things like backing up straight and testing my turn radius before tackling the real stuff : backing up on a turn. I used two milk crates to visually mark out an imaginary parking spot and went at it. Both A and I agree that this was definitely the hardest part of hauling a trailer but it is totally doable. While I was very slow, I eventually found the balance between how much to turn the wheel and let up the brakes. If I have any tips to offer fellow newbies, my biggest takeaways were:

- Don't over compensate with the wheel; Small corrections are more than enough.
- The hand at the bottom of the wheel tip is very good to keep in mind.
- Mirrors are your best friend. Use them. A lot.

I hope I don't have to do this part in public any time soon just yet because I'm horrendously slow at it and will require multiple attempts haha but if needed, it's good to know I CAN do it. And to be honest I HAD to learn to do this because its the only way I get my trailer back into it's parking spot at the barn.

I'm glad to say the practice was not in vain. It did take a few attempts but hey, I got it done and nothing got destroyed lol I'll count that was a win for my first ever truck and trailer adventure.

13 comments:

  1. The ride on Quest sounds very fun! Good job with getting backed up correctly the first time, it's not easy to do.

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    1. It was SO fun, I'm so glad we can do some training without leaving home. And thanks, I think having a spotter made me a lot more confident haha

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  2. It takes a lot of practice but it sounds like you are off to a excellent start.

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    1. Thanks! I seriously stressed about this to no end leading up to the day of though. I'm super glad everything turned out okay

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  3. Oh wow. I never realized you could rent trucks from UHaul! Sounds like you and Quest are gearing up for ride season!

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    1. I was very relieved to discovered they allowed personal trailer/horse trailer towing! I'm probably going to get a ton of weird looks pulling up in ride camp with a Uhaul but it's my only option at the moment. Though yes! We still have a bit of conditioning to do before I deem us ready but we are getting there :)

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  4. Sounds like you're off to a great start! Nice work.

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    1. We'll get there, slow but steady!

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  5. Yay for getting out and about with your trailer!! And yay for getting practice!! I use all those pointers ALL THE TIME haha. I would also add: whenever I need to back the trailer up, I always try to first make sure the entire rig is fully straight from truck bumper to trailer ramp. It's always much easier to start reversing from a place of straightness, at least to start out!

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    1. Omg yes on the straight rig thing! I made the mistake of trying to back up with it not 100% straight a few times and it made things 1 mil x harder with a lot of harrowing jack knifing moments. My parking spot at the barn doesn't have enough room for a 100% straight approach either so I guess its the school of hard knocks for me lol

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  6. Well done on your first back up! Practice makes perfect :) Sounds like Miss Q is doing great too!

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    1. Thanks! I admit to stressing about it a lot beforehand so it was a much needed confidence boost haha And Quest is really enjoying moving out at speed on the trails again. I'm very grateful to have her back (:

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  7. Renting a truck is genius!!! Why didn't I think of that? NICE job lining it up like that on the first try. Impressive!

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