If you have never had the job or pleasure to load a hay wagon, you may have questions. You see, riding a wagon is not easy. The wagon does not have springs on it to make your ride a soft one. One tip is that while you ride afoot on the wagon, do not lock your knees. It will take time to develop the skill to ride with confidence. So be patient, your skill will develop and become much more comfortable with time and experience. You may have heard about how sailors have to develop their “sea legs”. Well, it is the same here. You will have to get “wagon legs”.
To get your “wagon legs”, the key is proper placement of your feet and how you stand on them. Stand with your feet at least shoulder-width apart with one foot in front of the other. How far in front will vary with the terrain and the likelihood of braking. Also stand with your weight forward on the the balls of your feet.
Be prepared to adjust your stance as needed during turning and going up or down hills. Keep alert to avoid accidents.
Between loads get a drink of water to keep yourself hydrated.
Be sure to use shoes that will not slip on the stray pieces of hay which will break off from the bales. My daughter uses old tennis shoes. They work for her. My husband uses chore boots. Both styles get the job done.
You may prefer to wear loose clothing that you are willing to get dirty. Consider whether or not you want to wear long-sleeve shirts or short-sleeve shirts. Long-sleeves prevent scratching on your arms, but short-sleeves are cooler. You will probably want to use work gloves for protecting your hands while grabbing the twine.
When you pile the bales, be sure to pack them tightly. If a load is not stable, the greater the chance for the bales to fall off in transit and force you to put them back on and stack them when the wagon is no longer in motion. Being in motion provides good momentum for stacking well.
An essential part of the work day and ensuring it goes smoothly is listening to the baler. Both the driver and the stacker must be alert to any abnormal noises that could delay the work. In addition, is the need to watch what is going on at both ends. The two working the rig are seeing things from different perspectives. The driver can see if the hay is getting picked up or stuck in the baler. The stacker can see if the knotter is slipping knots or losing the twine. This is definitely a team-effort.
I hope these observations for successful loading bales on your wagon are helpful to you. Always use caution as you work.