Tuesday, June 8, 2010

More on trailer loading

A busy schedule as limited my time at the barn and today I just had time to visit Lily and Cibolo. I've been fretting over Lily who is showing signs of being off. Today I took some time to figure out what's going on.

It looks like she needs another injection in her right front. Unfortunately it will have to wait for a month, we're a bit stretched right now. No riding for her until we get that done. I know the cosequin helps, but it's not quite enough any more.

Cibolo and I had our third trailer session. I can see our progress building, but I have to remind myself to not expect it to be done in just two or three sessions. My goal is high - get this trailer loading to standard: self loading, no stick, no lunging.

Today I only had to get in the trailer twice (a 50% reduction! LOL). After 5 minutes, he loaded in - again a big improvement (no slanted horse time), but wouldn't move in enough for me to get the bar in place for some time. He turned in the trailer once and came out face first and we worked to correct that.

It's funny, every time we go back to face the trailer after exiting, he pulls back. Not so hard that he breaks my hold, obviously he could do that any time, but I feel like he's checking to see if there is another option. How serious am I?

Serious. But steady, not mad.

I remember the rule - as much as is possible, be the post. I don't yank, I don't get big. I'm just the post. We stand there, ten seconds, probably, him pulling back firmly, yet allowing me to keep him in place. Then he rocks forward, almost as if he's using that momentum.

I'm focusing on having him keep his face forward, he keeps turning his head to look back, away from the dreaded divider, but to the short part of the slant load. He won't fit that way, unless he works on his yoga moves.

But it makes sense. Turning his head toward the divider is how he got knocked in the head the last time, so he clearly is working this bit out. I pull his head over slightly, try to help him make a good choice. Everything is slow and soft.

By the end, he's in with just my pats on his hindquarters. We pause there, and then quietly out and back to the pasture with friends.

We're getting there I think.


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Sounds like a quieter, calmer, gentler way to load. I like it!


Anonymous said...

Sometimes small bits of progress are more effective than big ones - they seem to stick better. Love your approach.

Beth said...

Slow and steady wins the race, sounds like your making a lot of good progress.

JeniQ said...

Good Luck!!!

morningbrayfarm said...

I hope Lily does well. Thanks for the "post rule." I'll be that'll come in handy for our boys too. I love reading your blog.

AareneX said...


John and Regina Zdravich said...

Sounds like you are getting there. Loading can be such a big thing to teach, but you seem to have a good handle on it.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

That sounds great. Any progress is good, right?

Grey Horse Matters said...

Sounds like everything is moving along nicely. Small steps lead to big improvements, anything worth having is worth taking the time and doing it right. Good luck.

Jocelyn said...

trailer loading gives me a stomach ache! Sometimes shes a lady and sometimes she just awful.

So glad to hear that he is being a good boy for you!