dancing horses

dancing horses

Friday, July 13, 2012

Trailer Loading

Yesterday, Steele and I worked on Trailer Loading. Obviously he's already had some work done to get here.
This is him on the trailer (either first or second time). The woman I bought him from introduced him to it:
 and what I like to call 'The Hand Off"
As you can see it's a lovely slant load trailer where the horse walks in one side and out the other.

I have a European trailer that is a bumper pull:
I love it. I can walk Irish up to it, throw the rope over his neck and say 'walk on' and he does. When it's time to get off, I lower the butt bar, tug on his tail and tell him to back off and he does. It's awesome. And necessary because I trailer by myself.  It's also very satisfying when we're leaving a show to be asked for help and say 'no, thank you', walk him up and watch him get on with no fuss. While other horses are giving their owners a hard time :)

Steele: "hey, I thought this blog was about me, why are you going on about Irish?!"

I may be wandering off topic a bit. Sorry. Back to Steele. 

My plan is for Steele to do the same. But Rome was not built in a day. And I own a trailer so I can take my time and get him used to it. There really is no excuse to not tackle this. A couple weeks or so ago I started but then found a wasp nest in the trailer so that ended that lesson.

Here's how I got rid of the wasp nest with no stings----
Steele *ahem*

oops sorry about that. Where was I? Oh yes, loading. If you are going to ask a horse to defy all instinct and go into a small cave you better have a plan and you better be calm about the whole thing.

Last night I lowered the back and we spent about 20 minutes practicing walking up the ramp and then backing off. Each time he came farther in. I am using clicker training to work on this. He loves it and it really does simplify the issues. By the end he was walking on and backing off with absolutely no concern. It was easy. I gave him all the time he needed to sniff and walk around. I also asked him to stop before he thought he wanted to. I find that when horses are uncertain and you choose the moment of stopping rather then letting them do it, they are much more likely to move towards the object and things go much quicker. I think next time I will involve my husband to help close him in and get him used to that. Once he's calm about the whole thing I will work on the self loading.

1 comment:

  1. You are totally right that clicker training simplifies things! I love it! I used it for Chrome's trailer training too. I got him to where he would walk on and off, eat on it, stand on it while I opened and closed it, stand on it while I had someone bang on the outside of it, etc. Even with all of the prep work he still gets nervous when it's actually moving. :( I think it's just too small for him. I think when I get a new trailer that he will calm down a lot more. He will load though and I've only ever once had problems with getting him on (at the vet's trying to go home, he had been sedated to be gelded so his world was topsy turvey). I do need to work on self loading again. I started to work on it, but my trailer doesn't have a divider so that makes things awkward. I've sort of just put it all on hold until I get a new trailer. Most of our trailer hang ups are from me, not him. Trailers just scare the bejeebers out of me lol.

    Keep up the great work with Steele. :D I love seeing pictures of him. His face sooooo reminds me of Chrome when he was a baby. I love that between color that grays have.


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