Monday, January 26, 2009

Trailer loading prep

We are off to the forest on Wednesday and rather than wait till then to find out we have a problem with loading I took Pats advice off the Jan Savvy Club DVD and practiced today (and will do some more tomorrow too).

The last time we went out I had my friend help and we got Garbo to load after about 30 minutes (on the way there and back), with me standing outside the float, but my friend had to be up the front. So today I thought I would work on that.

Normally Garbo will go on the float if I lead him in - just fine - except for if I am stressed or in a rush or both. Then he flatly refuses. We have also had a couple of accidents where he has got a fright while in there (when I have been still in there too), and rushed out, once turning inside the float and squashing me against the divider - luckily it's padded but I still fractured a rib.

So - from a Parelli perspective - he trusts me enough to go in there with me, but as soon as I back up to close the divider he loses his confidence, or if something gives him a fright. Once the divider is closed he's pretty good.

So - I didn't do the obstacle prep today - but we have done tarps, backing into stalls, backing through tight areas, squeeze gane and all sorts round the float.

I walked up to the ramp and stood to the side (left side) and asked him in (like I would with a squeeze game ask)... he put one foot on the ramp - then two, then stopped and looked at me. I lifted my stick until he moved another foot (a millimetre it seemed) and then stopped, he would turn and look at me so I had to use my left hand to point at his nose with energy up to get him to look forward... he has a trick of looking sideways then taking off that way.

This went on for about 30 minutes and we were not getting much further up the ramp - he would paw the ramp, sniff the dividers, turn and whisper in my ear and look all cute, try and lean into me, dive out the right side, anything except load. He even tried loading sideways at one point but I think it was just to position himself for a quick escape.

So - I thought - lets try another tactic. I decided to back him up the ramp into the float. Hah! It only took a few corrections for straightness and I had him yo-yoing into the float backwards, stopping with his front feet on the ground and the rest of him in there, backing up again. I threw the rope over his back and patted him all over, even went to the front of the float to get a carrot for him (I always have carrots up the front as a reward for him).... I went to stop off and he wanted to come too so I snapped the snap and asked him to stay in there while I got out. He looked a little unconfident but lets face it - if he really wanted to and was RB - he would have hightailed it outta there.

If I could float him backwards on an angle I would!!

So then I loaded him how I normally do - leading him on and holding the rope up short and asking for one step back one step forward, back two forward two, back three forward three... he got on and off many times calmly.

So - back to standing at the side of the ramp.... after many many many asks he looked like he was nearly going to go right in and he would stop as soon as I stopped at the ramp.... I have this huge tack box that swings out on the left side and all the dividers open to the left too - so there aint alot of room for me. During this last session he yawned alot and shook his head alot too.

An hour had passed so I thought I would end on a good note - loading him in the old way - gave him two carrots and backed him off slowly....

I will try again tomorrow.

Alot for me to lick and chew on over night and at work tomorrow.

1 comment:

cilla said...

what a good idea to practice loading. something should do too.
i am looking forward to the next installment x