|Practice with different types and sizes! This one is a slant load.|
She was quick to go touch the trailer with her nose (curiosity is a good thing!), and after a few squeezes between me and the trailer, was fine stopping there and eating, even backing up to the trailer step up. Then she offered to put 2 feet in, but did not stay long. A few minutes later, she tried all 4 feet but got worried and tried to turn around to get out, so I took a good feel on the line and helped her back out. That was a bit difficult for her, so it took another good 20 minutes before she attempted hind feet again, but she would jump in with the front feet as far as she could. Mentally, she was loading, but just could not get the hind feet to follow! We did lots of Approach and Retreat, big releases for the big tries (go away and eat grass), and she started loading all four feet confidently, found the hay, but still wanted to turn around to get out. So we just practiced going in and out many times, even if it was only the front feet; I did not push her to load all the way in, I knew that would come when she got confident and trusting. Within about an hour, she was loading well, eating hay and waiting for me to ask her out, then unloading calmly backwards with a supporting feel on the line; I was even able to load her from the fender with one send, so I opted to end the day at that point. She was not quite ready for the butt bar, we'll get to that another day. Good session!
|Easter and Menina are confident travelers!|
Easter (RBI, solid Level 4/5) had a look when we first walked up the hill, typical RBI first reaction: getting worried about something that was not quite the same as yesterday! Her breathing got short for a second, then she sighed, went straight to it, sniffed the floor and walked right on by herself. I did not even have to send her, although I'm sure she picked up on my intention. It took less than a minute, and she stood in there calm and relaxed with her leg cocked munching on the hay flake in front until I asked her out. That's what I call a solid trailer loader! It goes to show that years of good preparation can really make a difference, innately, she is after all the least confident of my horses.
Why is trailer loading savvy so important and has always been a key component of the Parelli program? Several reasons: first of all, trailer loading is an important part of any horse's foundation. All horses should be able to load calmly and confidently in a trailer with minimal effort on your part. In case of an emergency, you may not have time to get your horse ready to be trailered and it could be a matter of life and death. You never know when you might have to leave the premises quickly, whether it be a medical emergency or an act of God. It's also a great test of how well you have been playing the 7 Games with your horse, and whether you have been winning the Games. How solid is your leadership, how confident is your horse in your leadership? I promise you all the holes in your relationship and in your Savvy will come out when you attempt trailer loading! It's one of the hardest tasks to do with excellence, and achieving a Level 4 trailer loading will be the most rewarding thing you can do as a horseman or woman. It's also a great way to impress your horsey friends!