Today I have been out to see a smashing pony club pony, a Forester, that has gone on strike about loading. His rider wants to be able to take him to rallies in half term but still has plenty of time to get practise in. This pony wasn't terribly worried about the trailer, even when in it, but even a mild apprehension, especially if reinforced with lots of people coming to 'help' on previous occasions, is enough to make him reluctant. Although he would move his front feet for pressure and release, it was actually his back feet that were planted and wouldn't move at all. With the help of the panels and a very calm approach, we got him to load after a while. After that he loaded time after time without hesitation and without us needing to close the panels at all. Moreover he didn't attempt to run backwards once loaded which is what he has done before. Bit by bit, loading and unloading in between, we put up all the bars and the ramp, checking that there were no obvious trigger or worry points as we went along. Mother, daughter and I all worked as a team, keeping our adrenalin low and trying to make it a really pleasant experience with food available in the 'hotel' once he was inside.
Email received 30.1.12: "We put the box just by the gate on Sunday. Y was the first to try to load him and he planted his back legs again but she moved the front end. After a couple of minutes she said would I try and so I took over and moved him sideways a couple of times and then he walked on to our relief – so the delay was only about 5 minutes. We then loaded him 4 more times, myself twice and Y twice and he walked straight on each time. I am going to practice again this week and the on Friday we will take him for a short journey. On Saturday we are planning to take him for a short journey and then unload him and wait a while and then load him again to come home. I will keep you informed on his progress."BP