Bred for racing, but never raced, Puffin has a checkered history when it comes to loading. Although her owner has always endeavoured to be kind to her, things have escalated when other people have become involved and Puffin has developed one or two strategies to thwart their attempts to load her. Sometimes she plants, accepting the endorphins brought about by pressure on her head seeming to go to sleep, and sometimes she rears and goes off to the side of the ramp. We needed to bring everything down to a low key again and make sure that we worked quietly with her yeses and her maybes.
I was keen to introduce clickered rewards as I usually do. Sarah has always rewarded Puffin with a bucket of food in the trailer but on one occasion Puffin dropped her head to get to the food and then got trapper under the front bar. Treats in a bum-bag ensure that this doesn't happen.
Puffin is also wary of the back bar and so I used a mock bar (insulation on a feather duster pole today!) to re-introduce the bar and help her to believe that it could be trusted not to hurt her.
We were then able to put the real bar in place although I think Puffin would be a good candidate for a Bar Buffer on both the breast and breech bars.
This seemed like a good note on which to end today.
"I didn't expect to achieve so much in such a short period of time and everything was really relaxed! We both enjoyed ourselves :)" SR
Ivy is doing well at home in her owner's rather fashionable scarf.
"Ivy is back home - or at least I think it's Ivy? I'm partially convinced Sarah has sent me back another pony altogether. Can't believe this shy girl who was always hiding behind her mum and running away if you looked at her is now chasing me around the field after a handling session, away from her mates! Despite the wind she was more than happy to come into the stable to have a face rub, headscarf and all feet done; then out into the yard to have her headcollar on and lead all around from left and right and have her face goo on - even having her ears touched. So confident and trusting, I can finally see a way forward with her. What a transformation!" MM