Wednesday, January 27, 2010

27th January, 2010 Bally

I can't say I was looking forward to my loading job when I set off this morning. A seven year old Irish Draught x Thoroughbred standing at 16.3 h.h., Bally's previous history of loading into trailers was unknown. My last three loaders have all been quite tricky - all needing to load and go; not my favourite scenario as I always prefer to be able to do at least one practice session with them if I can. I needn't have worried. Bally's owners were happy for me to take the time to work with him quietly so that we could analyse whether there was any particular element of loading that worried him. In the event, there was no evidence of him having been hit to go into a trailer and he just seemed to need to acclimatise himself and to know how everything works. Bit by bit we introduced the partition and the bars before eventually putting the ramp up. Bally seemed to consider everything very carefully and he was soon confident moving a step here and a step there within the trailer. This is so important with a tall, long horse especially where the horse travels and exits to the right - he needs to take a step forward and to the left before negotiating the turn out of the trailer if he is to avoid getting banged on the sides of the front door.
E-mail 28.1.10: I can not thank you enough for getting Bally and myself comfortable with the loading process. Will attempt tomorrow to recreate what we achieved yesterday. I have every confidence that we will do so. We learnt a great deal yesterday not just about loading but about managing Bally so both he and we are comfortable. Richard was particularly impressed with how Bally responded to you and the loading into the trailer."Naomi M.
E-mail received 29.1.10: "We started with the partition in but the sides pinned back as you showed us. Bally put his front feet straight on, had a good sniff and then walked in half way. I rewarded him and then he decided to back out – but he did not panic and it was very controlled. He then had another sniff around and walked straight in. At no point did I have to worry that he was distressed about anything. He stood patiently, I rewarded him and then Richard let the front ramp down and he walked out very calmly. We repeated this exercise 3 times and then progressed with the partition, back bars, front bars and then with the rear ramp up. We did this methodically, basically a repeat of what you did yesterday. Finally we shut the front door gradually, he stood calmly and walked out as if he’d been doing this all his life. I am extremely chuffed to say the least. I will probably do this every other day or so for the next week and then take him out for a ride. As he has travelled in a lorry before I would hope he won’t be too fazed by travelling. We will of course treat him like cut glass!

I really can’t thank you enough; the loading skills and the handling skills you have passed on to us can only make our relationship a stronger one." Naomi M