Until yesterday it had been a fairly uneventful week. Beau accepted a rider with a saddle and Champ short reined like a star. Alby had remembered everything I taught him two weeks ago and his little sister settled with another pony to keep her company. I am beginning to think that training horses with quite long gaps between sessions works just as well as working on consecutive days and still benefits from latent learning.
I am a little sore after yesterday when a horse I was working with suddenly exploded in the trailer and took a while to calm down. His owner had called me because although he would load he would run out backwards and she was wary therefore of putting the back bar up. In fact, when we began working with him, using the pipe insulation first and the back bar next, he accepted this very well. It appeared that it was the front bar that really worried him and perhaps the combination of the two. Once again I used the pipe insulation to imitate the front bar and he stood quietly with this in place. I then substituted the proper front bar and had in fact taken it down again. when he created havoc. I'd been working alongside his owner's partner and everything had been going very quietly stage by stage so it was disappointing. However, at least now we know which aspect of loading troubles him and can decide how best to proceed or indeed whether it is ethical to try. It can be no coincidence that this horse originally travelled, sedated, in a trailer for emergency treatment at the vets. Once there he was probably restrained in stocks. He has received extensive treatment for sarcoids on his chest which may well have left him mentally as well as physically scarred. It's possible to rationalise with humans as to why it is necessary to cause them pain in order to cure them of more serious problems but impossible to explain to a horse.