Monday, November 17, 2014

17th November, 2014 Mama Mia!

Back to work with Mia today and I wondered whether she would be better or worse after Friday's session during which she was down to a 4/10 adrenalin-wise on her own but escalated to a 7/10 when we introduced the other horse. In addition it was a much colder, more miserable day today whereas it had been warm and sunny on Friday.

The good news is that she had not gone back to square one and was willing to load and turn nicely on the box. She is still apprehensive about the partition closing but I was able to do it numerous times, closing her in, and developing a nice little pattern for doing it.

She is less inclined to push her way out through my hand if I combine backing her up with closing the partition. I'm working on allowing her a greater angle away from the cab in which to stand when travelling so hopefully she will feel more comfortable and have more room.

I sweep myself under the partition as it closes so that I can close it efficiently but not hurriedly so that I don't leave any inviting space for her to think about leaving through.

Once she's enclosed safely I spend a lot of time talking to her quietly and slowly, reassuring her and also offering her clickered rewards which I put in her feed bowl.

The great news is that she is no longer attempting to push her way out as soon as the partition is opened again. I can spend time giving her a deep flat rub and some more clickered rewards.

She's also happy to spend time just standing at the top of the ramp looking at the view rather than making a quick getaway.

What this horse is teaching all of us though is one change of energy and intent and she will start pushing again. This job is not about teaching her to load - she does that beautifully now, it's about teaching her she is safe on the horsebox.

I was so pleased with her that I was inclined to give her a kiss but I couldn't reach.

For an interesting video on how hard it is for a horse to travel sideways on (with very little angle) take a look at this youtube video: Horse Travelling Sideways  What is so sweet about the horse in the video is how he stands so quietly when loaded and just before unloading. If you hadn't seen the footage you might think he had an easy ride.