Wednesday, May 6, 2015

6th May, 2015 Cherry Picking

Today's great adventure for me was driving one of the cherry pickers across the field so that it could be taken to its next job. Apt really as my next horse was called Cherry, or at least the Polish for cherry.

I've heard other trainers say that invariably horses that won't load are ones that don't lead well. Visnia leads beautifully and is very manoeuvrable. Here she is in the rustic L-shaped poles. 

She would come this far with no pressure...

...and only this far with some pressure. 
It's been three years since I last worked with Hilary and her gorgeous Arabian, Visnia. Since being started the two of them have been merrily going out riding, having lessons with Amanda Barton, and going to the odd event. However, a change of horsebox seems to have activated a resistance to loading even though the two horseboxes are very similar in layout. She'd not even travelled in with the new horsebox transporter before she said no so it couldn't be a difference in manner of driving. Today with the new lorry on hand we practised loading. Once again I was pleased that I had my panels with me as there was a very definite no at first and little point in practising that. With the panels in place she engaged with the ramp and got on board and thereafter flowed on and off really easily even after the panels were taken away. It is not a question of making her but asking her to at least engage in the conversation.

Loading with the help of a set of 6 panels

Gently unloading - no rush

Unloading having loaded with no panels
I also had a good conversation with the horsebox owner, Caroline, and was heartened to hear her say that she wished there was a horsebox layout that would allow the horse to lower its head and adopt a normal stance at the same time as being safe. Like a lot of transporters with rear facing horseboxes she has resorted to a full height partition at the back of her lorry in order to prevent horses going over the top of one and to keep them safe but she recognizes that safe does not mean comfortable.

I am hoping to involve her and other regular transporters in the debate about where safety and welfare meet, after all they are transporting horses day in, day out.