Tuesday, October 25, 2016

25th October, 2016 Keep Up the GOOD Work

Keep up the good work

More than any other form of training, loading is something that needs to be practised over and over again if you are going to solve your loading problem in the long term. Not only does this get the horse into the routine of walking on each time, every time, it enables you to keep your own adrenalin down. For both of you it needs to become very boring and ordinary.

Make sure you are familiar with all the fixtures and fittings in your horsebox or trailer so that you can move things and fasten things without fumbling. Always, always, always, fasten things properly, even when practising, so that something cannot come undone or drop down suddenly and set you training back.

Always, always, always, wear the right kit, put any usual safety wear on your horse, and work in a safe place. Don’t take additional risks just because you are only practising

Take the hint!

If I have made suggestions about changes to your horsebox or trailer please consider them seriously and get any work carried out that you can. Your horse may notice the changes but not know that it is to his benefit so make sure you practice after any changes have been made.

At home you need to practise in the same place and in exactly the same way for a few sessions before attempting to load in a different place. If you get into trouble get in touch with me sooner rather than later; if we had to use panels for your session then it might be better to have another practise with the panels in place. It is much better to engage with your horse’s ‘yes’ or ‘maybe’ rather than allow him to practise his no.

By the same token don’t give up too soon; this form of training only works if you use it and use it well – if you allow other people to intervene and try out their suggestions you may find that they are quick to punish the horse, and can undo any progress that we have made. 

Continue to practice at home, perhaps changing the positon of the horse box, as often as you can – it’s always worth practising once a month even if you think your horse is pretty reliable; it will alert you to any problems.

Don't push your luck

Try not to travel to anything serious within the first fortnight or longer after a training session with me. Instead think about taking your horse on a circular trip back to home or somewhere close to home so that if the worst came to the worst you could ride home. Alternatively I can meet you at my own yard or a different venue so that we have panels with which to load your horse if he refuses to load. Lots of horses decline to road away from home even when they load well at home and it is important that their training is generalised. Take a feed for you horse with you. 

It is absolutely critical that whoever drives your vehicle drives as if they are chauffeuring your horse – poor driving will undermine your training. 

Loading and travelling are a test of the trust your horse has in you, and the vehicle he is travelling in. If you rush things, lose patience, or change your approach for the worst, the horse will lose that trust. If the horse has a poor experience then that trust is damaged. Think of it as like an investment, it takes a long time to build up it up and it can take a very short time to lose it again.