chifney for loading?
hi guys, hope you all had a good weekend..
Im hoping to take my 16.3 tb x id to a competion sunday, however we have had a few issues loading him in the past. Do i buy a chifney , and if yes shall i put it in straight away before i try the trailer or shall give him the benefit of the doubt and use if needed?? or should i just put it straight in? Im going with my friend and dont want him to mess about , which would then mess her about. Hes not scared, hes stubbon.
A good rule to always go by is: don't see if the horse won't load on the day of the show. It's your job to prepare him before hand so that loading him on the day of the show (or anytime) is no big deal, he just hops right in.
I say no to the chifney because we shouldn't have to use certain things to get a horse in the trailer. There is a hole in the horse's foundation that needs to be fixed, but not with force.
I, too, say go back to basics. "Stubborn" horses are always fun to load. The way I tackle it is to outfit the horse in a simple, normal halter and lead rope. Nothing fancy, can be either wide leather/nylon web, or a knotted rope halter. If the horse is known to be a real snot about it, take the precaution of a cotton rope and/or gloves, just in case.
Get the horse respectfully leading next to you. Ideally, I like my horses to be able to do all of this with a "drooping" lead shank or at liberty, cuing purely off of my body language, but as long as you have respectful control leading, you should be able to load. The horse should lead forward at the walk and trot, stop from the walk and trot, back up nicely, and move out of your space when you turn toward him (i.e. leading from the left side, a right hand turn into the horse).
When you have these moves down, try loading. Walk purposefully toward the trailer, keeping yourself between his shoulder and his throatlatch, looking where you want to go, not at the horse. Have your right hand closest to the jaw, a few inches from the snap, and your left hand holding the tail safely coiled, but easy to flick with to encourage forward motion. Expect him to walk right on in. If he stops before he loads, fine. Back him up a few steps, and then walk forward again, maintaining your position between his shoulder and throatlatch all the time. If you need to get more forward energy from him, flick him with the tail of the lead, or with a dressage whip or NH stick. If he does what a lot of stubborn ones do, he may get his front feet on, raise his head and back off. That's fine too. In fact, thats just such a darn good idea that we'll keep backing up for a good ways, and then reapproach and try again. KEEP HIM FACING THE TRAILER. Don't turn him away from it. As long as he's looking at it, he's at least paying some attention to it. If you turn him away, he's just been rewarded by the release of the pressure to load.
Have the time necessary to get the job done. If you end the session without a horse on the trailer, he just won the game. YOU need to win, but win graciously.
Ideally, one should be able to "send" their horse into the trailer (my project to teach my boys next summer), but practically, I'm going in to tie them and close dividers anyway, so I might as well lead them on.
Don't torture him about it, but practice a little every day. After you ride, put him on the trailer, pet him, and back him off before you put him away, etc. With fearful ones, it's building a pattern of trust and courage. With the "stubborn" ones, it's building a pattern of respect, obedience, and willingness.
Roxanne. Mostly it has all been said - buying a specialist bridle for the day you want to go to a show is a like closing the door after the horse has bolted.
Yes, if you have not got one, do obtain a rope training halter which works on the nose and the poll. Then get the horse used to being led about with it.
Incidentally how do you collect the horse from the field??
But you are working towards getting the horse to follow you willingly - not towards forcing the horse to follow you by using the maximum force on the halter. A very gentle pressure should be all that is needed and eventually you should be able to lead with a loose lead rope. The horse knows where it is going.
The secret of getting a horse into a box - is first to open the door or window at the other end so that the horse can see into the box. There must be no lions, tigers or bogey men lurking in that box.
Then you lead the horse, acting as the horse's mistress, into the box gently and firmly and positively. Just up the ramp and straight in. Incidentally - the horse doesn't travel in the training halter - get a regular head collar made of inch wide strapping. You train the horse on the halter, you tie it up on the head collar.
Once you are in, give the horse a rub, a carrot and say: "good boy".
Give the horse a little stroke around his neck and then , gently, quietly , close the ramp - gabble away as you do it.
Once you have got the horse following you at the shoulder, on a very loose leading rein in the training arena, then he will follow you into the box. But if the horse won't follow in the arena, then he won't go up the ramp.
Practice makes perfect (but not on the day of the show).
If a horse shies and rears and refuses, then he doesn't trust you.
and if he doesn't trust you,
why are you getting up on the horse's back?
PS In the UK chifneys are used by the race horse fraternity - but all their horses have to do is to run in a straight line. Yours has to go round corners.
a chifney should be used on a horse that rears because when the horse rears the bit flips up in his mouth and hits the roof of the mouth to make him associate rearing with pain. if your horse doesn't rear there is no need
According to my research, a chifney's common use is just as you described, to control a known rearer, or for extra oomph dealing with a stallion. Going by your description of its action, put yourself in the horse's shoes: You're a) scared. That cave on wheels is no place to be. You want out. 2 People are coming at you from behind, trying to push you in, there's a swinging door blocking your escape to the right, and the person leading on your left won't let you turn that way. The only escape left, aside from sacrificing life and limb in the horse eating box is to go up, to rear. You go up, and the roof of your mouth hurts, what would be your first instinct? Go higher, get away from that pain that comes up from inside your mouth. Yes, I suppose that over time if the pain consistently comes with the rearing, you may learn that one leads to another, but initially, throwing pain into an already stressful situation for the horse can only aggravate things.
Scenario b) the horse is confused/not understanding. Picture yourself in a math class, oh, say, calculus. You don't understand the material, what to do with this slew of numbers and letters. You ask for help, and the teacher comes over and smacks a wooden ruler hard over your knuckles. Did you learn anything about calculus? Nope. You just learned that asking the teacher was not a way to go. Same goes for the horse and the trailer. He didn't learn anything about getting on, he only learned, at best, that rearing was not the answer.
Scenario c) "The Bullhead." The horse is not afraid, he has loaded before quite successfully, he understands what is expected of him, he simply refuses to load. It isn't his idea right now. The problem lies in a lack of leadership of the handler, and a lack of respect from the horse, pure and simple. A horse does not respect someone they do not follow as a leader, he does not follow as a leader someone he does not respect. The two go hand in hoof. Inflicting pain does not make you a leader; instilling trust in your decision and confidence into the fearful horse, taking the time to correctly teach the confused horse the way to "solve the problem," so to speak, are ways to become a leader, to gain respect.
The horse gets on the trailer because he (scenario a) respects your judgment and trusts that you will not put him in danger, you are a good leader, (scenario b) you have taught him things before, if he thinks and responds accordingly to your requests (not to what I term as forcing, literally taking away all other options, i.e. Winching the horse onto the trailer with a tractor and pulley, doping the horse until he's barely making the descision, let alone learning, etc. Thses are not requests.) life will be good, or (scenario c) you are a leader worthy of respect, and the horse shall deign to get on the trailer because he respects your request and your (unknown to him, granted) plans for the immediate future.
Maybe there are horses out there who are such dangerous rearers that pain is required to conrol the animal at all, but such an animal is unlikely to be going to a competition, as is the OP's horse. As always, my humble opinions. :wink:
I don't think that stuborn is within a horses range of emotions. A horse primarily does what it does out of a sense of survival or to obtain comfort. Your horse may not seem frightened of the trailer but he doesn't feel good about it either. The answer is to load him every day until it's second nature to him and he doesn't worry about it any more. Another problem might be that the ride scares him not the trailer. Often times we forget that most of the time a horse is in a trailer we can't see him because we're driving down the road. Good luck with your horse and remember to use horsemanship, not gimmicks and salesmanship, to get your horse in.
"around corners" was a euphamism for the lengthy schooling process called for to train a horse to accept and obey the private owner/rider.
Private horses usually get a lot of schooling but not enough fitness training.
Most race horses by comparison get very little schooling although a lot of fitness training.
The chifney is a professional's tool to enforce obedience. It is a favoured tool in the professional's kit bag of getting quickly the required response in the horse. Techniques used by professionals are not always appropriate for private rider/owners
Your 16.3h horse (a big horse) should follow you, now and for as long as you own him, into that trailer because he trusts you - but that will take a lot more time and effort. Ideally he should follow you in a head collar which can be used to tie him up once he is in the box.
Remember you've got to get the horse out of the box at the event,
then back in for the journey home and then back out once you are back home. During the journey he will be tied up - with a head collar which should not hurt his head - otherwise he won't want to get in the box on the next occasion. He has a good memory.
You've got to spend time on your horse. When he trusts you, then he will follow. If he doesn't trust you, why are you getting up on his back?
I big part of the trailer 'battle' is that it's easy to expect it to be battle and that anxiety is easily picked up by the horse.
I agree 100% that you always want to lead your horse up to and into the trailer, whether it's a ramp or a step, with the exact same manner and confidence that you would lead it anywhere else, and fully expect that the horse will walk right in.
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