My horse is very spooked by the trailer. She has only ridden in a trailer once in the last 4 years. And then once in the 5 years previous to that.
I have one in the front paddock that I am using to desensitise her. I peppered it with hay, all around, on the mudguards etc. She nervously approached and ate it all. Then did the bolt to the other end of the paddock! It was so funny. :D I have also been in it and had hay on the floor and she has stepped up into the trailer a few times, got some hay then backed out. Each time I walked out after she was out and stroked her and talked to her. SHe was fine, calm and fairly relaxed.
Yesterday I was standing in the trailer near the door. I wasn't sure whether I should work with her as I was quite wound up by the earthquake in NZ, I have a lot of family there but they are all fine. I just wondered if she would pick up on that and that would affect her. She was obviously stressed as she was pawing the ground and baring her teeth - yawning? I got the sense she would try and bite me, and she did try and nip my foot as she was sniffing around it. Should I have done something about it? I said No and stepped back. Probably the wrong thing! But given she was nervous and I was trying to encourage her to become comfortable and familiar with the trailer, I wasn't sure what I should do.
Any advice greatly appreciated! :D
when you say pawing the ground, was she pawing at the trailer? yawning is usually a good sign.
and usually if the horse is pawing/stomping at the trailer it's more curiosity than agression.
Yes she was standing right at the entrance to the trailer, beside the ramp, tossing her head a bit and pawing at the ground.
She has done the same thing before when we tried to go through a narrow gate.
I am impressed by my ability to sense she was going to bite me! Maybe I AM learning to read her finally. :D
I will go see her now and get a video.
I would like to substitute the word "Discipline" for "Structure" if I could.
The problem is that in many cases the word discipline means to punish(to some people) and I do not think that is what you mean at all.
By adding structures to your horses routine they will become familiar and learn to accept the trailer in their life and understand that it is something that is necessary and normal.
I groom,saddle,and do all of my farrier work at the trailer until they accept it as second nature.
Just keep doing what you are and maybe add a feed bag to the side of the trailer.
The horse needs time to get use to the new thing in their life.
You are right, by discipline I did not all mean punish. I meant correct or teach, which is the translation Of discipline anyway.
I have her in the trailer right now and am standing with her! We did it!
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PS Great tip on doing lots of stuff at the trailer. Will def use that.
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Pawing and Yawning
Uh oh... bumped her head and off she went!!
Fantastic photos of your horse loading itself on the trailer! That is what I am working to achieve.
What did she bump her head on? That center pole? I don't know about the yawning other than it's really cute.
There is a bar that runs from the centre pole across to the wall of the trailer. As she moved her head around and up, she clunked her head on it. Man she can move fast! She came most of the way back on after that and then we stopped. I went and gave her some love and scratches! I was so proud of her.
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