Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Training Tip: Loading and CR: Breathing

This past weekend, I went trail riding on Savannah. She didn't load easily. We worked on loading when I got home, and I blogged about it in the previous post.

When the horse doesn't do something that I know that it can do, then we go back to work mode and do some additional training. She didn't want to load, so we did some work until she was willing to load. I made it her choice. She refused to load, we went to work. I put her into a lunge circle. After a few circles, I asked her to load. She refused, so we went back to work on the lunge line. I changed directions so as to break up the routine of a circle, so as to not to strain legs as I wasn't sure how long we would be lunging. After a few more circles, I asked her to load. At the 3rd attempt, she loaded. She was rewarded by some hay in the manger, by me standing still and petting her, then by being asked to back out of the trailer. But she had to load again willingly. She didn't, so she went back to work until she loaded easily. She was to jump in by me just sending her in. After she loaded the 2nd time, we rested, had a pat or 2, and unloaded. Immediately she was asked to load again, and she jumped right in.

This may be a different way than working with a young horse who has never loaded, or even an older horse who is scared. I knew this horse has been loaded, so she went right to work. With a younger or scared horse, I will give them a buddy. I'll load a quiet horse, and teach the young, scared or timid horse that it is ok to be inside a trailer. I won't take them on a ride that first day, but I try to take them on a short 5 minute ride a few days later. Then I'll take them on a 15 minute ride.

I make the trailer a nice place. A place to eat if you don't mind your horses eating in the trailer, which I don't. I've hauled many miles with horses eating hay and have never had a problem. And on long hauls, anything from 2-12 hours, this keeps their guts moving.

I make the trailer safe, and a resting place from work.

I make the trailer a place to relax, and they are petted and left alone to think.

Most horses don't refuse the trailer after they know that they have to load and they will get in. Sometimes this may take an hour of work, but it is worth it to have a horse jump in willingly.

I didn't do my homework before the ride, but I did when I got home. I'll see if my horse needs more homework later this week.

oh, and about Centered Riding, try breathing during trailer loading! If I would have been breathing more, I think I would have stayed more relaxed. But it's easier to stay relaxed when you aren't on a time frame.

Later this week, I won't be on a time frame, and I'll breathe deeply before each time I ask her to load.

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