Trailer Loading: A Photo Essay

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Here is “Blue” prior to being loaded in the trailer.  His mind is pretty scattered, and his buddies in the barn are calling to him

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His feet are pretty active.  Here I am working on directing his energy in a little more constructive way so we can both get our minds in the same place

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Here he considers the trailer.  Letting the horse sniff and paw is important, it’s his way of investigating the scenario and making judgements about it.  I’m not interesting in “making” him go into the trailer, when we get done here he’ll go in because it’s his idea, not because I pushed, shoved, or dragged him in. 

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His curiosity brings him in the rest of the way.  All I’ve done is stay quiet and help guide him.

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It’s important for me to keep slack in that lead rope without letting it get tangled between his legs.  I wouldn’t want an unintended consequence of him going in the trailer being getting caught up in that rope and being scared in there.

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Blue is not ready to stay in, and so just as he is thinking about leaving, I ask him to back out.  I would rather him and I have the same idea, and by having good timing I ask him before he leaves on his own, rather than him learning to escape, or him being certain he NEEDS to escape by me forcing him to stay in there.

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After a little break, we take another crack at it

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This time he walks right up with conviction.  Using this horse’s curiosity to my advantage, the trailer becomes an irresistible place to be…just what is IN there??

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Here he experiments with turning around in the trailer.  He finds it to not be very comfortable

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It’s never a problem to take a fresh start

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We’re in no hurry here, and that makes a huge difference to this horse.  Here he is pretty comfortable in the trailer.  I make sure he is ok with being touched around his hind end to prepare him for having the butt bar put up and the door shut.  Taking time to develop his curiosity and confidence means this horse now trailers calmly without feeling trapped.

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