Confidence in Trailer Loading

It’s not about the trailer!

This little guy I worked with has had lots anxiety around the trailer. Even the sight of the trailer got him anxious. He loaded, but once he was in, would fly back out.

For him, more practice getting in and out of the trailer did not solve the issue, because the issue was anxiety about being asked to go in. Taking slower steps toward the trailer, I asked him to relax before even getting near it. That took quite some time! Any time he got anxious, we backed up to the “threshold” spot (about 10 feet from the trailer), and waited for him to relax again.

During the session, he got noticeably more curious and interested. He started sniffing the trailer, pawing it, and wanting to go in. Each time he got more relaxed, he became more curious.

I told his mom that the problem was not the trailer, and that I bet if she left the trailer open in his pasture, with nobody asking anything of him, I’d bet he would get in on his own.

She took that to heart and sent me these pics. Here is the same guy in the trailer enjoying some hay.

The scary part wasn’t the trailer, but the pressure put on at the trailer.

If we just give the horse time to think, process and relax, you can have a lifetime loader. If we put too much pressure on at the trailer, you might get them in, but you build a lifetime of worry and tension in the trailer, then in front of the trailer, and soon enough you have worry just at the sight of a trailer 20 feet away.

You get out of the horse what you put in, the way you put it in.
Practice relaxation, engage curiosity, and enjoy a real partnership.

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