Teaching horses to be calm, confident loaders and travellers is a big thing to us at CT. You never know when you might have to load your horse for the vet or to move him as well as to be able to travel him happily and stress-free any time. The good news is that it is certainly do-able to teach your horse to not only load easily, but to actually enjoy loading and travelling.
When we’re retraining any ‘problem’ behaviours, we always make it such a positive experience and work on it enough to help the horse get from “I hate this!” to “Well, it’s ok…” to “I LOVE doing this! Again! Again!”
In this video, you can see 6 of Hannah’s horses showing how they have feel-good emotions associated with going into the box in the intro.
Shawna then takes you through her regular loading practice to ensure these horses are ready to load easily at any time because of the wild-fire risk in the area:
But, what about getting your horse in in the first place? In this video, you can watch Revel, a rescued pony at Hope Pastures rescue centre, learning to enjoy loading into a trailer. The most important parts of making this a positive process are:
1. Giving your horse choice and never forcing him onto the trailer or box.
2. Making going towards and into the trailer rewarding for your horse.
3. Going at your horse’s pace, which means paying attention to his emotional threshold and taking it slowly.
Hannah explains: “It is important to make sure they are confident and that we don’t overface them. Go slower, you will get there faster.”
You can see all these in action with Revel and she ends up not actually wanting to leave the box – a sign that we’re on track to teaching her to LOVE it!
After you’ve worked through this course, you will be able to see what your horse needs to become a confident self-loader. Just imagine: your horse walks onto the ramp and into the trailer on his own, while you stand outside and can put the bar easily behind him.
In fact, teaching your horse to go into the trailer, is only the first part of teaching your horse to be a happy loader and traveller. In our Home Study Course we teach 4 different steps to loading and travelling:
- Going into the box or trailer
- Closing the partition and ramp
- On the move – beginning to travel
- The destination experience – what happens at the other end?
For your horse to be a happy loader and traveller, he must be confident to go in and then to stand in while the partition, ramp and doors are closed. He has to learn that the rattles and clunks are nothing to worry about and how to balance when it’s moving. He must also experience positive situations at the other end – if he’s always being unloaded into a high-stress situation such as a competition environment he’s not used to or at the vets, this will have an impact on his willingness to load and travel calmly. By making the destination experience calm, positive and connected, you can firstly help your horse to enjoy travelling and secondly, teach him how to stay calm and connected with you wherever you take him
Watch this short trailer (ha! Pun intended!) from our Home Study Course where you can see Shawna rattling the bar, Rachel explaining the power and use of the emotional systems and Hannah coaching an owner very successfully on how to load her own horse:
We love our course ‘Loading & Traveling’, but what do other people say about it?
“Dear Shawna, Hannah and Rachel, I am contacting you to thank you for the brilliant material in the loading and travelling course. My horse, Red, would go up the ramp but would then panic and run out backwards again straight away. Nothing I had tried had helped. But, when he had his target in there, everything changed! He now loves to stand in the horsebox and will travel happily. I didn’t think I’d ever get there! It took some time but, with patience, I can now take him to competitions and it is stress-free for both of us. No more worrying about whether he’ll load to go home, either! Thank you.” – Audrey Dyer | UK
Want to know more? Head over to our Loading and Travelling Home Study Course info page – we’d love to help you help your horse learn to LOVE loading!
If you enjoyed this blog, please share it with your friends using the buttons below. Tell us your thoughts, questions and experiences in the comments section and/or sign up to our mailing list below. You will receive a FREE Video Seminar on The 4 Elements of Connection Training!
☟Scroll down the page to subscribe!☟