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Re: RC: Loading (trailers, not carbs <grin>)

OK, I'll jump in here.  This is how I approached it with Ibn.  I had to find a way of loading him with me outside the box as I wouldn't always have somebody to help me close the back, so he had to load himself, almost.  Also, this method assumes no fear issues as that needs a whole different approach.  I got this method from one of Mark Rashid's books and it worked like a dream.

Ibn would approach the trailer - two horse straight load with ramp - and put his front feet on the ramp but would not go any further.  No amount of waiting it out, "another foot forward" would work, he would merely get stuck.  Mark gives two solutions to this problem : the one is that you tie a plastic shopping bag to the end of a lunge whip and rustle it behind the horse to get his feet unstuck and that would get him moving forward.  I did my job too well with Ibn in desensitizing him to the bag, so that didn't work.

Caution to solution no 2 : be prepared for a HUGE reaction.  Also with a lunge whip, place the tip of the whip under the tail, the horse will clamp his tail and thus unstick his feet and shoot into the trailer.  Very quickly take the whip out before panic sets in.  When I used this method, it worked like a dream.  Subsequent loadings only had me using the whip, my body and the lead rope in a tri-angle without even touching him with the whip.  Now we don't need the whip anymore because he walks in without a hassle.  If he does decide that there is something more interesting outside the box, all I have to do is use my right arm to form the tri-angle and he then loads.

All other methods did not work with him - the lunging in front of the box then closing the gap to change his direction to go into the box (too smart for that, he merely jumped the ramp and carried on lunging himself); the waiting game with one foot at a time; the food in the box (he would load like a dream when I fed him there, but as soon as I took the food away, the glue on the feet appeared); "hassling" him outside the box and making it more comfy when he wants to go in - nothing worked except the whip under the tail.

Any method you use must be accompanied by having him in the box for a second or two and ask him to unload BEFORE he unloads himself.  Then stretch the time he has to spend in the box before you close the back.  Don't immediately slam the back shut, jump in the car and roar off down the road.  Take is slowly - baby steps - and make it pleasant for him to be inside.  I would load Ibn the first few times and just stand there, unload and reward him; load, stretch the time inside, unload and reward.  Two weeks later was the first time I went for a ride with him and that was just down the driveway and back.

So Jim, assuming that there is no fear involved, I would vouch for the one method that eventually worked for us.

Hope it works for you!

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