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Re: [RC] Twitch for loading (long) - Kristene Smuts

Hi Amanda

I agree with all the suggestions of trying to make it pleasant in the box, 
rather than twitching.  However, I know how frustrating it can be to be alone 
and not have longer arms!

I had to train an "out the mountains" stallion which hadn't even seen the 
inside of a building, to load into a 2 horse straight load without another 
person helping, so it can be done.

After a long period of feeding inside the box, treating etc. Ibn would still 
get stuck with only his front feet on the ramp if I didn't offer some treat.  I 
worked on the premise that one day I wouldn't have any treats on me so we both 
had better learn to live without them.

By chance I had just read in one of Mark Rashid's books the cure for exactly 
that problem.  He gave 2 solutions : 1. Tie a plastic bag on the end of a lunge 
whip and rustle the bag so that the feet would become unstuck.  or (if that 
didn't work, which in our case didn't) 2.  Touch the horse under the tail with 
the whip so that he clamps his tail and moves forward.  But be warned about 
this last one - the reaction can be sudden and extreme!

I know this doesn't exactly apply to your problem, but you can modify this by 
loading your boy, then if he thinks of moving out, rustle the bag or touch him 
on the tail to move him back in.  Although I stopped the treats, I still made 
sure there would be a hay bag stuffed to the brim so that Ibn had something to 
do inside the box (nice juicy oat hay and alfalfa was much appreciated).  
Always make it as pleasant as possible without having to rely on treats all the 

The last thing I did and still do, is to make sure that when I open the ramp, I 
wait an indefinite period before opening the butt bar.  That teaches patience 
and doesn't create a horse that wants to charge out every time you stop or open 
the ramp.

Ibn now loads with me standing outside and will not move before I close the bar.

Hope this helps a bit
PS  A wise person once said "Start the way you wish to finish"

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