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Re: [RC] [RC] loading success!!! (long) - Laurie Durgin

sounds like you are on the right track.My farrier twitched Rascal for the first time( back shoes, wouldn't ahve anything to do with it, (I have been tapping on his hooves ever since). and he kept relaxing and relaxing that he almost went down I was holding his head up.I also read that if you do it too long they can go numb or something. Farrier said some horses do go down. Maybe the vets would know more .But I've read it's a short time thing.
My sensitive mare was 'hand twitched once " by her prior owner to clip her head as a qucik fix and she was muzzle shy for years after that.
I personally don't like it and consider it a temporary last resort if under a time limit.Training always works best in the long run. Laurie and Rascal /"i've been twitched, think" i'll take a nap"

From: "A. Perez" <walkergirl@xxxxxxxxxx>
Reply-To: <walkergirl@xxxxxxxxxx>
To: ridecamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [RC]   loading success!!! (long)
Date: Fri, 9 May 2003 10:24:56 -0400

  Finally got Idiot Boy to walk on the trailer and let me put up
the butt-bar and close the tail gate!  And NO panic!!!

  Over the last two weeks, we had done four sessions where I led
him on (trailer has a front escape door, and lots of space to
stand in front of the breast bar), fed him grain and carrots,
but let him back off whenever he wanted.  My goal at this point
was to for him to feel comfortable inside the (very tiny)
trailer.  After the first two sessions, I added making him back
off when *I* told him to, but still let him back off when he
wanted (the one time I tried tying him he panicked and FLEW
backwards, snapping the line I had on him).  Until the 3rd
session, the minute I left his head, he would back off.  By the
third session, he would sometimes let me walk behind him, so I
asked him to back off by tugging on his tail.  Since he was
backing out so much, I figured this would be the focus of these
sessions: backing straight off, without stepping off the tail
gait.  I use two step-in nylon electric fence posts and stick
them in the ground on either side of the tail gate, angled
slightly inward so he feels them if he gets too close to the
edge of the gate (these also come in handy for hitching the
trailer: I place one so when the truck is in the right position,
the bumper just hits it, so I know to stop when I see it move).
I tried the lunge-line trick, but he was still reluctant to
self-load, so I decided to put that off a bit.
    Last night I went out, and someone was parked in front of my
trailer.  They left while I went to catch Cy (who usually comes
when called but last night decided to play
"catch-me-if-you-can").  Then another person parked me in.  I
asked them to move, and while I was setting the trailer up, the
vet came and SHE parked me in... SIGH... so I decided to lunge
Cy while the vet did her thing.  I think that was a very good
thing, as he clearly had 'an attitude' (think the gnats had him
cranky) and the lunging helped with that.  Finally the vet left,
and I could hook up the trailer (of course the two men present
felt compelled to 'help' me and basically got in my way... hint
to guys: please ask if your help is needed before stepping in!).
 Finally: truck, trailer and horse are ready... if only I could
get rid of the chatty farm owner who wanted to talk!  Cy and I
did a couple of on-and-offs, then I got the lunge line and whip,
ran the line in, over the chest bar and back, and started doing
the J. Lyons 'tap-tap-tap' on the butt.  After a few moments of
giving me a 'what the heck ARE you doing?!' look, and some
evasive tap-dancing, he walked up, and I stopped tapping.  When
he backed up, I'd resume tapping.  EUREKA!  Actually, I think
the chatty guy helped: since I was talking to him the whole
time, it kept the mood calm and relaxed, no big deal.  I had set
up grain and carrots in the trailer, so while CY ate those, I
quietly put up the butt bar.
No panic!  Put up the tail gate - again, no panic! (One of the
nice things about Brenderups is how quiet they are: no metal
means no clanks or bangs). Then I went round to his head and
plied him with praise, pats, and carrots.  He was concerned, but
calm.  I let him finish his grain, and after being on the
trailer for a few minutes, I unloaded him and turned him out to
pasture.  Next step is a short drive!

  By the way - the reason I asked about the twitch is that I
have heard people say that it actually relaxes horses, and I
wanted him to relax on the trailer.  Is this true?  I have never
had to use one.

  What I learned from all this is that some techniques work, but
only when applied at the right time.  I had tried the lunge-line
and butt-tapping thing earlier in the process without luck.
Only after he was comfortable being lead in, and becoming
familiar with the inside of the trailer, did this work.
For Cy self-loading had to come later int he process.  Of
course, this is a horse that had trailered before, just not in a
tiny one-horse.  I understand hos concern: with the butt-bar up,
he is almost wedged in there!

I AM SO EXCITED!  Can't wait to go ride in Manassas battlefield

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