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Re: RC: trailer loading, pain, and swollen eye

In a message dated 9/1/99 11:59:28 PM US Mountain Standard Time, writes:

<< i just violated or watched being violated all the training mentalities that
 i've developed over the last year! trailer loading.  we were trying to get
 an 11 yr old arab gelding into my trailer to trailer him 5 minutes to his
 own pasture.  his owner was impatient and didn't want me to spend a little
 time working with him >>


I'm sorry for your anxiety about this episode.  I've been there and done 
that, too.  Sometimes we let others influence us because we are more 
introverted or believe that others are more knowledgeable than us or for any 
number of reasons.  If the little voice in your brain is saying "DON"T" ... 
then listen to it!  If you can't convince the others that what they are doing 
is unsafe for people as well as animals, then leave or at least get out the 
way and watch the wreck.  Afterwards you might be of some help if man or 
beast is injured but don't put yourself in danger.

John Lyons uses the example of the person who is in some great hurry to get 
their horse loaded and doesn't take the time to TEACH their horse to load 
before the event.  They then lose their patience and force the horse to load 
and end up with a wreck and the horse now needs stitches (for example).  
Waiting for the vet to show up takes 11/2 hours and the person is no longer 
in a hurry because he/she isn't going to the event now.  What if that person 
had taken the 11/2 hours to teach their horse to load?  What if the person 
had taken the time LONG before the need to have the horse loaded to actively 
teach (whether the horse is a baby or 11 yo that had trailered before) to 
CALMLY load and unload?  Instead the person now has a horse with injuries, 
people with injuries and a horse that is going to be even harder to load the 
next time.  Was it worthwhile to be in such a hurry?

I don't mean to preach and you obviously follow JL methods but don't forget 
to USE them when things get crazy.  Rather than be an accomplice to something 
you know is wrong and dangerous, try to convince the people that you can 
teach this horse to get calmly into a trailer given enough time.  Convince 
them that some hours spent NOW, teaching, will mean a time savings in the 
future.  If you spend 20 mins every time you load the horse the rest of its 
life then you will see the time savings of taking 3 or 4 hours now and having 
a horse who will load readily in the future.  

The other perks are a horse who is calm while trailering and so is more 
rested at the end of its trip (which would be important to endurance riders) 
and a horse that will get into all kinds of trailers.  But, it is important 
that the methods used are ACTIVE rather than REACTIVE.  Teach the horse a "go 
forward" cue away from the trailer as opposed to getting the horse up to the 
trailer and forcing/bribing the horse into it.  Stay away from punishing the 
horse for NOT getting into the trailer (reactive) and focus on teaching all 
the small steps that result in the horse getting calmly in the trailer 
(active).  This active vs. reactive thinking is (I'm finding out personally) 
at the foundation of ALL good training.

Whew!  Jumping up on the soap box is hard work!  Enough for now.  Hope you 
are healing (sounds as if your horse is doing OK) and remember as long as you 
learned something from this episode, it wasn't useless.  Good luck.

Melanie in AZ

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