22 October 2010

Loading problem - unusual solution

A while a ago I was asked to help Jane (name changed) with her horse Reiss and his loading issues with their lorry.

Initially Reiss was like many horses who reared, spun to the side of the ramp, backed away etc to avoid loading but after a short time he was placing his front feet on the ramp. A little while longer and he had his back feet on the ramp, I noticed at this point that he was stood on his tip toes with his hind feet and never having seen this before was a little concerned. Jane agreed to stop the session there and then and get him checked over by a physio.

The physio found that Reiss had probably taken a stumble and fall in his paddock which caused him to have pain/discomfort in his pelvic area, chest and back.

A few weeks later once he had the all clear, we started again and after a short period of time I asked Jane if she would be comfortable with taking over while I made suggestions from the side lines. Both Jane and Reiss worked away for a while and then I got the shock of my life - Reiss calmly reversed in!

It turned out that Jane had learned to back Reiss through or around things he wasn't comfortable with and over time he has learnt to trust her, so when he started to back in she didn't correct him. I have seen horses load in a variety of ways over the years but never backwards before.

After letting Reiss have a look around Jane unloaded him and then asked him to load again, thankfully Reiss chose to load in the normal manner and went up the ramp forwards. With a little bit of homework Jane has now reported that she has a good loader and that they are both exploring the big wide world that is out there.

So, keep an open mind and if your horse tries something allow him/her to follow it through, you never know he/she might just get it right even if it is in a round about way.

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