The last few weeks, I have been trying to improve things for my horse, when it comes to travelling. She is not keen on it. 9 times out of ten she will load maybe saying no to start with, then going in. Once in, I would have to quickly shut everything up and drive away,as she would do a little tap dance if stood still.
I realised that the last time she went out , she did not have a great time. That was back last summer. I really want her to be calm and ok with this, if she can never find calmness, and handle travelling then we will just keep on having fun at home. I am hoping that, by going right back to the beginning, and retraining how we approach this, things will improve.
The first time I addressed this, she was at liberty, so she could safely tell me how she felt about it. As I opened the trailer she took off, she put on a BIG show of her,anger, fear, and total dislike for the trailer. I had a friend with me and she thought I should stop her as she was galloping round and blowing. We sat calmly watching, I thought, if I shut that trailer she will think this is how you behave to avoid it. I also thought if I catch her and stop her she will not have had her full say on the matter. I decided to wait it out, eventually of course she stopped,she was sweating and puffing. I calmly walked up to her stroked her, she was still high on adrenalin, I stood calmly with her asking her if she had got all those emotions out. She stood with me not leaving, I started to walk and she walked with me her breathing was becoming normal and I could feel her energy coming down. When I realised she was happy to be with me, I walked to the trailer and she walked in with me, she jumped straight out, after all she still had a choice.
Something occurred to me,that at some point I wouldn’t be able to give her that freedom, she would have to learn to trust me, and not be worried about feeling trapped. When we started she would charge out,so even walking out calmly was a milestone.
I was not very well for a while, so it was put on hold. When I recently returned to this issue,she didn t have to make such a big show, I think it really helped letting her wait till she was ready to come to me and be calm.
The being trapped is still hard for her, we are taking tiny steps, as often as possible, the first time put the rope through the tie ring,was a big step. Now we are moving the partition, each step I am making sure that she is totally ok before moving on. I hope to bring updates of how we are doing with this,I avoided it for a long time as I hate seeing my horse so uncomfortable. I realise now though,that afterwards, she still has the same bond to me and the trust is getting even deeper,she is coming to realise,that even in her worst most fearful situation, I will look after her.