Bond With Your Horse
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Kara is a trotter owned by Stef. She is a very well behaved horse but was terrified of backing out of trailers. Stef has a step-down trailer and has in the past had to spend up to 1 hour trying to convince Kara to back out of the trailer. As such she had never been able to go anywhere with Kara for fear of the problems with unloading.
In August 2005, Jo worked with Kara. After establishing trust and creating a bond, Jo did a lot of Groundwork with Kara to ensure that she was both comfortable going in and out of small spaces, over scary objects (a tarpaulin) and that she willingly and easily would back up.
Jo then worked with a trailer that had both a front and back ramp. It was essential that Kara willingly backed out of the trailer and was in no way 'bullied' into backing out. By having the front ramp we knew that we could always allow her out of the front if she wasn't ready to back out..happily this wasn't necessary. The trailer also had the ability to switch between a back ramp or a step down.
We started with the back ramp in place and she was soon going in and out of the trailer without any issues. We then switched to the step down and although she was less comfortable at first than with the ramp she soon got the hang of it..she was wearing travel boots which is particularly important with Step downs as the horse often catches its legs on the lip at the back of the van.
We then moved on to Stef's own trailer repeating the process several times until she was comfortable and then a variety of people repeated the process with her. The entire session lasted around 2 hours and at the end Kara was comfortable with unloading. Stef continued to practice at home and now always tries to park to make the step down distance as small as possible..to make it as easy as possible for the horse to do the right thing.
Stef was then able to take Kara to the beach ...her first trip away and they both had a fantastic time.