Music was very stubborn loading. Patience and persistence loaded her, but she barged when forced. She just stretched her neck to eat occasional food lures.
Music’s first introductions to travelling involved long, infrequent trips. She linked the trailer with swaying about and trying to balance. The threat of force always present in her mind, making her plant her feet. Random food made the situation more unpredictable, creating more pessimism.
The first step was changing Music’s mind, without entrenching her pessimism. A few times a week, her owners brought her in range of the open trailer. While she still willingly went forward, her food bowl was presented to her. While she was eating, the ramp was closed - signalling the “end”. The bowl had to appear after Music had clocked the trailer so she understood the new relationship: trailer, then food.
With a new attitude, a new step was introduced. Music now followed the bowl one to a few more steps before getting it. She had to work a little - one step at a time to prevent creating a heel-digging dilemma for her. She was now stepping on the ramp, so it was no longer closed, Music was led away once she’d eaten and still wanted more!
Small steps pave the way for later ones: training Music to go to her bowl, then have food added; the bowl getting closer to the front of the trailer. When Music would stay completely in the trailer and eat, she was gradually closed in, then taken for short trips and taught to load in new places.
Now when her trailer comes out she whinnies for her bucket and is eager to load.
Do you have a reluctant loader? Get in touch for help from Jenni.