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applecart14
25-02-13, 04:24 AM
First of all the point of this post isn't to overly criticise or misrepresent anyone or anything, its just my own point of view and experience on taking my horse to the Monty Roberts demo yesterday afternoon.

For those who have been following my posts about the loading problems I've encountered since June 2011 when my rising 16 year old gelding overnight decided he would be reluctant to load following a visit to see a couple of pigs whilst at a show centre.

On arriving at SRC (Solihull Riding Club) where I'm virtually a 10 mins drive down the road I unloaded my horse (he'd actually loaded in under a minute that day, sometimes it takes 10 mins, or 20 mins or 2 hours, and sometimes not at all). First reaction when met by Linda (team member) was that my horse was lovely and my trailer wasn't tall enough, a theme that carried on again later in the day. We were allowed to chose a stable and that's where the communication ended. No one told us where to go, what to do, we asked and were told to report to the indoor school at a certain time but then that changed. Then we had a chat with Monty and Kelly and were able to ask questions. I tried to put across that my horse had been frightened at the pigs at the show centre but nothing much was asked about that. Bailey is a very spooky horse, both in hand and under saddle, again no questions asked about this. Then we were told to report back at 2.30pm. Meanwhile we watched a starter horse take a rider, and then each horse was looked at for about three minutes in the round pen in front of Monty and a physio. Monty said Bailey was a lovely horse and moved nicely and I said about the pigs and that the day I showed him the pigs was the day he wouldn't load to come home and it took 3/4 hr to load, and every time without exception for 7 1/2 years before that day he'd virtually trotted onto the ramp, he seemed to lose all confidence in himself and me that day. But nothing was really mentioned about the pigs, and it was considered an aside. I thought that Kelly and Monty would ask in depth questions about the horses but nothing was really asked at all and it was quite frustrating. I also thought that our horses would be individually worked with with us, to try and help us, but that wasn't the case at all, in fact as far as I am aware the horses were not handled at all during the day by Kelly, Monty or the team. I had hoped that Kelly would help me with my loading problem, and although she spent ten mins with me at the end it was only to load him to go home and it was sadly the same conclusion as it had be when we arrived - that the trailer wasn't tall enough for the horse, and yet it had been fine for all my previous horses, four of them 16.3 - 17.1hh over the seven years I'd had them, and it had also be no problem for Bailey for the 7 1/2 years out of the nearly 9 years that I've had him.

Then there was another meeting between owners and Monty and Kelly (no one had told me this was happening) and was lucky enough to stumble across them all in the school. This is when we found out all the horses were going to be used for the demo and I got quite emotional as I had so hoped Bailey would be helped.

Anyway Bailey was used for a join up with some chap whose ship had been hit by an Exocet missile. Lovely chap, but I was very suprised as I hadn't been told he was going to be used for this which was a shame. It was a great demo of how join up works, Monty helped the chap, I've done a little join up with Bails years ago, and then he was walked over and through some obstacles (again I've had him walk though his stable door over shavings bags, left them over his tea so he pushes the bag aside with his nose, folded one a billion times and made it bigger whilst rubbing it over his body, etc). Then the loading part and Kelly showed me how to load using the Dually which was brilliant and he loaded onto the lorry a little reluctantly (hoorah as this replicates what he is like every time) but nothing major and then it was all over. I'd never used a Dually halter before, and it would have been nice for a quick run through before hand of how to use one. I did wonder whether working with the owner before the demo would be conceived as 'cheating' but I would have been so grateful for the chance to be perfectly honest. It means so very much to me I can't tell you how much to get Bailey happy again with the trailer, and nothing has really been resolved in this respect.

I made some new friends, I enjoyed the day (I am not saying I didn't). Kelly, Monty and the team were helpful and interesting to talk to - I could have fired questions at Kelly all day, and I am glad I went. But it hasn't really helped me, or Bailey.

I am under no illusions whatsoever that he will not load without food, and will have to be 'starved' of his breakfast (but still given hay) prior to loading and presented with a bucket of tasty (and expensive) treats to get him on which frustrates me greatly as I am rewarding him for not loading, a point my clever horse learnt only too well and too quickly in an effort to get him home away from the pigs that day in June 2011!!

I honestly feel a little sad about it all. And frustrated, more for Bailey than me.

And what's really made me sad was at the end when it came to load to go home and Bailey was filmed inside the trailer -as an example no doubt to show people in the future "this is why this horse has trouble loading, because his ears are touching the ceiling and its not tall enough for him" when all along Bailey and I know that's got nothing to do with it, its not the real reason at all. I can almost hear the voice over on the film. "And here ladies and gentleman is the reason this horse won't load". And I will never be able to say "Well hang on a minute general public, that's not the real reason why, its because he had the scare of his life, and then seeing the piglets run in front of him down the lane 4 months after seeing them at the show centre reinforced his fear". I do hope and pray that they won't use that footage, but I am more than certain they will, after all I signed away my rights to allow them to use what they wanted as I needed the help.

So to conclude my very long report, I will leave it to you to judge. But I would say, please don't take it lightly your decision to decide whether to take your horse to a demo. I think its to enjoy the moment, your bit of 'fame' and that's how to look at it. Its not a long term (or even short term solution) if the facts are not addressed and the owner isn't really even able to demonstrate what they do to try and load (or even asked). I know its a long, long process to reeducate both horse and rider, I read the magazines and books and things, I've been to the odd demo before. I know its not an instant remedy.

applecart14
25-02-13, 04:54 AM
http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/picture.php?albumid=308&pictureid=12548

This was my lovely boy when I first had him. I love him to bits

sula
25-02-13, 05:43 AM
What a gentle, genuine synopsis of your day with Monty. I haven`t read your other posts but your love for your horse is so very evident in the way that you write and your desire to have him happy in all ways again is so apparent. I have little to contribute in regards to Monty Roberts (though I have been to a number of demos in years gone by and enjoyed them) but I do so hope you find a way through the loading issues your horse has and that a solution is found very soon.

My loading story is quite similar in that my horse would load very happily without a thought or a care until one day on a trip out we were left stranded on a beach for hours and after that he has been extremely reluctant to go anywhere near the horsebox.

Just out of interest, since the MR team`s focus on the height of the trailer have you tried loading your horse into a vehicle with greater head room? Was just wondering though I`m unconvinced, too, as it would seem from what you say that it was those wretched pigs that triggered the trouble.

Marydoll
25-02-13, 05:59 AM
If you really feel it hasnt helped you, get Max out to help you, i had an horrendous loader, got Max out, he helped us so much that day and gave me tools to deal with the problem, i did my homework he gave me, and years later my horse is still happy to load no issues at all, now retired he can go long periods without loading and this was a horse who would throw himself to the ground before he'd put a foot in a box or trailer, best money i ever spent

Footprint
25-02-13, 06:45 AM
I remember reading another thread similar, I guess they don't have the 'time' maybe to train individuals.. Maybe hoping you will book up with a trainer after. Sounds like they should make it clear it's for tv rather than an owner training sesh to avoid disappointment.

Interested to hear other people's experiences.

TheCurlyPony
25-02-13, 06:49 AM
Hi

Interesting post, I hope I can remember everything you have mentioned. :) I think the common theme here is weather there is a pig issue or not, your trailer is too small. Tbh if my horses ear's were touching the ceiling of the trailer I wouldn't be putting my horse in - sorry.

As far as I'm aware neither Monty/Kelly or their staff don't work with the horses at all during the day except, to have the physio check your horse to see if it's fit to be used for the demo. That way the have to preconceived ideas on your horse.

You have said you think the travelling issue is related to your horse been scared by the pigs at the show, however a large percentage of bad loaders become bad to load due to an issue with the trailer or travelling experience sometimes caused by the driver, unknown to them - sorry, I'm also not saying here you are a bad driver :o, but can you say 110% that on the day you went to the show nothing happened in the trailer. Could he of slipped, jolted into the breast bar, banged his head, got caught on the hay net,could there of been a very large noised that could of scared him? I think unless you have a camera into see no one can be that sure. Have you ever travelled in the back of a trailer when its moving, it's not a great experience.

It's a shame you also felt a little left out and were left all day, maybe you could send them some feed back, maybe they are not aware that it's happening.

tinap
25-02-13, 07:11 AM
Hi,

My friend had a similar experience & was left very disheartened. Her mare would not let anyone except her owner pick up her back feet (she was abused by a previous owner) & it was causing problems with having the Farrier out. She was chosen for a demo day thing.

We went along all hopeful. When she was finally gotten around to being seen, the person (I won't say who it was) got a walking stick, picked up her feet using the crook of the stick & pronounced she was fine & wouldn't be used in the show :( That was it. No help or anything.

My friend was gutted. The problems never got resolved & the Farrier ended up giving my friend the tools & talking her through the trim herself everytime.

My mum & I had gone through to watch & were very disappointed with it all :( I've never been interested in anything Monty or Kelly since. I did think about posting this when I saw your previous thread but didn't as obviously they do help some people & hoped they would you xx

JillA
25-02-13, 07:30 AM
I had a similar experience and came home and decided I would blimmin well show them (my problem wasn't loading but remaining loaded while I got to the back and put the ramp up). I sorted it in a few weeks with reinforcement training.
If you want to do that I can explain it for you, basically it is rewarding (with a small food treat) every effort, including that first step towards the ramp, step on the ramp, all four feet on the ramp etc. Then training a "Wait there" and rewarding that. Very very brief overview but hopefully you get the picture. He will now load and stay in at home, not so reliable away from home but tht one is hard to practise, his focus is all over the place away from home.

Tinypony
25-02-13, 07:53 AM
I've organised a couple of demos in the past... and I've been a critic of an IH demo as well.
Here's a different perspective?
You will find that a lot of really good horse trainers aren't interested in listening to long accounts of a horse's history. They need to know that medically they are fine to be at the demo (and even then sometimes the owner might find that there was something undiagnosed after). They work with "the horse in front of them", so regardless of why something happened, the approach they'd take would be the same. So the "why" isn't very important to them. At the end of the day, here's a horse with a loading problem, there's nothing to be done about what caused it, and it doesn't affect how it would be approached, so they just get on with it.
Demos are for showing a trainer's approach (or at least I think they should be). Although there might be time to involve the owner, that's not their primary purpose. There's unlikely to be the time or the right environment to work with an owner in any depth. Also, Monty is constantly hit by accusations of preparing horses before demos, people want to see him going in like some knight in shining wotsit solving the "problem horse" and they get very het up about any allegations that he worked with a horse before-hand. I disagree with that, I don't think demos should be about the drama of bringing a horse out and dealing quickly with it in a fairly stressful environment. I'm quite happy for a trainer to say that they worked with a horse before bringing it out, and show what they did, but that's the paying public for you.
So... for example, if a brief assessment leads the trainer to believe that a horse with problems with it's back legs is going to get really distressed if they try to solve the problem within the time-frame of the demo, they might well decide not to use it. Because they are there to show how they'd do things really, not to solve every problem that is offered to them. I believe the IH people always offer the services of an RA to work with horses and owners that need longer term help.
I do think however that it would be wrong to get a horse there and then use it to demo something other than the problem the owner has. However, I think if the reasons why it wasn't practical to deal with the main problem were explained, and the owner's permission was asked, that would be different...
I'd like to gently suggest that you need to give your horse a fighting chance and try a higher trailer for a while. Ears touching the roof might be fine for an easy traveller (although I'd hesitate about that), but if the horse has a bit of an issue (reason irrelevant) then it's not stacking the odds in his favour. You said:

"And what's really made me sad was at the end when it came to load to go home and Bailey was filmed inside the trailer -as an example no doubt to show people in the future "this is why this horse has trouble loading, because his ears are touching the ceiling and its not tall enough for him" when all along Bailey and I know that's got nothing to do with it, its not the real reason at all."

Bailey doesn't know that really, he's a horse, he doesn't rationalise like that. I've got to admit that we'd have been reluctant to load him as well, because if he'd thrown his head up at the wrong moment there would be much more chance of injury. Imagine the thread title here in that situation...

ossy
25-02-13, 08:31 AM
Hi

Interesting post, I hope I can remember everything you have mentioned. :) I think the common theme here is weather there is a pig issue or not, your trailer is too small. Tbh if my horses ear's were touching the ceiling of the trailer I wouldn't be putting my horse in - sorry.

As far as I'm aware neither Monty/Kelly or their staff don't work with the horses at all during the day except, to have the physio check your horse to see if it's fit to be used for the demo. That way the have to preconceived ideas on your horse.

You have said you think the travelling issue is related to your horse been scared by the pigs at the show, however a large percentage of bad loaders become bad to load due to an issue with the trailer or travelling experience sometimes caused by the driver, unknown to them - sorry, I'm also not saying here you are a bad driver :o, but can you say 110% that on the day you went to the show nothing happened in the trailer. Could he of slipped, jolted into the breast bar, banged his head, got caught on the hay net,could there of been a very large noised that could of scared him? I think unless you have a camera into see no one can be that sure. Have you ever travelled in the back of a trailer when its moving, it's not a great experience.

It's a shame you also felt a little left out and were left all day, maybe you could send them some feed back, maybe they are not aware that it's happening.

agree with all of this.

irishcob
25-02-13, 08:48 AM
Having worked behind the scenes on many of these demos, I am happy to add my own thoughts to this.

Certainly Kelly and Monty do NOT work with any of the horses before the demos. During the demonstrations there are often huge changes in a horse's behaviour, happily accepting what they previously could not, and there are inevitably howls of disbelief from some people who then claim the horse 'must have been worked with all afternoon' with 'hours of training by Monty'. Of course this couldn't be further from the truth. Kelly and Monty want to show, live in front of the audience with perfect openness and clarity, how they would deal with the issues put in front of them in their entirety.

You have obviously focused for a long time on the incident with the pigs, and your horse's reluctance to load since. And indeed that no doubt was a contributing factor. But there may have been others. As you know a horse 'grows' when he is scared, and maybe when relaxed he was happy to travel in a slightly tight trailer, but perhaps once scared he HAS been banging his head. I'm not saying this IS what happened, but just pointing out that other factors may have come into play.

But of course the real issue in front of you (and Kelly and Monty) is that the horse no longer loads. The history of how it became that way is less important. You need the horse to learn to trust the trailer again and be happy going in and out of it. Which is why perhaps on a busy day, they only wanted the main facts rather than a detailed history. Having ascertained that the horse was fit and not in any pain, they were happy to go ahead and work with him.

Most owners find that by watching Kelly or Monty work with their horse with the Dually that they are happy to go home and continue what they have been shown. If of course you are not confident, I imagine they will have suggested contacting your local RA for some on-going support?

I'm sorry you felt that you would have more one-to-one time with Kelly and Monty, but that is not really what is offered at the demos - it is for your horse to go forward and be worked in front of an audience. If what you are really after is a full days private training with your horse, you may be better off contacting a professional to come to your own yard for a day so you can really get to grips with any problems.

I sincerely hope that you find the demo experience WAS beneficial to your horse, and that he will continue to improve. Certainly he will have at least have some positive loading experiences under his belt, so to speak, so that with more time and work, you should have him happily up and down the ramp just like he used to. I would echo other people in suggesting you DO borrow a taller trailer for a while, as this will be more inviting for him to load into. And of course, best of luck to you both.

Shysmum
25-02-13, 09:14 AM
I was really looking forward to the report on this, and feel very disheartened for both you and Bailey. Your love for your horse shines through.

Tinypony
25-02-13, 09:23 AM
I think this is about managing expectations. Everyone taking a prospective demo horse should know what to expect. 1-1 tuition won't be part of it. The fact that there's no guarantee that all horses will go into the demo needs to be understood. The trainer also has a right to decide not to go ahead if they think any aspect is unsafe, and ear-touching in a trailer might well come into that category to be fair. The trainer I host would probably have declined on those grounds as well.
You obviously love your horse to bits Op, have you thought about getting someone in to help?

winterwood
25-02-13, 09:34 AM
If you really feel it hasnt helped you, get Max out to help you, i had an horrendous loader, got Max out, he helped us so much that day and gave me tools to deal with the problem, i did my homework he gave me, and years later my horse is still happy to load no issues at all, now retired he can go long periods without loading and this was a horse who would throw himself to the ground before he'd put a foot in a box or trailer, best money i ever spent

I agree getting a trainer out to go through the training with a horse and owner is how issues are resolved. Horses at demonstrations are not 'fixed'. I would think that Kelly would have recommended that the owner contact an IH recommended associate to continue the training.

applecart14
25-02-13, 09:39 AM
Hi thank you all for your replies, all of which were fair and genuine. I was expecting a backlash of criticism but it didn't come, thank goodness. It wasn't suggested to me to use an RA after the show, in fact I still don't know what an RA is, what the initials stand for, felt a bit stupid asking, it was almost like you should have known. It would have been nice if we (and I include others at the demo with their horses expressed confusion about what was happening also) had been told exactly what was to be expected from us, and our horses, and what we should have expected from Monty and the team. At least we would have been clearer. Me and the other loader had hoped our trailers would be used but were told the logistics of doing that would have been very difficult. We both thought the use of a lorry was a waste of time when we both load in trailers.

The option to borrow a trailer with higher headroom isn't an option. I have a two litre car, and the lightest trailer on the market, a 600KG rice richardson. My horse was weighed last Thursday with the aid of a weight platform that the Spillers nutrionist brought onto the yard and he was 697KG (and will be under 650KG by end of June hopefully) my car - a Vauxhall Vectra Elite 2.0L will tow 1650KG legally, so as you can see I have 350 KG spare, but the Ivor Williams and others have a much heavier weight and I do not want to sell my car anyway.

I would maybe consider the use of an 'RA' but at 100 a time it seems an awful lot of money and something that I don't really have. If he loads like he did yesterday it won't really achieive a lot!

At the end of the day this horse travelled every weekend to SJ and dressage, one day events, fun rides and le trec without a backward glance. He would load with about three foot of space from the bottom of the trailer to a fence, he would load without food for years and years. He would literally run you over to get on the ramp, and is consistent when out, almost every show from April 2012 - Oct 2012 we got a placing. He is not worried about the height of the trailer in my opinion. It is easy to label a problem. The label affixed to my horses problem is trailer height. It is a label that I will cut off and remove. It clearly is not so. He doesn't move around when loading, I can easily feel him in the trailer. He eats when travelling, even now he picks at his net. Yesterday he loaded in under a minute to go to the club. The Sunday before (we practice every Sunday morning at 7.30am) he loaded in about 6 minutes. He is gradually getting better. He is calmer upon arrival. I think it would be fair to say that when Linda and I talked on my arrival he didn't seem unduly distressed 'get me off' which he sometimes can be.

I don't really know what to say. Other than its frustrating. I am going to buy a dually halter for the barging, if nothing else, and it will really come in useful for the loading. Blimey, if Monty thought that coloured mare was bargy he should see my horse walking down the ailse at the yard!

I wished I'd bought one from the demo as they were a lot cheaper than buying on line, shame they didn't put the RRP on the stand with the price at the show and they may have sold a lot more.

I was impressed with how he loaded with Kelly at the end. Kelly is a good woman who knows her stuff and is very passionate about horses. He loaded without food. Even right at the end when I was told by lots of helpers and the familiar 'RA's' that she was coming to help me with loading, I thought she would give me ten minutes with me trying Bailey and then if he wouldn't go on showing me what to do and then loading him herself maybe, but she just did it which was a shame (although helpful). I expect she was tired and a bit fed up and didn't really have the time or the inclination. The other loader loaded hers and went, she and her daughter were so nice.

Kelly Marks
25-02-13, 09:43 AM
Dear applecart14

I'm sorry you believed we were going to train you and Bailey before the demo - this is never the case or we'd be accused of 'cheating' and all sorts - so very unusually I actually worked with you loading Bailey in front of the audience and taught you about 'the feel on the line'. Do you remember when he didn't come in the horse box and I reminded you about the difference it makes which way up your hand is? How if you accidentally 'jerk' it will make him resist but if you can ask smoothly and then release the pressure he came into the release and up into the horse box easily?

After the demo when I loaded him to go home he didn't 'need starving or expensive treats' did he? I just took him to the trailer asked gently with the dually, released, and he walked beautifully on. I said if you felt you needed any more help Linda Ruffle who you had already spent time with would be happy to help you further.

We are always appreciative to our owners for bringing their horses and it is never our intention to have an owner feel bad. We do feel honesty is necessary though and feel its in the best interests of the horse and the owner to state if the horse is in any way physically compromised. I know you care about Bailey and already had the trailer checked mechanically which is a great thing. Perhaps if you just work on the feel on the line with Linda there won't be an issue again but it's so important our horses are comfortable travelling.

Kindest Regards

Kelly

winterwood
25-02-13, 09:51 AM
I think this is about managing expectations. Everyone taking a prospective demo horse should know what to expect. 1-1 tuition won't be part of it. The fact that there's no guarantee that all horses will go into the demo needs to be understood. The trainer also has a right to decide not to go ahead if they think any aspect is unsafe, and ear-touching in a trailer might well come into that category to be fair. The trainer I host would probably have declined on those grounds as well.
You obviously love your horse to bits Op, have you thought about getting someone in to help?

The managing expectations thing is interesting. Here is a comment from Kelly's facebook page from another owner that was at Solihull. (It's in the public domain, so feel it's ok to post here)


Thank you so much. How far have we been today...not just the mileage but the journey from the rocking horse trailer at 11 this morning to the calm pony who I just led out of the trailer tonight-fantastic result. We have all just spent 20 minutes making friends (Socks uncharacteristically loving the attention) and showing off his new head-collar to Taran. Many many thanks to you Kelly, Linda, Monty & your team for making us all feel like VIPs. We have had a very fantastic day in Solihull. Love Socks & friends

Equilibrium Ireland
25-02-13, 10:08 AM
Agree with Curly Pony. You just don't know if its the pigs, but in your mind you're sure.

Too make an extremely long story short, it took me 5 years to figure out my mare couldn't wear a rug in a field only because of the fillet strap. When she was a weanling a big tree limb came down in her field and she was the only one who jumped 3 fences with rug on and got out onto main road. She was fine but never would wear a rug in a field again. I blamed tree limb and flappy blanket. When we broke her we even long lined her all over fields with blanket on. Never a bother. Stable, turnout pen, on her head, flap it all over her and flap it anywhere near her, she never batted an eyelid. Coming into blanket season at the end of her 5 yo year I just got a brainwave. Took off the fillet strap. I never use rugs with leg straps anyway. I put her tail through a strap in the tail flap. From the very first moment that fillet strap was off, she never ever had another issue.

So there you go. The whole time I blamed a series of things that had nothing to do with the issue. In my mind I was sure I was right. Thankfully I finally figured it out. I mean really, when a horse can have driving lines always banging on their legs with no issue or be fine in a fillet strap at other times, it's not really something that springs to mind. The mare had been in competition and still wouldn't tolerate a rug in a field.

You should try a box with more headroom. What have you to lose? It may be the answer. I'm not a fan of too many of those guys but credit for the fact they see many horses with issues on a regular basis. So you know they may be on to something. If I had taken my mare to a demo they would have taken her loose into the RP and seen a horse that didn't have any issues with a rug and I would have looked an idiot. I would have no allowed them to try her in a strange field. When I say panic, I mean blind panic. Some problems need at home help and more than a clinic setting. Not Monty and Kelly's fault. Hard to gauge exactly what the trigger is and sometimes not helpful when an owner is saying this is definitely the problem.

Terri

applecart14
25-02-13, 10:09 AM
Dear applecart14

I'm sorry you believed we were going to train you and Bailey before the demo - this is never the case or we'd be accused of 'cheating' and all sorts - so very unusually I actually worked with you loading Bailey in front of the audience and taught you about 'the feel on the line'. Do you remember when he didn't come in the horse box and I reminded you about the difference it makes which way up your hand is? How if you accidentally 'jerk' it will make him resist but if you can ask smoothly and then release the pressure he came into the release and up into the horse box easily?

After the demo when I loaded him to go home he didn't 'need starving or expensive treats' did he? I just took him to the trailer asked gently with the dually, released, and he walked beautifully on. I said if you felt you needed any more help Linda Ruffle who you had already spent time with would be happy to help you further.

We are always appreciative to our owners for bringing their horses and it is never our intention to have an owner feel bad. We do feel honesty is necessary though and feel its in the best interests of the horse and the owner to state if the horse is in any way physically compromised. I know you care about Bailey and already had the trailer checked mechanically which is a great thing. Perhaps if you just work on the feel on the line with Linda there won't be an issue again but it's so important our horses are comfortable travelling.

Kindest Regards

Kelly

Thank you for your comments Kelly. There was no intention for my post to be critical it was just a fair post in my opinion of the days good and not so good points. As I did say he did load well for you at the end, and I was delighted and shocked. But would he have done that for me?

I thought when you mentioned Linda helping you meant answering a question on the phone. I didn't realise she would come out, I don't know much about her or her circumstances or where she lives or anything.

The way your hand is on the lunge line was VERY interesting and something I will remember in all my dealings with horses from now on, not just my own. In fact I am going to purchase a dually halter as soon as I can save for one. But that's why I asked you if it mattered if the staff who turned him out and brought him in whilst I'm at work wouldn't use it, and only I would in my handling of him. But I think the consensus was that it wouldn't matter.

I shall certainly bear in mind what you said and appreciate your help. As you know I desperately wanted it, as my reaction when I was told my horse had been picked.

Brightbay
25-02-13, 10:09 AM
I am sorry it did not go as you'd hoped.

I have always wondered about why people volunteer horses who clearly have a fear issue for demos in strange places with strange people, where increased adrenaline will mean you run the risk of actually making the fear issue worse.

When you mention the pigs, for me it's immediately apparent that, as often happens, your horse has had a very scary experience, and has "linked" a number of what seem to us random things that happened around the same time with the fear they felt.

The answer is not more pressure and release, and improved groundwork, but to actually deal with the horse's emotional reaction to the trailer (which, as you pointed out, he'd never had before). There is one way, and one way only to deal with this without overriding the fear he already feels, and that's called counterconditioning. It is easy, pleasant for the horse as it involves no stress and a lot of rewards, and the only downside is that you need clear instructions from someone and a decent amount of time over a period of a few weeks to work on it. Once you've done it, the horse's fearful association with the trailer is replaced with a positive association, so you don't get reoccurences of the problem as you can do if you use pressure/release to paper over the cracks.

It can be done at home (by you), is simple, methodical, and based on the same science used to help people with phobias.

I can put you in touch with someone who can get you started if you would like to PM me with what area you're in - there's a network of people around the country who can do this kind of work and there's most likely someone near you. If you're near Manchester, Debbie Busby would the person I'd highly recommend :-) http://evolutionequine.wordpress.com/

applecart14
25-02-13, 10:16 AM
You should try a box with more headroom. What have you to lose? It may be the answer. Some problems need at home help and more than a clinic setting. Not Monty and Kelly's fault. Hard to gauge exactly what the trigger is and sometimes not helpful when an owner is saying this is definitely the problem.

Terri

What have I got to lose? Hmmm lets see - about 3,500 for an Ivor Williams trailer and about 5,000 for a half decent 4x4 to tow with, and an extra 20 for diesel on each trip out.

And i wasn't blaming Monty or Kelly at all for any of anything. I was just saying that I was a little disillusioned, as I thought, even right to the end that I would have a little training session with Kelly, I think even the RA that told me thought that!

I was glad I went and wasn't rubbishing Monty, Kelly or the team. I was just constructively criticising and giving my viewpoint and perspective. It was totally different to how I imagined and maybe in order for people to stop being disillusioned (and this is a common theme for all those that have taken part) it would be best if, at the start when the owner first gets the phone call it was explained to them that it wouldn't be a training session, and you wouldn't receive help other than the help in the demonstration loading into a vechicle that didn't represent yours in the slightest.

I'm glad Sox and his owner were so happy, it nice to hear that. I wish all the Monty Roberts team the best.

applecart14
25-02-13, 10:20 AM
I was really looking forward to the report on this, and feel very disheartened for both you and Bailey. Your love for your horse shines through.

Thank you. I do love him which is why I get so emotional about it all as I hate to see him upset and feel I am stupid not being able to work out what's wrong and why all of a sudden overnight he started playing up to load. If you noticed him in the arena with Kelly he was reluctant to walk into the square cage at first, but he tries so hard to please because he's such a great horse and I am very lucky, and priviledged to have him.

Equilibrium Ireland
25-02-13, 10:27 AM
I get the money aspect. But if you try somebody else's box then you might know. If you can't afford the new box, you still know.

Terri

Wheels
25-02-13, 10:28 AM
Sorry you didn't get as much instruction as you thought you would, I've never been to a demo myself so wasn't sure how it worked and I think you've done a good job telling us your opinion.

I'm also glad Kelly marks came on to give her opinion also, we get a more balanced view that way.

But I have to say that I am a little confused at your comments of how much you love your horse but then your total inability to even think about trying to find an alternative larger trailer so that he can be comfortable and safer to travel. You don't have to go out and buy a new ifor Williams, other lighter weight and cheaper second hand trailers are also available.

1stclassalan
25-02-13, 10:37 AM
Two things: Pigs and demos. Demos first.

When you go to one, you are supposed to go with the idea of prostrating yourself before the feet of the awesome and outstanding presence of the personality other folk only read about in H&H or see on video. Do NOT expect them to leave their perch to come down to your level. They are glad to see you and will give the odd smile - in direct proportion to the ticket price! If you are lucky - you might glean the odd gem of information - but they are few, far between and you could have probably arrived at the same discovery given the amount of time and effort expended. ( I would expand this theme to team motivations, group hugs and company ra-ra weekends too.)

Monty Roberts's basic paradigm of listening to the horse and trying to think like he does is good but is not original or magic - it's a well rehearsed show with his own horses - I've not heard of anyone troublesome horse being cured by him or his team for more than a few fleeting moments. Horses have big bodies but little snivelling brains that feel fear at the drop of a tissue, let alone a hat! Unless you bring one up from a foal - it's almost certainly met with folk he'd rather he hadn't and every time he feels in similar positions - you will be visited by the sum of his fears.

Pigs! My mare was PETRIFIED of pigs. And for very good reason. Wild boar are actually making a come back in some parts of the country but in a horse's mind - they never did go extinct. Natural Wild boar have the annoying habit of living secretively in a burrow which can be quite concealed - the males have huge tusks protuding from their upper jaw which they will fight ANYTHING with! Thus they can appear very suddenly out of a hole in the gound slashing with these tusks - on a level with a horse's belly - this is why horses have an inate fear and will sniff and snort at the smell of pig.

Now, what to do about it. There's not much you can do for the reasons above - it is a very deep seated fear but having said that you can get over much of it by familiarisation - but when doing this and any other thing your particular horse doesn't like - you risk the fear of fear being associated with YOU, so it's a damn fine conumdrum to work out! All I can say is that I spent an enormous amount of time with my mare so the influence of anybody else slowly slipped away and it wasn't often that I ever asked her to face her fears - quite the opposite. In the days of when I ( and for that matter Monty R ) started riding - all this getting in touch with a horse would have been frowned on - you just beat a difficult one into submission - and that does work but only in the manner of subjugated peoples and they have a habit of rearing up and killing their oppressors!

Good luck with Bailey - he looks stunning and I expect can be quite a handful when messing about!

applecart14
25-02-13, 10:38 AM
But I have to say that I am a little confused at your comments of how much you love your horse but then your total inability to even think about trying to find an alternative larger trailer so that he can be comfortable and safer to travel. You don't have to go out and buy a new ifor Williams, other lighter weight and cheaper second hand trailers are also available.

Okay find me one! Please. :eek: There is nothing on the market that weighs the same as my current trailer. We did our homework at the time we bought it new in 1997 as I had a Sierra Saphire 2L towing it then. What a nightmare we had trying to find something for that!

These days all the modern type of 'lightweight' trailers weigh in at 900KG - 1200KG unladen weight. Fine for 4x4's but not suitable for saloon cars. So its not a case of total inability its a case of already been there, done the homework, bought the T-shirt! :)

I just simply don't have the money to spend. One day I will get a ladies horsebox. But I can't do that right now. :)

And it really isn't the reason. If it was why has my horse been fine for over 7 1/2 years. He's gone to Milton Keynes three times for goodness sake for the three day event, a journey of about 1 3/4hr if my memory serves me right. He's done that willing both directions without a problem three times. He's literally got thousands of miles all over the midlands under his belt, bless him.

It was the terror of the pigs at the show centre, the hiding behind his trailer snorting in their direction the next time there for four hours between classes and the fear of them lurking in the trailer ready to chew his feet. I would stake 100 on it (if I had it)! :)

applecart14
25-02-13, 10:44 AM
And 1stclassIan, I love you! You crack me up. Thank you. I do feel awfully guilty for having these dark thoughts! x

Auslander
25-02-13, 10:48 AM
I'm going to throw a curve ball in here. I just went back and checked dates - you say that this started in June 2011. Shortly after his suspensory injury right? I only say this because my horse also has suspensory problems, and the only time he has ever refused to load was the second time I travelled him in a rear facing lorry, and when I used a lorry with a steep ramp. I concluded that he was objecting because it hurt him, and I wonder if your boy associates loading with pain, rather than it being related to pigs, which seems a bit odd to me. Even if travelling doesn't hurt now he's better, it can't have been comfortable when he was injured - you only need to watch a horse travelling, particularly in a trailer, to see how many balance adjustments they need to make and how that could be uncomfortable for a horse with achy legs already.

Equilibrium Ireland
25-02-13, 10:49 AM
OP would it helpful if one of these guys came to you for a week? Spend time travelling ect? Discuss the pigs, go to visit pigs?

You do clearly love your horse and it has to be so frustrating. I do know the feeling. Wish I had better info for you.

Terri

Wheels
25-02-13, 10:50 AM
Applecart it really doesn't matter now whether it was the pigs or not, if your horses ears touch the ceiling of the trailer it is too small and your horse could really actually injure himself quite badly. I personally would rather go out less to free up a bit of money so that I could buy something suitable than risk my horse being hurt.
That is all....

ester
25-02-13, 10:53 AM
Is it not possible that a combination of the the pigs and the small size of the trailer is responsible? ie that he was unnerved by the situation and now doesn't feel comfortable in the smaller space? Do you travel him with/without partition?

eta interesting point Auslander

Equilibrium Ireland
25-02-13, 10:56 AM
Yeah nice catch Auslander.

Terri

applecart14
25-02-13, 11:00 AM
May 2011 when the pigs came into the picture. These are the ones I showed him. http://sphotos-d.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/550657_3833338962732_1935290167_n.jpg

This is Bailey in the trailer watching the pigs from afar and trembling. http://sphotos-g.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/428567_3833204439369_862463186_n.jpg

Next time you want to educate your horse peeps and show him something new, don't!

Me and my boy http://sphotos-g.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/181948_1773211660837_5191898_n.jpg - I love the innocence of this photo.

http://sphotos-b.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/406355_4175383233625_869624488_n.jpg outside said trailer

JillA
25-02-13, 11:00 AM
Personally I don't get the ignoring any history - the horse a trainer is dealing with is the sum total of his history and his genes. In a few short minutes no-one can possibly see all that a horse is, nor his responses to different forms of pressure etc, however good they are. I did dog behaviour work and when looking at a problem it is important to take as full a history as possible. No, of course you can't turn the clock back but you can get an understanding of how the animal came to be like he is - and what is causing the problem. That informs how you treat and overcome the problem - is it fear, lack of proper training, lack of communication, lack of respect, what?
Applecart please look into reinforcement training (think clicker training without the clicker). If your horse does have bad associations from SOMETHING that happened, with you, your trailer, your loading technique etc. it can enable you to overcome them and replace them with good ones. It isn't magic, it wouldn't wow an audience but it is the scientifically proven means of learning in every animal. Whatever they do that gets a pleasant reinforcer they are likely to do again. Simple as - and then shaping that response so it gets better and more what you want it to be.

Kat
25-02-13, 11:13 AM
Could it be that the low height of your trailer hadn't bothered your horse, until he was scared by the pigs and that day he either threw his head up and bumped it frightening him further or just felt really claustrophobic? Now the low height is a factor as he has had a bad experience.......

Maybe maybe not. But you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying to load him in a different trailer. Borrow one for a try, those Richardson boxes aren't the most inviting, try him in an equitrek or bateson and see if he is any better. If not then you have proved yourself right. If he is better then at least you know and can set about working on a solution.

There are options other than an Ifor and a 4x4. My double Bateson is about 900kg, so would be a little heavy for your car but they do a single, or you could upgrade your car to something a bit meatier that still has decent fuel economy, or you could sell your trailer, swap your car for something tiny with amazing fuel economy and rent a 3.5t box when you want to go out.

Surely it is better to have a few outings with a happy horse, than no outings or unhappy outings that might be ruined if the horse doesn't load.

I know you don't want it to be your trailer that is the problem but it sounds like it could at least be a contributory factor.

Kat
25-02-13, 11:16 AM
Bateson Derby, unladen weight 675kg, internal height 2.14m (7ft headroom)

How would that be?

applecart14
25-02-13, 11:19 AM
Yeah nice catch Auslander.

Terri

We've already thought of this. Vet check in Oct last year said he is 100% sound, the ligament is as good as it will ever be. We did a bute trial and the loading made no difference. If it was his leg and his suspensory he wouldn't be being placed on almost every outing. We did wonder if it was the vibrations that were making his arthris worse but its made no difference and pain has been ruled out as definetely not being a contributing factor.

But thanks for thinking of it. We've done everything humanly possible and bute trial, paintwork smell, check floor for problems, checked brakes in case they were coming on causing a rocking movement, driving (same driver all the time, different tow car but fine for 9 months), shavings on floor, whether he has a net or not, reiki, horse behaviourist, etc, etc.

applecart14
25-02-13, 11:21 AM
Bateson Derby, unladen weight 675kg, internal height 2.14m (7ft headroom)

How would that be?

It wasn't around in 1997, when we looked and I think my trailer is 7ft " height wise anyway. Will check on that.

ester
25-02-13, 11:25 AM
remembered pain might be as much as an issue as what is going on currently though.

Perhaps at that time he started to lift his head more to balance and found he couldn't.

Auslander
25-02-13, 11:25 AM
We've already thought of this. Vet check in Oct last year said he is 100% sound, the ligament is as good as it will ever be. We did a bute trial and the loading made no difference. If it was his leg and his suspensory he wouldn't be being placed on almost every outing. We did wonder if it was the vibrations that were making his arthris worse but its made no difference and pain has been ruled out as definetely not being a contributing factor.

But thanks for thinking of it. We've done everything humanly possible and bute trial, paintwork smell, check floor for problems, checked brakes in case they were coming on causing a rocking movement, driving (same driver all the time, different tow car but fine for 9 months), shavings on floor, whether he has a net or not, reiki, horse behaviourist, etc, etc.

I didn't mean that it was still hurting him - more that it was related to remembered discomfort. They're funny devils, horses. Alf has been treated with nothing but kindness since he came to the UK as a 4 yr old, but he is still headshy and nervous of new people touching him. The only time he was ever treated badly was when he was broken - and although we dont know what exactly happened, he still bears the scars round his head. Hes been loved and cherished for the last 11 years, but he still remembers what happened to him as a baby,, and his first reaction to someone new is fear.

applecart14
25-02-13, 11:31 AM
g
Maybe maybe not. But you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying to load him in a different trailer. Borrow one for a try, those Richardson boxes aren't the most inviting, try him in an equitrek or bateson and see if he is any better.



Yes I can borrow a trailer, but the whole point is the horse isn't consistent. He will go in sometimes, and other times won't go in for two hours. Yesterday he loaded in under a minute before the demo. Last week five mins, the week before 20 mins, the week before that ten minutes. Before that not at all, etc, etc. Something in his head changed that day he saw the pigs. You can see him staring at the pigs in the photo. Four hours hiding behind a trailer and creeping around to sneek a peek at five minute intervals for four hours is telling me that was what started the ball rolling.

He did go in a trailer belonging to someone whose horse is a nightmare to load to give it a lead. It took about four mins to get him in. But doesn't prove anything really.

If I try my friends trailer today I doubt he will go in unless he has been starved, and even if he does, he probably wont the next time. But I will try.

cptrayes
25-02-13, 11:35 AM
Applecart it really doesn't matter now whether it was the pigs or not, if your horses ears touch the ceiling of the trailer it is too small and your horse could really actually injure himself quite badly. I personally would rather go out less to free up a bit of money so that I could buy something suitable than risk my horse being hurt.
That is all....

There is no trailer that will not risk injury to a horse of that size who chooses to rear in it. In fact I think that it may even be safer to travel the horse with a ceiling low enough for him to know that it is not a possibilty for him to rear. Rather than being high enough above him for him not to realise it is there, rear and smash into it. Most horses 17 hands and over which travel in lorries will have their ears somewhere close enough to the ceiling to smash their heads into it if they chuck it upwards for some reason.

p.s. I also had a horse who had what seemed to be a primeval fear of pigs, it does happen.

Kat
25-02-13, 11:37 AM
It wasn't around in 1997, when we looked and I think my trailer is 7ft " height wise anyway. Will check on that.

There have been lots of new lightweight trailers made since then, so try loading him in someone else's taller trailer and see if it makes a difference.

The Derby probably isn't high enough, but Bateson do two bigger trailers the Deauville is 7ft3" headroom and under 900kg, then the Ascot is higher again and under 1000kg. Both are common enough trailers that you could probably borrow one to try loading him in, and you wouldn't need a massively bigger car.

If you find that he loads better in a roomier trailer then it would be worth doing some research into what is available now.

Caol Ila
25-02-13, 11:47 AM
I had a horse who loaded into a small trailer with no trouble for a couple years and then one day, she refused and overnight, she became a problem loader. I surmised that she must have gotten claustrophobic by getting a fright and getting "bigger," as some here have suggested, or something must have happened, but I will never know exactly what. Anyway, I was able to sell that trailer and buy a taller one, which turned out to be rather fortuitous as I got a bigger horse about six months later who would not have fit in the little trailer anyway.

I can see both sides of knowing the animal's full history or not. There is a lot to be said for just dealing with the horse in front of you. The owner will give you a history which emphasises the things that are important to them, but my experience is that when horsepeople are interpreting behaviour, there is a lot of conjecture. If you ask ten different people to explain why a horse is behaving in a certain way, you'll get ten answers. I remember once commenting to a fellow livery, after sharing the arena with them, that the horse looked a wee bit tense (I'd been giving it wide berth as it looked to me like it would bog off across the arena at any second) and the livery answered, "oh no, she's not tense at all; just excited."

In this case, it seems as if the owner felt the pigs were important and felt dismissed and saddened because the trainer didn't seem that interested in it. The trainer, I imagine, looks at a fearful horse and to an extent, it doesn't matter what caused the horse to fear trailers, they'll deal with it the same way. I think the importance of acknowledging the cause, or the owner's perceived cause anyway, is to help the owner feel involved in the process. I get the sense from Applecart that she felt a bit dismissed and irrelevant when Kelly and Monty didn't seem to think her interpretation of Bailey's fear was very important.

EPRider
25-02-13, 11:49 AM
Lightweight high roofed trailers do exist. I have one with 7'10" headroom and it weighs in at 760kg unladen. Keep an eye open on sales sites as they are out there. Mine is a Henra Cayenne.

smanf
25-02-13, 12:10 PM
A spectator's perspective...

PLEASE don't take this the wrong way and with all due respect (I hate that saying :rolleyes:), I wish you all the best with your boy and I am sure you will get there!

However, having been to a demonstration myself recently, I, and I should imagine quite a high percentage of the other 300 people that were there, didn't part with our 25 - 35, to watch somebody get a free training session with their horse delivered by Monty Roberts - this would cost said person a small fortune. We paid it to watch Monty and Kelly demonstrate their skills and techniques on horses that they had barely met before in the hope that we might be able to educate ourselves on better ways of dealing with and understanding our horses.

When you offer your horse for use in a demonstration, then, really, I don't think you can expect an awful lot more than for him (/her) to be used in a demonstration ;)

Wheels
25-02-13, 12:19 PM
Sorry cptrayes but who mentioned rearing? Op said her horse travels fine in the trailer but won't load consistently.

We are talking here about a horse banging his head if he just stands taller for a minute or goes over a bump in the road.

eahotson
25-02-13, 12:26 PM
Have you looked at the cheval liberte trailers? They are lighter than Richardsons I think and maybe taller.I have one to tow with a saloon car and it seems pretty decent.Its a single one that I bought from new.

Tinypony
25-02-13, 12:29 PM
Whether or not you use positive or negative reinforcement, you will still find yourself dealing with the horse in front of you. Discussing the horse's traumatic event with pigs for half an hour will make the owner feel better and that they have a good explanation as to why they haven't been able to solve the problem. They might even think you are a lovely empathic person and that you're worth every penny. But then, there you are, facing a horse that, for whatever reason, won't load consistently. Is it because he got scared of pigs and associates it with the trailer? Maybe, but you can't do anything about that, telling him soothingly that there are no pigs isn't going to help... So you will do what you always do. Set the horse up to succeed (which might involve offering a larger space, particularly at first in the training stage), then you pick up your treat bag, lead rope, Dually, or magic wand and you get on with the job at hand.
That's what I think is meant about not needing to know all the history, in most cases it is of very little help in dealing with the horse that you have in front of you. In fact, for most horse trainers, they often have no way of knowing the history, but they're able to help the horse anyway, so it's obviously not that important.
This is not the same as dealing with "vices" of course, in which case the reason is everything.

Spottyappy
25-02-13, 12:38 PM
I have had a difficult loader on a weekend course with Kelly.
I recommend you do this. It is usually free if you provide the horse. You will get shown more,however unless you pay as one her students,you will not fully participate. My daughter and I learnt a great deal from this weekend,and I highly recommend it. We also had a follow up session with Sandra, one of Kelly's associates.
We had quite a few holes picked in our horsebox,BUT they were all things I was aware of,and wAs in process of having changed. This included a new ramp.
I do think their points on safety or/and things from a horses perspective were and are valid.
Our mare still does not load that well,and she will need a session with Sandra again at some point to reinforce lessons. However,she is out on loan and at the moment does not need to load to go anywhere,anyway.
My feelings are she disliked standing herringbone,as she had previously travelled fine in our 3.5t rear facing box. She would only travel facing to the right,which was slightly backwards, in the herringbone box.
I had to change my horsebox recently, as our new lad was too tall to comfortably fit in my old one with 7'2" headroom. He went in and traveled perfectly well, he is a seasoned traveller,but I didn't want to risk him putting himself off by hitting his head.
Yes,I lost money,and had to get an Older vehicle,but I did not want to,long term,take the chance of a future problem. Would rather avoid it happening.
New box is forward facing,I personally would not have a herringbone box again if I can avoid one.
Do consider borrowing a friends one that has more headroom,and several times if possible,to give you an idea to see if it contributing to the problem,or not.
The pigs may or may not have been a factor,to you horse. They clearly are to you,and it can be very hard,sometimes,to stop our concerns transmitting to the horse.
I hope you get a resolution as I know how frustrating a problem loader is. Also,easier said than done i know,but positivity " the horse is loading first time today" does help!
Good luck.

FfionWinnie
25-02-13, 12:46 PM
I think you need to forget about the pigs frankly.

I haven't read their books so I can't recommend them but I can say there is a comprehensive loading section in Richard Maxwell's train your young horse and I would recommend you read that. Using a pressure halter to load horses is not rocket science nor is it some big magical mystical thing you need hours to learn. It's the most simple thing and makes complete sense once you understand it however it has changed my life so dramatically with horses I can say if you learn it, you will load your horse into anything with no drama and no upsetting the horse.

It sounds like Kelly has actually shown you all the techniques you need to know and maybe you just expected it to be more dramatic than it was.

The key now is repetition. Get him in the trailer 50 times a day for a week then keep repeating it regularly to reinforce the positive experience. Do not use treats or "starvation" use the pressure halter and a good bond with your horse. Don't start a battle you can't finish, so make sure you always have plenty of time to follow through.

webble
25-02-13, 12:50 PM
Applecart it really doesn't matter now whether it was the pigs or not, if your horses ears touch the ceiling of the trailer it is too small and your horse could really actually injure himself quite badly. I personally would rather go out less to free up a bit of money so that I could buy something suitable than risk my horse being hurt.
That is all....

I agree with this completely. It would only take him to throw his head up to bang his poll

Could you hire a 3.5t box for a day see how he fits in that and how he loads? IF he fits better and is happy to go in then maybe hire a box for future trips

Coblover63
25-02-13, 12:50 PM
Can I just say also that "RA" stands for Recommended Associate and it means that the person has done lots and lots of hours of study and training under Kelly's tutelage and they are approved by Intelligent Horsemanship to represent the organisation.

Caol Ila
25-02-13, 12:51 PM
I think you need to forget about the pigs frankly.

I haven't read their books so I can't recommend them but I can say there is a comprehensive loading section in Richard Maxwell's train your young horse and I would recommend you read that. Using a pressure halter to load horses is not rocket science nor is it some big magical mystical thing you need hours to learn. It's the most simple thing and makes complete sense once you understand it however it has changed my life so dramatically with horses I can say if you learn it, you will load your horse into anything with no drama and no upsetting the horse.

Aye.... I forgot to add in my last post that if you're thinking of pigs every time you try to load the horse, that anxiety will be transmitted to the horse. He might not be thinking of pigs, but if he knows you're anxious about the whole trailer thing me might say, "Hmmm... she's worried... maybe going into this rattling metal box is really a bad idea!"

FfionWinnie
25-02-13, 12:53 PM
I agree with this completely. It would only take him to throw his head up to bang his poll

Could you hire a 3.5t box for a day see how he fits in that and how he loads? IF he fits better and is happy to go in then maybe hire a box for future trips

I actually don't agree with this at all. All it would take for any horse would be for it to rear up and crack its head on any transport. Horses aren't stupid, they know where the ceiling is, a relaxed horse won't randomly throw its head up, the key here is getting it relaxed.

Hedwards
25-02-13, 12:57 PM
Cant comment on the actual experience you had at the demo, and I'm glad you've managed to take some positives away from it, if not all of it.

however, just a couple of things i thought about while reading this thread:

1. there has been quite a bit of research into loading horses backwards, I dont know the inside set up of your trailer, but if you have a front ramp, and large enough space inside you could try this... it is supposed to be that a horse can feel the ramp height increasing, but can also see the roof, and they fear banging their head (which is why you see a lot of horses plant on the ramp with their head right up in the air, or they run backwards, so by loading them in reverse, they lose this fear as its not as 'visible' to them (I did my dissertation at uni on this with interesting results - as an example of 2 of the horses i used my mare who would load blindfolded on her own, had a higher heart rate loading backwards compared to forwards, another 'bad' loader who would take a long time to load, had a lower heart rate when loaded backwards compared to forwards). Now i know you dont think its related to your trailers height, however, could he be making a connection between feeling trapped in the small trailer space, and having no escape from the pigs?

2.

If I try my friends trailer today I doubt he will go in unless he has been starved, and even if he does, he probably wont the next time. But I will try.

If you approach loading him with this mind set, you're setting yourself up for failure... do you have someone on the yard who is confident and competent enough to try loading him for you? I just wonder how much you are (understandably) projecting onto him making him more nervous about the whole thing?


I'm no expert, and these are just my musings, so understand if you think its total tosh!

ETA: I know heartrate isnt always an indicator of stress... but the bad loader was definitely happier when loading backwards as he went on almost straight away...

applecart14
25-02-13, 12:59 PM
There is no trailer that will not risk injury to a horse of that size who chooses to rear in it. In fact I think that it may even be safer to travel the horse with a ceiling low enough for him to know that it is not a possibilty for him to rear. Rather than being high enough above him for him not to realise it is there, rear and smash into it. Most horses 17 hands and over which travel in lorries will have their ears somewhere close enough to the ceiling to smash their heads into it if they chuck it upwards for some reason.

p.s. I also had a horse who had what seemed to be a primeval fear of pigs, it does happen.

That's really weird, Dad just said that horses of his height will have their ears close to or touching the ceiling. My trailer is easily 7ft high.

How strange that Dad and you should say the same sentence in the last hour.

Hedwards yes good points, but had other people load him and its made no difference. It took a group of about six to load him when I got knocked out and carted off to hospital in October!

Yes the horses loading backwards definetely feel more comfortable as the research done into it has been quite extensive. If I were to buy a new box I would definetely take that into consideration.

webble
25-02-13, 12:59 PM
I actually don't agree with this at all. All it would take for any horse would be for it to rear up and crack its head on any transport. Horses aren't stupid, they know where the ceiling is, a relaxed horse won't randomly throw its head up, the key here is getting it relaxed.

I was thinking more if he has a hay net the way they pull the hay out and the head moves up, there needs to be space for that. I was wondering if that had been an issue

ester
25-02-13, 01:03 PM
yeah, thats more what I was thinking, general eating/balancing not any OTT movements just what a normal horse would do in transit.

applecart14
25-02-13, 01:08 PM
The Derby probably isn't high enough, but Bateson do two bigger trailers the Deauville is 7ft3" headroom and under 900kg, then the Ascot is higher again and under 1000kg. Both are common enough trailers that you could probably borrow one to try loading him in, and you wouldn't need a massively bigger car.



I don't want a massively bigger car. I plan on keeping mine. Its doing 44.4mpg towing and 44.9mpg not towing, and 55mpg on long journeys. The insurance is under 300 and it flew through the MOT. I don't want another car thank you very much, its out of the question as is a horse box. A 900KG and 1000KG trailer is out of the question, I would be nearly over the limit without taking into account equipment.

The point which I am desperately trying to put across is that height/banging head and other trailer related problems are irrelevant. THe horse has been fine in the same trailer for 7.5 years. Fine to load, fine to travel. Is still fine to travel, not a murmur out of him. The trailer has not suddenly shrunk, or the horse has not developed a massive growth spurt.

Hedwards
25-02-13, 01:11 PM
Hedwards yes good points, but had other people load him and its made no difference. It took a group of about six to load him when I got knocked out and carted off to hospital in October!

Yes the horses loading backwards definetely feel more comfortable as the research done into it has been quite extensive. If I were to buy a new box I would definetely take that into consideration.

I would think after he knocked you out, all of the group of 6 will have been 'on guard' and not neccessarily in the best position to approach things calmly/confidently... I doubt i would, maybe worth another try?

You can try loading him backwards in your trailer if you have front unload and enough room inside - thats how i did it for my dissertation as we had no rear load trailer avaliable.

ester
25-02-13, 01:12 PM
for 7.5 years and then something happened to unnerve him....

Hedwards
25-02-13, 01:12 PM
The point which I am desperately trying to put across is that height/banging head and other trailer related problems are irrelevant. THe horse has been fine in the same trailer for 7.5 years. Fine to load, fine to travel. Is still fine to travel, not a murmur out of him. The trailer has not suddenly shrunk, or the horse has not developed a massive growth spurt.


I think most do understand this point, however, my point would be if he was scared whitless in the trailer when he met the pigs, he may have entirely changed his opinion of the trailer, and he now sees it as a small confined space that trapped him near the pigs... and this is now his association with it...

2horsesnomoney
25-02-13, 01:16 PM
I think OP is getting a rough deal on here now, i thing head height in the trailer is the new "trendy" excuse now used by lots of IH+NH people when the dont have time to work out the actual problem. In OP's case it could be the pigs it may not be but if the horse is inconcistent and have always traveled in this trailer its unlikely to be head height. Thats just my opinion having had a difficult loader or 2! OP you need to try and clarify if it is the pigs, driving, space that are causing the problem. I have a mare that only travels with no pratitions. But i do swear by the dually! esp for strong horses but learn to use it and train your horse with it first.

applecart14
25-02-13, 01:16 PM
I get the sense from Applecart that she felt a bit dismissed and irrelevant when Kelly and Monty didn't seem to think her interpretation of Bailey's fear was very important.

At last! Thank you. Its easy shoving a label of roof too low. It hasn't been too low for the last seven years.

For a horse to stare and snort at a pile of tarmacadum on a car park believing it to be the black pig in the photo for four hours obviously has a tremendous fear. Associating the pigs with loading in the trailer just made it worse. Seeing piglets run out in front of him down the lane was the straw that broke the camels back. Thoughts came flooding back of the pigs at the show centre. They thoughts all got combined and the association with the trailer became stronger.

I don't need to be Kelly or Monty to work that one out. Anyway I have had enough of this post now. Thank you for all your replies good and bad.

xxxx

Caol Ila
25-02-13, 01:28 PM
Just to clarify, I think it's important for the OWNER to have the trainer acknowledge and listen to their perspective/interpretation. It's less important for the horse and trainer, since it doesn't matter if the horse was traumatized by pigs behind the trailer, or falling over in the trailer, or whatever... the trainer would address the fear issue in the same way. In the case of my own horse who went from a good loader to bad loader overnight, I haven't the faintest idea why she woke up one day and decided she wasn't going on that trailer. But for the trainers who worked with me on fixing it, it didn't matter whether I had the great American novel explaining why she developed trailer-phobia, or no clue at all. If I had the great American novel, however, I would have been upset too if the trainer completely and intransigently dismissed it out of hand. They have to train the people as well, and explanations are important to them!

amandap
25-02-13, 01:31 PM
The thing is applecart14 you need to make a plan. There will be no quick fix and you will probably have to learn some new skills. There are suggestions of people to get out to help you already posted so perhaps think about using one of them.
New skills you learn in the process will stand you in good stead for continuing to help him.
I think you need to say...ok that wasn't what I needed so I need to move on with a new approach. :)

ps. Second Caol Ila's point about the owner needing the training/learning.

Beausmate
25-02-13, 01:35 PM
Just one more thing before you go...

You say sometimes he loads ok and sometimes he doesn't. Forget the pigs for now and when you practice loading keep a record of everything. Time of day, weather conditions, location of trailer who is present, anything you can think of.
See if there is any pattern to his behaviour. Might be a waste of time but it might just give you a 'eureka' moment. Good luck. I had a very bad loader, 17.3hh and a trailer height of just over 7'. He loads fine these days, took about half an hour to sort him out. Unloading however.......:rolleyes:

Happy H
25-02-13, 01:35 PM
Looking at an alternative way of solving the problem - could you try and help your horse get over his fear of pigs if that is the main issue he has a problem with?

My horse got scared of loading after being at a venue with golfers - he was petrified of them!!

I took him back there on a non-show day and spent ages getting him used to the golfers and it worked a treat!

Good luck - oh and look at some u-tube videos of monty and max on the internet and try putting some of their methods into practice yourself - you may be able to do it all on your own just using a differnt method!

xx

charlie76
25-02-13, 01:37 PM
My horse put his head through the ceiling of a 7. 5 tonne

Littlelegs
25-02-13, 01:50 PM
I think auslander has a good point with the associated pain idea. But I think whatever the cause, I'd try the easiest, cheapest solution first. Get a good padded poll guard incase he has banged his head, & use it everytime he goes in a trailer. Then just feed him on the ramp everyday for a week. Then in the trailer every day for a month. Won't take him long to associate trailer = feed. As long as you have the bucket in place before you lead him over, its not rewarding him for behaving badly in the way it would be if you got a bucket after he played up. It might need to be a proper feed at first, but in time you can reduce it to half an apple or 6 pony nuts in a bucket.

FfionWinnie
25-02-13, 01:54 PM
I was thinking more if he has a hay net the way they pull the hay out and the head moves up, there needs to be space for that. I was wondering if that had been an issue

I have a 14.1 in a slightly under 6ft high trailer. She has never hit her head on the roof pulling hay out the hay net. I did use a poll guard when I travelled her in it initially as an extra safety measure but she doesn't like a poll guard and as I say it hasn't been an issue. I really think horses need more credit for their spacial awareness than they might hit their head while pulling hay out a net, they can pull it out down the way and I'd expect that's what a normal relaxed horse would do.

I don't think it's the pigs and I don't think it's the height of the trailer. I think this can be resolved with the right handling since the horse was quite happy for 7.5 years.

Spring Feather
25-02-13, 02:03 PM
It's not the pigs. And I don't think OP needs to get rid of her trailer and buy a taller one. She just needs to retrain the horse to be happy to go in and out of the trailer again. It's not difficult and OP will find it surprising how quickly her horse makes a turnaround when the time is taken to properly teach loading the horse in a positive manner.

Kat
25-02-13, 02:15 PM
I don't want a massively bigger car. I plan on keeping mine. Its doing 44.4mpg towing and 44.9mpg not towing, and 55mpg on long journeys. The insurance is under 300 and it flew through the MOT. I don't want another car thank you very much, its out of the question as is a horse box. A 900KG and 1000KG trailer is out of the question, I would be nearly over the limit without taking into account equipment.

The point which I am desperately trying to put across is that height/banging head and other trailer related problems are irrelevant. THe horse has been fine in the same trailer for 7.5 years. Fine to load, fine to travel. Is still fine to travel, not a murmur out of him. The trailer has not suddenly shrunk, or the horse has not developed a massive growth spurt.

Read my post before getting defensive, I said you WOULDN'T need a massively bigger car. Maybe a slightly bigger one, but not massively.

And for what it is worth, your fuel economy is not that good, you could easily get a car with a MUCH bigger towing capacity that would not use much more fuel. Ours will tow 2.8t and gets 45mpg on average, mainly doing short journeys.

I understand that for 7.5 years the horse didn't have a problem with the trailer, but he does now. Is it not worth checking out whether a different trailer might help? It might not, in which case no need to worry about changing cars, but it might and you might get your happy to load horse back.

I don't understand why you are being so negative about even considering trying a different trailer. You may well be able to get one that WOULDN'T require any change of car that your horse is happier with.

I'm not dismissing the pig connection, in one of my earlier posts I suggested that feeling scared by the pigs may have made him feel claustrophobic in the trailer that had previously been fine and that may have been why he decided it isn't right that day. But you seem to be reluctant to consider practical solutions.

ester
25-02-13, 02:21 PM
It's not the pigs. And I don't think OP needs to get rid of her trailer and buy a taller one. She just needs to retrain the horse to be happy to go in and out of the trailer again. It's not difficult and OP will find it surprising how quickly her horse makes a turnaround when the time is taken to properly teach loading the horse in a positive manner.

I just wondered whether that was having seen the pic or not?

I just think that a flight animal is likely to have the potential for anxiety when their ears are touching the top or the trailer with the head at normal height?

But perhaps I am just too used to seeing a 14.2 in a 505 :o

Spring Feather
25-02-13, 02:35 PM
I just wondered whether that was having seen the pic or not?

I just think that a flight animal is likely to have the potential for anxiety when their ears are touching the top or the trailer with the head at normal height?

But perhaps I am just too used to seeing a 14.2 in a 505 :o

I did see the picture of the horse in the trailer and my automatic reaction was 'trailer is not tall enough for horse', but then I considered it; the horse was on high alert so he was as tall as he can be at that moment in time. Under normal circumstances he wouldn't be stressed and thus his head would be lowered. I do agree though, I don't personally like horses in trailers which are too low for them, my own trailer is 7'6" tall and is fine for even my big horses, but then my lot are good to trailer (we trailer loose over here) and are always at ease in the trailer so headheight isn't really too important for them, especially as for most of the journey their heads are on the floor eating hay.

Brightbay
25-02-13, 02:35 PM
Yes I can borrow a trailer, but the whole point is the horse isn't consistent. He will go in sometimes, and other times won't go in for two hours. Yesterday he loaded in under a minute before the demo. Last week five mins, the week before 20 mins, the week before that ten minutes. Before that not at all, etc, etc. Something in his head changed that day he saw the pigs. You can see him staring at the pigs in the photo. Four hours hiding behind a trailer and creeping around to sneek a peek at five minute intervals for four hours is telling me that was what started the ball rolling.

He did go in a trailer belonging to someone whose horse is a nightmare to load to give it a lead. It took about four mins to get him in. But doesn't prove anything really.

If I try my friends trailer today I doubt he will go in unless he has been starved, and even if he does, he probably wont the next time. But I will try.

Yet again, everything you describe is a horse who has generalised a fear reaction. We do it too - when we have a frightening experience, we don't just end up fearing the thing that might have triggered it, but also other random things that were around at the time - I have come across someone who had a fear of birds, after several birds flew up during an incident when she was hit by a car. The birds didn't hurt her, they didn't cause the accident - that's not how the brain works. It forms an image of all the things that were present at the time of the scare, and then uses them to help predict whether scary things are about to happen again.

A prime characteristic is that the fear reaction isn't the same every time -sometimes you get days or weeks when it's fine or very minor, then you get a full blown reaction. The key thing is, it doesn't get any better and over time, it gradually gets worse.

If you had a behaviourist work with you, they'd have explained this? Along with working out a programme of counterconditioning. If they didn't, they weren't qualified as a behaviourist.

Yes, it could be pain. Yes, it could be the trailer. But wouldn't you eliminate the fear response first? And that doesn't mean working with pigs... it means working with the trailer. If there's a problem with the trailer, you'll find out at this point, since the process gives the horse a chance to show if it's a generalised fear, or a problem with the entrance to a too small trailer.

If (as you say separately) your horse has a problem with pigs, you can deal with that too. It's not insurmountable, and can be done without force or coercion.

Day 1 - never seen a pig before, started off at bottom of hill refusing to approach pigs, ended up looking at them calmly from a safe distance http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y49/seventines/Photo0062.jpg

Day 3 - now curious about pigs, and stayed watching them for some time after I left : http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y49/seventines/Photo0066.jpg.

Ended up able to touch noses with the pigs and graze calmly beside them.

No headcollar, no pressure halter, no carrot stick, just rewards, repetition and working within the horse's comfort zone. It works with all horses if you just take the time.


Next time you want to educate your horse peeps and show him something new, don't!

NExt time you want to educate your horse, start off in a setting where the horse's adrenaline isn't already up, and then once they're happy there, you can start to do the same thing in increasingly scary environments :) We all make bad calls from time to time, no point beating yourself up about, just a case of working out how to best deal with the fallout.

TigerTail
25-02-13, 02:37 PM
Why on earth would you show your horse something known to be frightening like pigs with him stuck in a tin can?! They are a flight animal for petes sake

Again if his ears are touching the ceiling the trailer is too small. One of those than you are going to have to get over and realise, tough poo about the money - its a side to owning horses, if you cant afford the right equipment - dont bother.

Im guessing its your own hang up about the whole issue now that has probably snowballed it. Your pre conceptions about loading, your body language, tone of voice etc.

You need to mentally wipe the slate clean, forget all this nonsense about pigs (the MR team wont have asked in-depth questions about this as its not that helpful to the present - sounds like you were wanting a therapy session, nevermind the horse!) and just move on.

winterwood
25-02-13, 02:48 PM
I think you need to forget about the pigs frankly.

I haven't read their books so I can't recommend them but I can say there is a comprehensive loading section in Richard Maxwell's train your young horse and I would recommend you read that. Using a pressure halter to load horses is not rocket science nor is it some big magical mystical thing you need hours to learn. It's the most simple thing and makes complete sense once you understand it however it has changed my life so dramatically with horses I can say if you learn it, you will load your horse into anything with no drama and no upsetting the horse.

It sounds like Kelly has actually shown you all the techniques you need to know and maybe you just expected it to be more dramatic than it was.

The key now is repetition. Get him in the trailer 50 times a day for a week then keep repeating it regularly to reinforce the positive experience. Do not use treats or "starvation" use the pressure halter and a good bond with your horse. Don't start a battle you can't finish, so make sure you always have plenty of time to follow through.

This makes sense to me. Whether it's Max's halter a Dually, rope halter or normal headcollar, it is down to technique, the use of pressure and release, timing and not having the 'intent' to load in the handlers mind.

ester
25-02-13, 02:49 PM
thanks SF, I just wondered :)

gmw
25-02-13, 02:52 PM
If your horse are touching the trailer roof, then its too small.

TarrSteps
25-02-13, 02:56 PM
It's not the pigs. And I don't think OP needs to get rid of her trailer and buy a taller one. She just needs to retrain the horse to be happy to go in and out of the trailer again. It's not difficult and OP will find it surprising how quickly her horse makes a turnaround when the time is taken to properly teach loading the horse in a positive manner.

Pretty much this. The situation is what it is and, demo experience aside, there is not much point to reliving the past.

If, OP, you feel the pig issue is going to affect the horse in other ways (say, you frequent a venue with pigs or often meet them out hacking), then that's something to deal with separately. I'm not sure of the details of the pig experience but there is some evidence he inadvertently had a "flooding" experience. While this can be a useful behavioural therapy it's generally not recommended because of the potential for it to go wrong. Perhaps worth doing a bit of reading on that possibility.

Zebedee
25-02-13, 03:06 PM
Applecart, can I just ask what in gods name made you decide to take the horse to see some pigs in the first place? That's the part that I'm most puzzled about to be honest.
FWIW I think the pig visit is a red herring in all this + I've travelled a big horse in a 505 before and it was the length rather than the height that was the issue (remove partition and allow horse to stand at an angle - experienced good traveller - still is- that needed to get to the vets in a hurry). I think it's more that inadvertently you've allowed him to become the decision maker in this. Something like the Dually used properly should put you back in charge again.

Marydoll
25-02-13, 03:13 PM
I think you need to forget about the pigs frankly.

I haven't read their books so I can't recommend them but I can say there is a comprehensive loading section in Richard Maxwell's train your young horse and I would recommend you read that. Using a pressure halter to load horses is not rocket science nor is it some big magical mystical thing you need hours to learn. It's the most simple thing and makes complete sense once you understand it however it has changed my life so dramatically with horses I can say if you learn it, you will load your horse into anything with no drama and no upsetting the horse.

It sounds like Kelly has actually shown you all the techniques you need to know and maybe you just expected it to be more dramatic than it was.

The key now is repetition. Get him in the trailer 50 times a day for a week then keep repeating it regularly to reinforce the positive experience. Do not use treats or "starvation" use the pressure halter and a good bond with your horse. Don't start a battle you can't finish, so make sure you always have plenty of time to follow through.

Good advice ^^^^

carthorse
25-02-13, 04:34 PM
I don't think it is important what initially upset your horse. It happened and now you need to solve the problem.
We suddenly had a problem. We took our young horse who always loaded into our lorry to an evening lesson. It was light on the way there but dark to reload. We had the box facing into a bright light. We now realise she couldnt see the bottom of the ramp properly and stumbled. That was enough to un nerve her. We couldnt get her in and luckily were allowed to stable there over night. Next day we trained her in a dually for the first time and then went to load she soon realised it realeased when she went forward and loaded. Each time we practiced she got better. Now we still pop it on to load but dont really need it.
They gave you good advice. If the height is not a problem your horse will soon improve with a dually as they get reward and release if they load. In their experienced opinion it is too low ,if it is you will still have a problem.
Sounds to me like they did a good job. Forget the feed to get them in use a dually, there are usually some on ebay second hand

kc100
25-02-13, 05:05 PM
Applecart, can I just ask what in gods name made you decide to take the horse to see some pigs in the first place? That's the part that I'm most puzzled about to be honest.
FWIW I think the pig visit is a red herring in all this + I've travelled a big horse in a 505 before and it was the length rather than the height that was the issue (remove partition and allow horse to stand at an angle - experienced good traveller - still is- that needed to get to the vets in a hurry). I think it's more that inadvertently you've allowed him to become the decision maker in this. Something like the Dually used properly should put you back in charge again.

Sorry guys it really frustrates me when people choose to post when they havent read all the previous posts - plus Applecart needs a friend :) to stick up with her I think as this is getting silly now.

Applecart clearly states here:
"It was the terror of the pigs at the show centre, the hiding behind his trailer snorting in their direction the next time there for four hours between classes and the fear of them lurking in the trailer ready to chew his feet."

She took Bailey to a show, and he had to wait in between classes where he could see the pigs. She was never deliberately intending to scare her horse by making him stand in a trailer or next to the trailer staring at pigs.

That's all I have to say on the matter - if you are going to bother to reply and criticise someone try reading the ENTIRE post first, especially the ones from the OP as more often than not the answers to your questions wil already be there.

mainpower
25-02-13, 05:14 PM
In my opinion, it is better for Applecart to believe it is a "pig" problem, so that she can mentally put this into perspective. I'm probably not explaining this very well, but if she can say to herself, "no pigs here, Bailey will load fine", less tension will be transmitted to the horse than if her mindset is saying "ooh, trailer roof too low, Bailey won't load".
As for the trailer roof height... just as we are all taught to walk close behind a horse, because a kick from 6 inches is going to hurt much less than a kick from 12/18 inches, so a horse will hurt his head far more if he can get the speed and impetus that a foot over his head will allow, rather than being aware of the roof close to his ears.
Someone above said that all horses can be taught to not be afraid of the "scary stuff" by becoming accustomed to it hasn't met my old boy... he has an irrational fear of round hay bales if we meet them out hacking. Yet he will hog the bales in the field, will school round them, pass them in different places on the drive. But spot one any closer than 30' when hacking and there will be a full on battle to stop him spinning and ******ing off! :confused:
Applecart, Bailey looks and sounds like a really nice horse. But when I clicked on your photo links I was puzzled for a moment, because I had assumed you were the man in your signature! :o

Good luck and hope you get things sorted. :)

1stclassalan
25-02-13, 05:30 PM
And 1stclassIan, I love you! You crack me up.
Ah, I thought - things are looking up here! Then I read:-


I do feel awfully guilty for having these dark thoughts! x
Well, I can understand you having second thoughts about declaring love for me over the InterWeb - but really - less than a dozen words later - I'm devastated!

My mare actually wouldn't load at all - I did manage to take her to the Vet's once but as she flew out of the lorry and toted me around their place hanging on the the headstall for dear life - both Vet's decided that she was fitter than their planned operation was designed to do! I'd add that I spent the entire journey in the lorry with her, looking in her eye while holding the partition bolt in the roof every time we turned a corner and holding her head down to stop her putting it through the glass fibre panel - this despite providing a gamgee wrapped poll guard making her ensemble similar to an old cartoon of someone with bad toothache!
Actually, I owe my life with the mare down to her reluctance at lorry travel. When the yard she was on as a school horse was dispersed in a divorce settlement, many horses disappeared to all corners of the Earth, she was put in a large lorry but threatened to kick it to shreds when others were added - thus she was left behind allowing me time to buy her. That's a rather romantic story really ( sorry if you've aready read it) my wife learned to ride on her and became besotted ( at the time, I thought she was a old plodder ( the mare not my wife) and had my eye on two other magnificent horses also for sale - both went permanently lame so lucky escape) said wife became very tearful when the news of school closure and beloved mare parting - so I sneeked off and bought her as a surprise Christmas pressy! Ahhhh...

I completely agree with the other poster who mentions the amount of weight adjusting horses do when travelling - and this may be what frits the life out of some of them - having been in the back with mine - it's flipping alarming for a human - the noise when other vehicles go passed is very unnerving.

If you've had a problem loading - spending an hour or more trying - I'm sure that emotions on all sides were running high and this is hardly conducive to happy thoughts, much more likely to reinforce the refusal behavior.

My advice would be to have some practice when there's no pressure, perhaps get in the habit of running your horse through the trailer every day, put her hard food in there - this way it's not an extra merely her normal feed in a different place. I did this for a horse I took to the owner's wedding - everyday for about six months! I didn't want 300 people stuck in their finest while I chased a horse around the yard! Success! Mind you, Had a lovely lorry to go in - CCTV and an intercom so I could talk to said horse all the way - people were laughing at traffic lights because they could see me talking and hear the horse whinny from the back!

Zebedee
25-02-13, 05:36 PM
Sorry KC100 but in the OP it clearly states........"
following a visit to see a couple of pigs whilst at a show centre."
(Sorry can't do a proper quote as posting from phone)
In a later post Applecart also advises that people 'shouldn't take their horses out to show them new things' or words to that effect.

I have every sympathy for Applecart, but I'm not sure that it's me who needs to pay more attention when reading posts ;)

Near where I live is a bridleway that runs past a zoo. One day a hunt member decided to take his pt 2 pt horse up there to 'meet' the elephants whose enclosure was on the zoo boundary below the bridleway (again god only knows why he thought that would be a good idea...). The horse was found still tacked up but unharmed two days later, a few hours before his owner was discharged from hospital having been severely concussed in the fall he'd sustained when the horse reacted extremely violently at the sight of the elephants !

1stclassalan
25-02-13, 05:50 PM
One day a hunt member decided to take his pt 2 pt horse up there to 'meet' the elephants !

My mare met a whole troop of elephants from Robert Fossett's circus and never batted an eyelid! However, she put in some snorts that would kick start a jumbo jet at a show where we'd hacked over to give moral support to my daughter who was completing. After several of these huge blasts ( quite hilarious when you're sitting up top eh?) I leaned over to look her in the eye saying "what's all that about and what can you see?" Following her line of sight, I could see a white thing about two fields away ( about the size of the Queen's head on a stamp from there!). It's a GOAT, you silly old thing! "Smells a bit like a pig to me" ( she used to talk back to me all the time ) "Well I assure you it's a goat," "What's one of them then?" "Cor blimey what kind of IRISH horse are you and never seen a goat!!!"

We also walked - very quietly - around a swarm of bees once, they'd come to rest at the side of a track we used a lot - she saw it before me ( of course ) but didn't snort or anything just turned round a bit as if to direct my attention. Get that Monty!

FionaM12
25-02-13, 05:58 PM
My mare met a whole troop of elephants from Robert Fossett's circus and never batted an eyelid! However, she put in some snorts that would kick start a jumbo jet at a show where we'd hacked over to give moral support to my daughter who was completing. After several of these huge blasts ( quite hilarious when you're sitting up top eh?) I leaned over to look her in the eye saying "what's all that about and what can you see?" Following her line of sight, I could see a white thing about two fields away ( about the size of the Queen's head on a stamp from there!). It's a GOAT, you silly old thing! "Smells a bit like a pig to me" ( she used to talk back to me all the time ) "Well I assure you it's a goat," "What's one of them then?" "Cor blimey what kind of IRISH horse are you and never seen a goat!!!"

We also walked - very quietly - around a swarm of bees once, they'd come to rest at the side of a track we used a lot - she saw it before me ( of course ) but didn't snort or anything just turned round a bit as if to direct my attention. Get that Monty!

Haha. I love that a herd of elephants are fine, but a distant goat is worrying! :D

When you first came to this forum, bringing some (errmm) somewhat contenscious views :rolleyes: I was quite definitely not a fan. ;) Nor were most, in fact I remember there was a lot of button-pushing and vanishing comments. plus a whole thread dedicated to Alan-bashing. All of which I suspected you enjoyed.

How times have changed, I log in, go to New Posts, see your name and thing "Oh goodie, this will be entertaining". Sometimes baffling (your typing doesn't always keep up with your thoughts perhaps :D). occasionally annoying, often very funny but always entertaining.

How dull HHO (and life) would be without people like you. :):)

bouncing_ball
25-02-13, 05:58 PM
Is it really ever truly safe to tow a full size horse in a trailer behind a saloon car, even if it is legal? Not sure I would?

1stclassalan
25-02-13, 06:38 PM
Haha. I love that a herd of elephants are fine, but a distant goat is worrying! :D

Yep, aren't horses something? I spent literally years getting into my mare's head but much of it remained a mystery.


When you first came to this forum, bringing some (errmm) somewhat contenscious views :rolleyes: I was quite definitely not a fan. ;) Nor were most, in fact I remember there was a lot of button-pushing and vanishing comments.

Well it was rather an emotive subject for a male to engage in on a largely female site eh? But I rather think that most of the criticism came from folk who had already made up their minds ( dressage judges in their day jobs perhaps?) about me and my opinions even before they read what I wrote - I can well remember a whole stream of invective about the runaway 16 year old and yet a few days ago there was a thread of a fifty or so young women who had all indulged long before that age and ten or so had actually moved in with a bloke by then - so vindication - if I ever needed it.

plus a whole thread dedicated to Alan-bashing. All of which I suspected you enjoyed.
No, I didn't enjoy it. I thought it rather childish and ill considered and mourned the fact that my posts could be read by these people wrongly - I thought this was a site for adult discussion and so was more disappointed than anything else.

How times have changed, I log in, go to New Posts, see your name and thing "Oh goodie, this will be entertaining".
Ah - that's what familiarity will do for you !

Sometimes baffling (your typing doesn't always keep up with your thoughts perhaps :D). occasionally annoying, often very funny but always entertaining.
How dull HHO (and life) would be without people like you. :):)
I'm probably baffling to you because of the age, gender, experience etc., difference - I admit to often writing like an eighteenth century novel because that's the way my mind works - I've never used one word where twelve will fit! I started reading Shakespeare when about seven or eight and wondered why all my peers thought I was wierd!

And as for entertaining:- I've been known to do five minutes when the light comes on after opening the fridge, boom,boom, tishhhhh.

Rhodders
25-02-13, 06:48 PM
I can't comment on the demo or anyone's perceptions of what should happen, if the trailers unsuitable or anything else other than the pigs.
I really think you need to find a way of letting go of the pig experience, I know its hard to let go of a bad experience but it really is self destructive.
Good luck with finding a solution to your problem :)

devonlass
25-02-13, 06:49 PM
TBH I always thought that it was quite usual and kind of the point for MR not to have too much to do with the horses in the demo beforehand and not know too much about them etc??

I also agree the reason why he stopped loading (pigs I think you said??)is irrelevant to curing the issue.I had an RA out to a difficult pony years ago and she also was totally uninterested in my explanations and thoughts on the cause of our issues,at the time I thought like you that it was strange but when questioned she said that the problem was the same no matter what the cause,and that the cause had no bearing on the method for dealing with it,which is perfectly true of course.
I think that we as owners get hung up on the reasons behind behaviour as it helps us rationalise it and eases our own frustrations.

Perhaps the real issue with the demo was the lack of communication about what to expect and the timetable etc rather than how it was actually done??

Sorry you didn't enjoy it or get as much out of it as you hoped,but hopefully it has given you some ideas of what to work on:)

cptrayes
25-02-13, 06:49 PM
That's really weird, Dad just said that horses of his height will have their ears close to or touching the ceiling. My trailer is easily 7ft high.

How strange that Dad and you should say the same sentence in the last hour.



Perhaps your Dad and I have both seen from experience (I own 17 handers) that there are few horses over 17 hands travelling in any kind of lorry that are not able to easily brush their ears on the roof. I hunt with a number of people on huge horses that can barely fit in their boxes at all. I'm inclined, therefore, to believe you that since he was fine for nearly 8 years and only problematic since the pigs, that it was the pigs that set him off.

Faced with a primeval fear of predator animals, the last thing a prey animal like a horse will want to do is get in an enclosed space and remove his own ability to flee from the danger.

I think it's also entirely possible that your own anxiety now affects him (will I get to this show or not????). In your shoes I would try getting someone else to teach him to load consistently when you are not around and then reintroduce yourself to the mix. Good luck, I hate sticky loaders - so frustrating!

angel7
25-02-13, 06:56 PM
I agree with tiger tail, forget about the pigs! But do consider these points FFS
When I saw your pictures -ouch!! You have a big horse in what appears to be a pony trailer!!

1) 7ft is generally considered for horses up to 16h, and 7ft 6" for horses up the 17.2h and 8ft for anything really big- Clydesdales, percherons, tall TB's.
I don't know what height Bailey is but he looks a big heavy tall horse, so do consider a taller trailer.
2) Also consider the tow car- you are towing at the cars limit for very long journeys, your rear suspension could be completely knackered and giving him a bouncy uncomfortable ride. There is no real accurate way to check you suspension, bouncing on it is not a definitive test, replacing it with uprated suspension may be the way to check it, as your car will feel different afterwards. In the picture it is sitting low at rest, worth a check.
3) Consider that your horse may simply be completely sick of going in the trailer. You seem to have done a hell of a lot of travelling over long journeys, and if he's tired or even a little sore after a long day away, the travel home might just be enough for him to say no thank you!!

FionaM12
25-02-13, 07:35 PM
I'm probably baffling to you because of the age, gender, experience etc., difference

I don't think there is as wide a gap as you imagine, actually. Except the gender one. :D

1stclassalan
25-02-13, 07:40 PM
I don't think there is as wide a gap as you imagine, actually. Except the gender one. :D

Ah, I did pop in on your profile and saw you like reading - my favourite story of all is Moby Dick - have you read?

Aarrghimpossiblepony
26-02-13, 01:37 AM
I used to keep a pony on a pig farm years ago. As we both got used to pigs, interesting animals and a bit of swill is great for putting weight on a pony, I have never understood the whole horses/pig thing.

And funnily enough, never had much of a problem since with any horse/pony meeting a pig unexpectedly.
Coincidence?

There are lots of people saying there are no quick fixes, time and patience leading to reconditioning using feed ect. which makes sense to me.

So why does the the whole Monty Roberts stuff come across like quick fixes and people are approving?

Maybe I've got the wrong end of the stick, but how does a halter that relies on pressure/release affect any underlying problem?

applecart14
26-02-13, 07:25 AM
I would think after he knocked you out, all of the group of 6 will have been 'on guard' and not neccessarily in the best position to approach things calmly/confidently... I doubt i would, maybe worth another try?

You can try loading him backwards in your trailer if you have front unload and enough room inside - thats how i did it for my dissertation as we had no rear load trailer avaliable.

Sorry you misunderstand. He knocked me out when he put in a huge, huge jump at the first part of the double, the last fence on the jump off part of the SJ course. It was 3ft 3 and he must have jumped it at 3ft 9"!! We were placed up till then, and had got placed in the previous class! Grrrrr.

I didn't get knocked out loading him!

applecart14
26-02-13, 07:29 AM
Why on earth would you show your horse something known to be frightening like pigs with him stuck in a tin can?!

Grow up you silly person and read my post. I didn't show him it when he was in the trailer. I led him up to the pigs during the course of the day whilst at the show. He couldn't even see the pigs when he was in the trailer, just knew they were there.

FfionWinnie
26-02-13, 07:44 AM
So why does the the whole Monty Roberts stuff come across like quick fixes and people are approving?

Maybe I've got the wrong end of the stick, but how does a halter that relies on pressure/release affect any underlying problem?

Its not a quick fix, it is a way to communicate what you want with your horse in a way the horse can understand.

My mare took 45 mins to load with three people, an incorrectly used dually, a schooling whip and a lot of carry on and force when I bought her (I was not there). This was into a 3.5 tonne lorry with a low ramp etc.

I did pressure halter work for a couple of days once I got her and then took her to my trailer which is a rattley aluminium cattle trailer and only 6ft tall. She loaded in 5 minutes, and note how calm and unfussed she is. She is 4! (When the vid goes against her side its because she was going squint and I needed that hand to straighten her up by the way!).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3wkWVY_jts

applecart14
26-02-13, 08:36 AM
Applecart, can I just ask what in gods name made you decide to take the horse to see some pigs in the first place? That's the part that I'm most puzzled about to be honest..

I was waiting between classes whilst out jumping at a show centre in Worcester. I walked around the car park and spotted some pigs in a paddock. I thought it would be a good education to show my horse the pigs. If I had known it was terrify him that much I wouldn't have. All the horses at the livery yard based on teh grounds of the show centre are paddocked next to the pigs. He wasn't too bad when I led him up to them, until one turned its head and snorted at him and that was it then, and he was terrified.

I am very much for showing your horses new experiences. I know of people who wouldn't dream of walking their horse up to something it is snorting at or shying at, but I like to show my horse the object of fear so they can see it close up and analyise it and then not be frightened of it any more. This is very effective when out hacking, say if my horse shies at a dustbin. I will walk him up to it, gradually getting him closer and closer. Eventually he will touch it with his nose and explore it (with his foot sometimes which is fine) and then he is fine with it. Obviously doing this down a country lane is fine when there are no cars around, you have to be sensible with things. Allowing your horse to continue to be scared of something when it doesn't have to be sounds crazy to me.

This is nothing new and what people generally do to allow their horse to build confidence in lots of new and interesting/scary things.

TigerTail
26-02-13, 09:14 AM
Grow up you silly person and read my post. I didn't show him it when he was in the trailer. I led him up to the pigs during the course of the day whilst at the show. He couldn't even see the pigs when he was in the trailer, just knew they were there.


WHICH IS TERRIFYING TO A FLIGHT ANIMAL TRAPPED IN A TIN CAN.

As thats the only bit of my post you've replied to Id like to suggest its you who needs to grow up :rolleyes: Accept your trailer is too small, accept its you causing the problem, shown by him being loaded by Kelly, and learn from it and move on!

YasandCrystal
26-02-13, 09:19 AM
You have obviously focused for a long time on the incident with the pigs, and your horse's reluctance to load since. And indeed that no doubt was a contributing factor. But there may have been others. As you know a horse 'grows' when he is scared, and maybe when relaxed he was happy to travel in a slightly tight trailer, but perhaps once scared he HAS been banging his head. I'm not saying this IS what happened, but just pointing out that other factors may have come into play.

But of course the real issue in front of you (and Kelly and Monty) is that the horse no longer loads. The history of how it became that way is less important. You need the horse to learn to trust the trailer again and be happy going in and out of it.


Excellent and interesting posts by everyone. I really agree with this post. It is important to 'let go' of any rationale you have placed OP as the reason to why or why not your horse loads.
Trainers are there to think outside the box - they have no emotional attachment to the horse infront of them and that is the perfect situation to start their work. I can understand their concern about the head height too. You need to set yourself up for success and with ears touching the ceiling you are not doing that.

spookypony
26-02-13, 09:24 AM
I love how this version of the thread is circling around trailers and memory and owner psychology, while the Competition version has veered off to a discussion of operant conditioning as applied to goldfish and school-teachers! :D

FfionWinnie
26-02-13, 09:32 AM
I love how this version of the thread is circling around trailers and memory and owner psychology, while the Competition version has veered off to a discussion of operant conditioning as applied to goldfish and school-teachers! :D

Frankly I couldn't bear to read the CT one as well as this one. :o:rolleyes::D

spookypony
26-02-13, 09:34 AM
Frankly I couldn't bear to read the CT one as well as this one. :o:rolleyes::D

It's much shorter! :D

FfionWinnie
26-02-13, 09:36 AM
It's much shorter! :D

Now I have your review I shall continue to avoid it :D

Hedwards
26-02-13, 10:08 AM
Sorry you misunderstand. He knocked me out when he put in a huge, huge jump at the first part of the double, the last fence on the jump off part of the SJ course. It was 3ft 3 and he must have jumped it at 3ft 9"!! We were placed up till then, and had got placed in the previous class! Grrrrr.

I didn't get knocked out loading him!

Ahhh apologies, crossed wires!

OP i can see this is an incredibly emotional situation for you. I think basically although the pigs were the trigger for this issue, the problem is now the trailer (and i dont mean the size of the trailer as such - am no expert and have no idea what the right size trailer would be) - so I do agree with the others that say forget about the pigs - that has happened, nothing you can do to change it. Now you need to concentrate on the trailer issue. Does it have a partition? if so can you take it out? do you have the front of the trailer open (is this possible) when you load him, so it is brigher/arier less confining for him? if its feasible, i would seriously consider the rear loading trial?

All I'll say is best of luck, we've all had situations like this with our horses, mine was a horse who would freak out unless she had at least 2-3 other horses around her all the time. Its upsetting and you just want your horse to be happy. Big hugs for you and the neddy - you will get over this, just try and keep a positive mindset when working with him, negativity around him/loading will only make the situation worse. oh and please do try and put pigs out of your mind.

TarrSteps
26-02-13, 10:24 AM
I love how this version of the thread is circling around trailers and memory and owner psychology, while the Competition version has veered off to a discussion of operant conditioning as applied to goldfish and school-teachers! :D

Geeks-R-Us! :D

SheadonSaffron
26-02-13, 11:22 AM
Because I'm not sure anyone's answered your question yet applecart, RA stands for Intelligent Horsemanship Recommended Associate. We are based throughout the UK (Linda is Derbyshire I believe), and travel out to work with them and their horses, or have our own yards where we can take horses in for training. You can find more details on the IH website. Not only could they help with the loading, but also with the barging, and continuing with what Kelly's already taught you about how to use the Dually halter.
Hope this helps, and you and Bailey resolve the loading issue.
Sue

fburton
26-02-13, 12:00 PM
The answer is not more pressure and release, and improved groundwork, but to actually deal with the horse's emotional reaction to the trailer (which, as you pointed out, he'd never had before). There is one way, and one way only to deal with this without overriding the fear he already feels, and that's called counterconditioning. It is easy, pleasant for the horse as it involves no stress and a lot of rewards, and the only downside is that you need clear instructions from someone and a decent amount of time over a period of a few weeks to work on it. Once you've done it, the horse's fearful association with the trailer is replaced with a positive association, so you don't get reoccurences of the problem as you can do if you use pressure/release to paper over the cracks.

It can be done at home (by you), is simple, methodical, and based on the same science used to help people with phobias.
This! It is also a way to communicate what you want with your horse in a way the horse can understand - and a very effective one.


Whether or not you use positive or negative reinforcement, you will still find yourself dealing with the horse in front of you.
And this.

fburton
26-02-13, 12:02 PM
I love how this version of the thread is circling around trailers and memory and owner psychology, while the Competition version has veered off to a discussion of operant conditioning as applied to goldfish and school-teachers! :D
Do you have a link to that discussion? Thanks!

Magicmillbrook
26-02-13, 12:03 PM
Having worked behind the scenes on many of these demos, I am happy to add my own thoughts to this.

Certainly Kelly and Monty do NOT work with any of the horses before the demos. During the demonstrations there are often huge changes in a horse's behaviour, happily accepting what they previously could not, and there are inevitably howls of disbelief from some people who then claim the horse 'must have been worked with all afternoon' with 'hours of training by Monty'. Of course this couldn't be further from the truth. Kelly and Monty want to show, live in front of the audience with perfect openness and clarity, how they would deal with the issues put in front of them in their entirety.

You have obviously focused for a long time on the incident with the pigs, and your horse's reluctance to load since. And indeed that no doubt was a contributing factor. But there may have been others. As you know a horse 'grows' when he is scared, and maybe when relaxed he was happy to travel in a slightly tight trailer, but perhaps once scared he HAS been banging his head. I'm not saying this IS what happened, but just pointing out that other factors may have come into play.

But of course the real issue in front of you (and Kelly and Monty) is that the horse no longer loads. The history of how it became that way is less important. You need the horse to learn to trust the trailer again and be happy going in and out of it. Which is why perhaps on a busy day, they only wanted the main facts rather than a detailed history. Having ascertained that the horse was fit and not in any pain, they were happy to go ahead and work with him.

Most owners find that by watching Kelly or Monty work with their horse with the Dually that they are happy to go home and continue what they have been shown. If of course you are not confident, I imagine they will have suggested contacting your local RA for some on-going support?

I'm sorry you felt that you would have more one-to-one time with Kelly and Monty, but that is not really what is offered at the demos - it is for your horse to go forward and be worked in front of an audience. If what you are really after is a full days private training with your horse, you may be better off contacting a professional to come to your own yard for a day so you can really get to grips with any problems.

I sincerely hope that you find the demo experience WAS beneficial to your horse, and that he will continue to improve. Certainly he will have at least have some positive loading experiences under his belt, so to speak, so that with more time and work, you should have him happily up and down the ramp just like he used to. I would echo other people in suggesting you DO borrow a taller trailer for a while, as this will be more inviting for him to load into. And of course, best of luck to you both.

Like! Sorry you felt disappointed with the experience OP. I had an IH person out to my daughters horse for an afternoon and found it a very positive experience, perhaps you need to organize something like this.

Fellewell
26-02-13, 12:06 PM
I knew a little mare once, she wouldn't pass pigs on the n/s, lots of spinning and spooking. On the o/s she was fine, long rein, no probs at all. Of course this did coincide with returning to the yard after a hack. But she was honest enough and when her saddle was eventually reflocked she lost her fear of pigs altogether. Sometimes you need to look beyond the obvious IMHO.

applecart14
26-02-13, 12:48 PM
WHICH IS TERRIFYING TO A FLIGHT ANIMAL TRAPPED IN A TIN CAN.

As thats the only bit of my post you've replied to Id like to suggest its you who needs to grow up :rolleyes: Accept your trailer is too small, accept its you causing the problem, shown by him being loaded by Kelly, and learn from it and move on!

You really are very nasty. The horse didn't have a problem for seven years, or have you conveniently skirted over that. He literally ran up the ramp every weekend for seven years. Does that strike you as a horse who feels constricted in a trailer???

The previous horses I owned, 17.1hh, 16.3hh, 17hh, and 17.1hh didn't have a problem with it either.

And you suggesting that I need mental health help isn't at all helpful or kind.

fburton
26-02-13, 12:59 PM
He literally ran up the ramp every weekend for seven years. Does that strike you as a horse who feels constricted in a trailer???
Of course there is no way for me or anyone else here to know for sure what your horse feels about the trailer, loading and/or travelling without actually seeing him. (And even then....!) However, I do think it is worth acknowledging that just because he didn't feel constricted before doesn't prove that he doesn't feel constricted now. I personally wouldn't rule it out.

shoeey
26-02-13, 01:00 PM
You should try Sasha Holden http://www.sashaholden.co.uk/. Her methods are based on Monty's and she is brilliant at getting into your horse's head and working out what's going on.

Zebedee
26-02-13, 01:04 PM
I was waiting between classes whilst out jumping at a show centre in Worcester. I walked around the car park and spotted some pigs in a paddock. I thought it would be a good education to show my horse the pigs. If I had known it was terrify him that much I wouldn't have. All the horses at the livery yard based on teh grounds of the show centre are paddocked next to the pigs. He wasn't too bad when I led him up to them, until one turned its head and snorted at him and that was it then, and he was terrified.

I am very much for showing your horses new experiences. I know of people who wouldn't dream of walking their horse up to something it is snorting at or shying at, but I like to show my horse the object of fear so they can see it close up and analyise it and then not be frightened of it any more. This is very effective when out hacking, say if my horse shies at a dustbin. I will walk him up to it, gradually getting him closer and closer. Eventually he will touch it with his nose and explore it (with his foot sometimes which is fine) and then he is fine with it. Obviously doing this down a country lane is fine when there are no cars around, you have to be sensible with things. Allowing your horse to continue to be scared of something when it doesn't have to be sounds crazy to me.

This is nothing new and what people generally do to allow their horse to build confidence in lots of new and interesting/scary things.

Ok, yes I'm all for educating horses, but the key to that education is that they have the confidence in their rider / handler to go forwards in an obedient manner, not that they logically work things out. Although some horses are ok with pigs, I'd say (based on personal experience) that the majority aren't, & that pigs are in a totally different ballpark to dustbins & other inaminate objects.

My feeling here is that you focus far too much on the horses ability to think (they really aren't capable of complicated thought processes) & that you are in denial regarding the size of your trailer. The poster who suggested that perhaps the tension your horse is exhibiting when asked to load is making him taller has a very good point as well, possibly not one you've considered before?

I suggest you need to work on the techniques shown to you by Kelly,& maybe borrow a bigger trailer just to practice loading into for a few days? Perhaps if you see it make a difference to him you'll be convinced, but make sure you don't subconsciously discourage him from loading in to it just to prove a point to yourself ! Forget the pigs, start thinking of the horse more as an animal than as a sentient being capable of analytical thought & you'll be well on the way to solving this problem. Good luck, & perhaps you'll let us know how you get on?

ester
26-02-13, 01:07 PM
things change..... I cannot understand your refusal to even contemplate that your horse might feel differently about your trailer/loading than he used to??? :confused:

You are also reading things that I can't see as I don't see any suggestion that you need MH assistance.

applecart14
26-02-13, 01:21 PM
Yes someone (the person who said why would you show your horse a pig when he is in a tin can) suggested it was me that needed therapy not my horse.

This forum has a number of people who find hurling insults at people who have a genuine problem as acceptable.

It is usually because they don't take the time or trouble to read the OP and that is where the confusion comes in.

For the last time everyone, I don't have a total refusal to consider any other trailer. But like I have said about six times now, the horse isn't consistent. If he loads in my friends trailer today, he may not tommorow, if he doesn't does that mean he doesn't like the trailer as its not roomy enough??? No. It means he is not consistent or confident enough yet to consider any trailer 'safe' as he believes (I presume) that there are pigs on board. He loaded in mine to go to the demo (that's the trailer that pins him to the floor by not allowing him any headroom by the way) in under a minute. Next week it will take half an hour. The week after it may take five mins. I could go out and buy another trailer, or a horsebox. And find that he won't load in that, even though he loaded in the same trailer, or similar the week before. For those that were there at the demo, he actually refused initially to go in the horsebox willinglly. He didn't march straight on for Kelly Marks either. But he did go on and I was grateful for Kelly for her help (which I did say in my original post).


I really have totally had enough of this post now. I came on here to relate my story of my experience of the Monty Roberts demo. This I did. I did not say I didn't enjoy the demo, I did not say I didn''t find it useful. I did not say I wouldn't go again, I did not say I didn't learn anything. I did say I wasn't criticising, just giving my opinion, I did say Kelly was a lovely woman, I did say I was grateful for the help I had received and I did say I was going to buy a dually. Less than 24 hours after the demo I was trying to buy one off someone, so give me a chance please!!

I am sick of justifying myself - I spend my life justifying myself to people who don't make an effort to get to know me or understand me or where I am coming from, I do not wish to do it on a forum.

Thank you for the people who have kindly sent me PM's wishing me luck, telling me to ignore some of the rude and ignorant people on this forum and wishing me well for the future. Thank you for those that have read my post completely and have answered me in a kind and sensible manner.

I will let you know how the loading process goes. He is obviously getting better, loading in under a minute makes it feel like its going better already. I will try him again on Sunday, when hopefully I will have a dually to practice with.

kind regards

Mithras
26-02-13, 01:29 PM
I was waiting between classes whilst out jumping at a show centre in Worcester. I walked around the car park and spotted some pigs in a paddock. I thought it would be a good education to show my horse the pigs. If I had known it was terrify him that much I wouldn't have. All the horses at the livery yard based on teh grounds of the show centre are paddocked next to the pigs. He wasn't too bad when I led him up to them, until one turned its head and snorted at him and that was it then, and he was terrified.

I am very much for showing your horses new experiences. I know of people who wouldn't dream of walking their horse up to something it is snorting at or shying at, but I like to show my horse the object of fear so they can see it close up and analyise it and then not be frightened of it any more. This is very effective when out hacking, say if my horse shies at a dustbin. I will walk him up to it, gradually getting him closer and closer. Eventually he will touch it with his nose and explore it (with his foot sometimes which is fine) and then he is fine with it. Obviously doing this down a country lane is fine when there are no cars around, you have to be sensible with things. Allowing your horse to continue to be scared of something when it doesn't have to be sounds crazy to me.

This is nothing new and what people generally do to allow their horse to build confidence in lots of new and interesting/scary things.

What jumps out at me OP, and I might be entirely wrong, is that you are passing your own fears onto your horse. You think your horse is going to be afraid of things, therefore you act as thats whats going to happen. So naturally your horse takes your lead and is spooky. Why on earth would you take your horse up to pigs at a competition venue when just about every person in the world who is horsy knows a lot of horses have a primevil fear of pigs?? You are trying to do too many things at once and then seem confused when your horse acts like a horse. Constantly stopping and letting your horse "explore" and "analyse" new objects just sounds like a way of making your horse shy at things. Even from your style of writing, you seem to have this constant detailed narritive of thoughts and fears circulating through your head, and seem to want to transmit them to your horse, whom you expect to behave like a human in analysing them. Generally its a better education for the horse if the rider ignores small things and concentrates on riding past them.

As for your trailer, if people are telling you its too small for your horse, if your horse's ears touch the roof, if your horse is difficult to load, wake up and smell the coffee!

blackandwhite
26-02-13, 01:38 PM
You'll get on much better when you accept that it's your anxiety that's causing issues (which is exactly why my husband does our loading and not me!) and that it's you that's connecting the trailer with pigs. Personally I dont get why you think your horse assumes your trailer is full of pigs if he just saw them at a show. There are countless far more likely reasons for him to be hesitant, most of which you seem to find far less likely.
I'm sorry you didn't get the experience from the demo you were expecting. A one to one session will no doubt be much better and you'll find it more helpful. It won't cure pigs though. You have to forget about the pigs. If you want to move on then stop blaming pigs, and everyone else, stop stropping at people who are trying to offer you good advice, stop being passive aggressive and just accept that you have the situation you have and you're going to need to persevere and take on board other people's suggestions if you want to move forward. You're letting the pigs ruin your time with your horse. That's not good for either of you.

Spring Feather
26-02-13, 01:45 PM
Applecart, your horse does not think there are pigs in the trailer. You are the one who believes your horse thinks there's pigs in the trailer. If you can move beyond your issues of the pigs then your horse will move on too. The pigs are only relevant in your head, not his. He won't load consistently because he does not have trust in his handler anymore. It really is as simple as that, and that is the reason Monty, Kelly were not interested in hearing about the pigs, because it is not relevant to moving forwards and getting your horse to have faith in you again in order to consistently load each and every time. Yes your trailer is technically too small for the horse BUT a horse that has confidence in it's handler WILL enter a space too small for it because it trusts the handler. You don't want to replace your trailer, so don't. But in order to use your trailer as you did previously with this horse it is up to you to gain that trust of your horse again. Please, please let go of the pig thing otherwise you are going to prolong this (minor) training issue. You've made the pigs into a mammoth taboo, drop them from your mind, it's nothing to do with them.

fburton
26-02-13, 01:46 PM
For the last time everyone, I don't have a total refusal to consider any other trailer. But like I have said about six times now, the horse isn't consistent. If he loads in my friends trailer today, he may not tommorow, if he doesn't does that mean he doesn't like the trailer as its not roomy enough??? No. It means he is not consistent or confident enough yet to consider any trailer 'safe' as he believes (I presume) that there are pigs on board. He loaded in mine to go to the demo (that's the trailer that pins him to the floor by not allowing him any headroom by the way) in under a minute. Next week it will take half an hour. The week after it may take five mins.
I hear what you're saying. But couldn't the inconsistency you see in his behaviour be due just as easily to worries about headroom as worries about pigs? Given that he has continued to be travelled in a trailer that may or may not be causing him concern, and that he has continued, on and off, to show reluctance to enter it, the persistent factor (the headroom) is arguably more likely to be relevant than the one-off encounter with the pigs. Yes, his loading problems started the day he saw the pigs, but it could be coincidence, no? He might have had a bad experience in the trailer that day too.

I won't try further to persuade you to consider alternatives because doing so is likely to be counterproductive.

However, I do wish you success in retraining Bailey and best of luck in the future.

TigerTail
26-02-13, 01:52 PM
You really are very nasty. The horse didn't have a problem for seven years, or have you conveniently skirted over that. He literally ran up the ramp every weekend for seven years. Does that strike you as a horse who feels constricted in a trailer???

The previous horses I owned, 17.1hh, 16.3hh, 17hh, and 17.1hh didn't have a problem with it either.

And you suggesting that I need mental health help isn't at all helpful or kind.


Ok - you replied to my original, helpful, post with 'grow up' because you didnt agree with what Id said, so please dont suddenly become woe is I im being picked on.

What you dont seem to be understanding is that he felt such fear in a confined space so is now worried about being there again, the previous 7 years mean nothing to him now. As I said you are stuck in the past - the fact he is inconsistent suggests you are inconsistent with your body language/timing/emotion.

I didnt say you needed mental help - I said it sounded as though you were wanting a therapy session, ie a professional to sit and listen to your side of it and how it makes you feel, well thats not a huge amount of help to the horse and wouldve clouded the professionals picture of the horse - which means its not as easy to work with them - hence why Monty and Kelly didn't ask you lots of questions about what had caused the problem.


ETA - just seen the 4 posts that have appeared whilst I was writing and re writing to tone my post down (!) for your sensibilities and it seems we are all saying the same thing.....

JillA
26-02-13, 01:53 PM
Can I just say I think everyone has been round and round (and over and under and inside and out of) the same things enough times. Time to call it quits and accept what the OP has said - she has read what you have all said. Enough already :D

zigzag
26-02-13, 02:12 PM
Well as the OP thinks it is pigs that cause all the problems, why not get a pig and desensitize him to pigs? Then once he likes pigs the owner will believe he likes the trailer again as he isn't scared of pigs,and he will have confidence in his owner over loading and will load all the time.

Or is that too simple :p

JillA
26-02-13, 02:14 PM
Start another thread if you have something to say about desensitising, or perceptions?

spookypony
26-02-13, 02:17 PM
Do you have a link to that discussion? Thanks!

Here you go:
http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=596406

zigzag
26-02-13, 02:17 PM
Start another thread if you have something to say about desensitising, or perceptions?

Errr why? Its my opinion on what the owner needs to do.

Spring Feather
26-02-13, 02:18 PM
Start another thread if you have something to say about desensitising, or perceptions?

Why? :confused:

fburton
26-02-13, 02:24 PM
Here you go:
http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=596406
Ah, closer than I thought - muchas gracias!

Mithras
26-02-13, 02:24 PM
I actually think it is the owner who needs de-sensitising.

JillA
26-02-13, 02:42 PM
Errr why? Its my opinion on what the owner needs to do.

Because you are all beginning to look like a bullying clique, and also because for anyone interested in that sort of subject the title of this one doesn't indicate that is what it is about.
You can advise, suggest, give people the benefit of your experience but you cannot force them to do it your way, and you people are constantly turning the knife and at the end of the day it is only your opinion. If she wants any help doing it your way she will ask - I have been on the receiving end of repeated "suggestions" as to something I should or shouldn't do, going over the same ground time and time again and in the end far from being inclined to take the advice you just feel like screaming "LEAVE ME ALONE!!!". It is counterproductive.

jhoward
26-02-13, 02:43 PM
I actually think it is the owner who needs de-sensitising.

to a cattle prod maybe :D:D:D:D:D

ester
26-02-13, 03:11 PM
see that's what I meant about people reading things differently plenty of people have therapy/help with things without having a mental health issue (I know lots!). I would just have taken it as advice that if your anxious about loading him it might not be helping and that there are ways around that.

zigzag
26-02-13, 03:23 PM
Because you are all beginning to look like a bullying clique, and also because for anyone interested in that sort of subject the title of this one doesn't indicate that is what it is about.
You can advise, suggest, give people the benefit of your experience but you cannot force them to do it your way, and you people are constantly turning the knife and at the end of the day it is only your opinion. If she wants any help doing it your way she will ask - I have been on the receiving end of repeated "suggestions" as to something I should or shouldn't do, going over the same ground time and time again and in the end far from being inclined to take the advice you just feel like screaming "LEAVE ME ALONE!!!". It is counterproductive.

Turning the knife? First time I have replied to this thread

TigerTail
26-02-13, 03:34 PM
to a cattle prod maybe :D:D:D:D:D



And im the one who gets accused of being nasty you two!!!! :eek: :D ;)

Kat
26-02-13, 03:35 PM
Crikey I didn't know we had forum police these days! I thought the forum was moderated by The Forum Admin Team since the demise of TFC but it seems I was wrong.....

ester
26-02-13, 03:40 PM
http://www.cosgan.de/images/smilie/figuren/k065.gif (http://www.cosgan.de/smilie.php)

Kat
26-02-13, 03:42 PM
http://www.cosgan.de/images/smilie/figuren/k065.gif (http://www.cosgan.de/smilie.php)

LOVE IT! :D

lastchancer
26-02-13, 05:02 PM
I think you need to forget about the pigs frankly.

I haven't read their books so I can't recommend them but I can say there is a comprehensive loading section in Richard Maxwell's train your young horse and I would recommend you read that. Using a pressure halter to load horses is not rocket science nor is it some big magical mystical thing you need hours to learn. It's the most simple thing and makes complete sense once you understand it however it has changed my life so dramatically with horses I can say if you learn it, you will load your horse into anything with no drama and no upsetting the horse.

It sounds like Kelly has actually shown you all the techniques you need to know and maybe you just expected it to be more dramatic than it was.

The key now is repetition. Get him in the trailer 50 times a day for a week then keep repeating it regularly to reinforce the positive experience. Do not use treats or "starvation" use the pressure halter and a good bond with your horse. Don't start a battle you can't finish, so make sure you always have plenty of time to follow through.


Good post.

If you really want to solve this issue then you need to take the bull by the horns and do it.

Feed the horse on the trailer, load him morning and night, off and on, off and on. keep on at it for a week and then when he's loading reliably you can take him for a short ride and then home. It needs to be as mundane as walking into a stable. I'm not sure what magic tricks you expected from the IH guys but it really comes down to the person who handles the horse every day to train it.

Re Pigs. Find a farm local that keeps pigs and walk him past them every day till he's used to them. Even better - borrow a pig and keep it in the next stable for a month.
I had a foal that was scared of cows - I waited until dark and then stuck him in a stable with a highland calf, by morning they were best mates. End of problem.

lastchancer
26-02-13, 05:03 PM
Is it really ever truly safe to tow a full size horse in a trailer behind a saloon car, even if it is legal? Not sure I would?

Well to be honest neither would I...

siennamum
26-02-13, 06:58 PM
What a bizarre and unpleasant thread. In summary then the HHO massive believe the OP should buy a bunch of pigs to desentitise horse and self, invest in a new 4x4 and a specially enlarged trailer, procure a dually and stick a cattle prod up her arse, and all her problems will be solved - charming.
I thought the original post was interesting.

Goldenstar
26-02-13, 07:02 PM
http://www.cosgan.de/images/smilie/figuren/k065.gif (http://www.cosgan.de/smilie.php)

I want one too.

lastchancer
26-02-13, 07:06 PM
What a bizarre and unpleasant thread. In summary then the HHO massive believe the OP should buy a bunch of pigs to desentitise horse and self, invest in a new 4x4 and a specially enlarged trailer, procure a dually and stick a cattle prod up her arse, and all her problems will be solved - charming.
I thought the original post was interesting.

Not really, OP seems to be making a huge issue out of a problem that could be dealt with fairly simply. If she's that worried about the horse having a melt down if it sees a pig,then why not get it used to them? Likewise she has flat out rejected the advice of the IH people, who it would seem have simply suggested that she use a suitable trailer and vehicle for the horse. It does kind of appear that perhaps the OP has bigger issues than the horse.

siennamum
26-02-13, 07:18 PM
My farmer bought a load of piglets a year ago and has had pigs alongside my mares paddock ever since. My mare detests them and is terrified of them, she will always be like this and it is not unusual. Some horse really hate pigs, others in the field are indifferent.
Lots of horses above 15hh could touch the roof of their transport with their ears if they really stood to attention.
So much hot air in this post so little common sense or consideration.

Spring Feather
26-02-13, 07:47 PM
My riding horses like pigs :) Pigs are great. But pigs have nothing to do with the OPs loading problem.

zigzag
26-02-13, 07:49 PM
My old pony used to steal bacon sarnies, but only with ketchup on, didn't like brown sauce.. I suppose he liked pigs

Spring Feather
26-02-13, 08:19 PM
My old pony used to steal bacon sarnies, but only with ketchup on, didn't like brown sauce.. I suppose he liked pigs

:D:D

Echo Bravo
26-02-13, 08:33 PM
I use to bred pigs and most of my horses took to them straight away but a couple didn't but just took them a little while longer to get use to them being about as the piglets would get in with the horses and not one of them ever got kicked, some horses are frightened by them the noise ect, cann't see how your trailer is suddenly too small for him.

applecart14
27-02-13, 08:25 AM
Well as the OP thinks it is pigs that cause all the problems, why not get a pig and desensitize him to pigs? Then once he likes pigs the owner will believe he likes the trailer again as he isn't scared of pigs,and he will have confidence in his owner over loading and will load all the time.

Or is that too simple :p

Because I am on a large livery yard of 45 other horses thats why. And everyone else would be aghast at that! I am going to see if I can find someone near me who has a pig that I can introduce him to in a safe environment.

applecart14
27-02-13, 08:26 AM
What a bizarre and unpleasant thread. In summary then the HHO massive believe the OP should buy a bunch of pigs to desentitise horse and self, invest in a new 4x4 and a specially enlarged trailer, procure a dually and stick a cattle prod up her arse, and all her problems will be solved - charming.
I thought the original post was interesting.

thank you ;)