training plan

Based on our “Koda trailer situation” one of the things our trainer suggested was putting Koda and the trailer together in a separate area. Leave the trailer opened up, take out the dividers, block off the walk-through and feed him in it for about two days. If he wants to eat, he has to go in the trailer.
This plan has crossed our minds more than once, it’s basically what our ranch friends out west do with their young horses. So why have we not already tried it? One reason, we don’t want our trailer damaged. It’s pretty new, and has padding inside etc. On the other hand, why hire a trainer, and then not do what they suggest? What means more, the trailer or the horse? What will cost more to fix, the trailer or the horse? Exactly. Trust me, I’m worried about the trailer getting ripped apart by Mr. Playful – but I’m more worried about the horse.
Before I got home from work my fabulous other half moved a lot of snow around the field, backed the trailer up to the round pen, secured it, put food in it & showed Koda where it was. Unfortunately he could have cared less, which is odd since he is pretty food motivated. Since then, I’ve been watching Koda from across the field and it appears as if he’s thinking “trailer, what trailer” or “if I wait long enough, someone will come feed me” consequently he ate nothing for breakfast yesterday – by choice. After work Brad did evening chores and noticed he had still not eaten anything, so he spent more time getting him interested in the trailer/food. Koda is now going into the trailer alone to eat.

Next step is to put the dividers back in, go back to leading him in/out, and figure out what triggers the back-out response and continue de-sensitizing him with "it" (using the opposite side of the trailer) until he stops backing out. This could potentially take a long time, sigh. If leaving Koda & the trailer together doesn’t work, we will try borrowing a stock trailer. We have to get Koda to the trainer’s somehow, without traumatizing him. The consist work they'll do will help him overcome his fears. We'll likely leave our trailer there, so they can continue working with him. Who knew this would be so damn hard?


JeniQ said...

My first true horse.. yanno the one you get to train yourself.. was a 18 month old 3/4 Arabian mare. My gramps got her from a man who had LOCKED her in a horse trailer (enclosed) nothing open for 4 days - no food - no water... The man said "You gotta break their spirit for them to be good for anything".. yah what the F*** ever.

Anyway... Long story short.. I know your trailer troubles intimately. We ended up putting our trailer in the barn yard - secured. Her feed in it and that's the ONLY place food was. At first we actually had to cover her eyes with a towel to get her to even step in.

It took about 8 to 12 months before she was completely comfortable being in a trailer, but even then we could not close the top half of the back doors.

aurora said...

Wow...hard to believe people would do that, and think anything good would come out of it. Glad Yanno got away from her abuser and into good hands.

So far leaving Koda with the trailer isn't working :( Doubtful the stock trailer will work (willingly) either. Not sure what we're going to do...other than not give up.

JeniQ said...

LOL Just realized I typo'd "ya know'. Owell.. Her name was Sassy. She became a great willing horse with typical Arab spunk after she learned to trust us. The only thing I could not get her over was out running every other horse in the arena during Western Pleasure classes. Judges remarks were always "If you had loped instead of galloped you would have blue ribbon instead of red" LOL