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?
Another Downsizing Failure
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