Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wordy Wednesday

I have to butt in here guys, I got a question I absolutely have to answer....
lopinon4 said...
Mugs, I know of a mare who is REALLY having a trailer-loading issue. I tried your method last night (and it would've possibly played out better if I had experienced help with me), and although we almost got her inside, she just wouldn't commit to the final few steps...lopinon4 goes on to say they tried drugs, then muscle and now have an injured, freaked out mare.

First off, don't feel bad about the drugs or the muscle. I'm simply suggesting you don't go there again. Your situation explains why.

One of the biggest problems we have is forgetting to be patient. Especially if you have an unhelpful audience telling you they know best.

I'm going to walk you through getting her loaded. You need to dedicate all the time in the world to letting her decide to get in there. You have to insist there is nobody around except you and your help. Be an absolute bitch about this if necessary.

This mare has just had it proven to her the trailer is the worst place in the world to be. When she thinks about getting in the trailer she is pushed, dragged, whipped, drugged, then beaten. I'm sure she has no intention of letting this happen again.

So our job is to be kind, patient and firm and let her know this is no big thing.

Step one: Promise not to feed, coax, talk baby talk, nothing, until after the mare is loaded. Then feed, coax, talk baby talk and have a beer with your assistant, not the mare. You need to be calm, quiet and clear with your body language and goals.

Step two: Talk through your plan with your assistant. I like to man the whip, but it takes finesse to work the lead rope, so it's your call.

Step three: Understand your tools. I like to use a 40 foot soft rope as my lead rope. My horse can pull back all the way to China and she'll still quit before she runs out of rope. Whoever mans the rope needs to be wearing gloves. The lead rope is only to keep the horse looking at the trailer. Don't try to pull them in. If the horse pulls back you send her forward with the whip. The goal is to keep the rope relaxed. The whip is the driving force here. Keep Mr. Muscle away from it. You only want to whip hard enough to move her.

Step four: Understand your positions. Whoever runs the whip needs to stand to the side parallel to the point of the horses hip. This is why I like to use a longe whip. It keeps me well out of kick range. Remember to get the hind feet moving, so go after the fetlocks. You can sweep along and be really annoying without actually stinging the horse. But I will sting if I'm not getting forward motion. Whoever has the rope will be in front of the horse looking into the trailer. If you have to step into the trailer stay well in front of the horse and don't look at her. Have your escape door opened. If you have a two-horse straight load, run the rope through the front window and around the side. Be prepared to hold, not pull. If the horse sucks back simply hold on enough to create some tension, let the rope run through your gloved hands. The person with the whip will get the horse forward again.

The rest of it: Plan on taking from three to several days to fix this. This is vital.

Have your hitched trailer parked in a safe, clear area. Tell Mr. Muscle to clear out.

Start at least 20 feet away from the trailer.Lead the mare toward the trailer with a loose lead rope (I prefer about 6 feet). Walk with a firm and confident step and look toward the trailer, not at the mare. Your assistant will follow with the whip, flag, bag of kittens, whatever.

When she balks hard enough to stop you, have your assistant whack at her hind fetlocks, just enough to create a forward step, then quit whacking. You will continue to head to the trailer, not watching your mare, until she quits again, then have your assistant move her again.

You might get a rearing, arguing mess here, but stick to your guns. The whip doesn't stop until she moves her hind feet. This is only about moving her feet forward.

When it comes to the whip and how hard to use it, I go by the horse. I will pop them hard enough to make them move, but always start soft. Before long the horse will move of the soft pop. But I will make them move.

Anytime she hangs on the lead, have your assistant start with the whip.

Choose a place to stop her, well before the trailer.

Tell her Whoa, then back her two or three steps. Then let her rest.

She can't look away from the trailer though. If she does, start again.

Keep this up until you're at the trailer.

Ask her to look inside.

Whip her forward if necessary, but all she has to do is look.

Once she looks inside back her away from the trailer about 10 steps.

Then take her forward, get her to look inside and back her again. Make sure to back her away before she thinks of it.

If I'm loading into a walk-in trailer, I'll walk in first and head to the end of the trailer. I don't look at her. If it's a two-horse I run the lead rope (which for this situation is my 40 foot soft cotton rope) through the window and have my assistant work it. I take over the whip.

If she balks hold her steady and have your assistant whack her fetlocks until she just thinks of getting in.
It can be a shift of her feet, a foot inside the trailer, just stopping flailing around, you don't need much. Relax, let her rest a second and back her away from the trailer again.

NOTE: If the mare goes flying backwards go with her and start whipping with some energy. Don't pull on the rope, just go with her and have your assistant whacking the tar out of her fetlocks (or as close as you can get) until she stops. Then immediately quit whacking on her, everybody take a breath and start over. It is not a problem if she does this. She has just cause. Just make sure she begins to understand flying back is a really bad idea. Really bad. So is wrapping around to one side of the trailer or the other. That gets the same treatment.

Keep this routine up until I get one foot in. Then back her up. Quit letting her rest at this point.
Back, go forward, get a foot in, hesitate, and back out. Start again. The only rest she will get is when she's standing there with a foot in the trailer. Then it's a small one.

Keep this up until she is willingly walking up and putting that one foot in. She can back out anytime she wants, but she'll get whipped again if she does anything more than step down. Then she immediately gets put back in.

Now up the ante and ask for two feet in. Be extremely patient here. Don't ask for anything else until she's been backed out several times. Try to back her before she decides to back out herself. But again, she doesn't get in trouble for backing out. She simply gets driven back in. The whip is only for forward (and stopping wild sucking back). At no time should you try to pull her in by the lead rope.

When she willingly walks up and puts her two feet in it's time to get her in the rest of the way.

Ask her to step in, usually with a cluck and then get your assistant to start with the whip. The whip stroke should be as soft as possible, but once you increase pressure commit and keep it up until she loads. She has to get in the trailer, but she doesn't have to stay there. She can step right back out. Let her out, let her take a breath, then start again. Remember, the lead rope only keeps her looking at the trailer. You don't pull on it to try to get her in.

Go again. Make her get all the way in, but let her back out.

Go again. Rinse, repeat.

Eventually she will offer to stay in the trailer. Back her out. Really.

I only back them out once when they offer to stay. I am making a point by controlling their movement, but I don't want my horse to get confused. After all, it is about getting in the dang thing.

Put her in again. Tie her, shut the doors, go around the block (10 minutes at most!) then let her out and be done.

Do this again the next day.

On the third day, take her to a coffee shop (or bar, depending on how hard this has been) have your coffee and take her home.

For the next several months make sure you have gloves, whip and rope with you when you go somewhere.

I hope this helps. I know it works. Be patient. Let her back out, but make sure she gets driven forward again. Only use the whip until her feet get moving. Only use the rope as a guide. Be prepared for a wild west show, but if you hang in there you will win.
No drugs. No Mr.Muscle. Only Horsaii and common sense allowed.

I loved this story. It's a classic "survival of the fittest" tale. It also got me thinking about the cowboys in my past who taught me a bunch, even if they had unorthodox approaches...I found this story in my files BTW. If you sent me one a while ago and haven't seen it, send me a whomp up the side of the head, would you? I'm trying to post them in order, but, well it's me, what can I say. Order is not a word that has a lot of hang time in my vocabulary.

( this is from there:

When I was around 11 or 12, a fellow-horse crazy friend named Cherrie told me about this old guy who had horses and ponies, and who would let you ride them if you cleaned the horse and it's stall.

It happened that he was renting the barn that belonged to another friend, Karen's, grandmother.This was tantamount to heaven on earth for a horse-poor daughter of clinging-to-lower-middle class parents.

And so I came to meet Buzz.Buzz had prepubescent and pubescent girls fluttering around him like bees around apple blossoms. Before you jump to any conclusions: he wasn't a pedophile - unless pedophiles endear themselves to children by saying things like "Hey, chicken legs - where the hell do you think you're going with that horse, did you brush his tail?" or "Get back on that goddamned horse, you goddamned farmer!"

He loved his horses; young girls on the other hand - with their high-pitched voices and daily dramas - he sometimes barely tolerated. I think of him as a New England cowboy - and a real oldstyle horseman. He didn't ride any more by the time I met him, but was keeping around all his old horses because he owed it to them, I think.

Occasionally too, he would add to the herd after trips to the Shrewsbury auction on tack or supply runs. He didn't have a trailer, he'd just toss the horse into the bed of his pickup and bring it home.

Days he worked as a meat packer at the Finast Supermarkets, unloading sides of frozen beef from trucks. He'd start work at 5AM, and then he'd come to the barn around 3-3:30 in the afternoon to open up - the door was padlocked shut.

He liked his beer, and after a six-pack or two he sometimes would tell us stories of his riding days. One that I still remember was about his beloved Harry the Horse, a big paint he'd ride to the Oaks, a bar in Billerica. He said he and Harry would both get shitfaced drunk - apparently they served horses there.

Then he would laugh, and say that one time, when riding home along the Shawsheen River after an evening at the Oaks, he and Harry tipped over and fell in. He'd laugh, take a sip of his Schlitz, and say "Harry was a hell of a horse..."

In hindsight, I have to say that he had a pretty sick sense of humor: "Harry the Horse"? "Little Richard" (a stud hackney pony he usually referred to as "Little Dick")? But it all went way over my head back then - I was pretty naive.

Every afternoon when Buzz arrived, speeding up the dirt drive in his Chevy pickup, we'd be waiting. The horses would be too: we could hear them nickering their greetings from inside. He'd unpadlock the bolt and slide the two doors wide, letting in the fresh air and sunlight. Then they'd be set free: he'd go to each stall, open the stall door, take them by their halters to the opened door and let them go, standing back to watch each one of them gallop out into the unfenced field, tails up, manes streaming, nostrils flaring.

There was about 15 acres of land, and those horses and ponies never wandered off it. The newly-added horses would stay with the herd, and he never had to chase down a horse who'd gone walkabout.

It never occurred to me at the time that any of this was odd - the fenceless turnout, the horses locked up tight until 3 or 3:30 in the afternoon - I was a kid, it was what it was. The horses didn't seem to care, either - or not that I remember.

Maybe I'm just romanticizing it: knowing what I know about horses now, I can't imagine there NOT being a lot of neighing and kicking and carrying on to be let out FIRST. Instead what I remember is feeling an incredible thrill standing next to Buzz to watch them running, kicking, bucking, and cavorting with each other.

We were blessed to witness it, and we knew it: young and old, they drank in the glorious smells of grass and trees and flowers; they channelled their inner wild horse - and we got to watch.It was and continues to be a sight that takes my breath away.

As for letting us ride: Buzz had a rule. Well actually, he had a lot of rules and some of them we actually followed - at least when we were within his eyesight. I'm pretty sure he knew about our transgressions too, but he never let on. We really were brats.But this one rule was one we couldn't bend: no saddles - he didn't want us falling and getting our feet caught in the stirrup and dragged.The "falling" part was a given; the dragged part was what he was interested in avoiding. So we all rode bareback.

That wasn't to say he just said "Here, clean this horse - clean his stall - you're good to go, have fun!" Nope. You had to *earn* the right to ride one of his animals. Buzz had a system to cull out the dilletantes in his gaggle of horse-crazy sycophants: It was named Zero.

Zero was a paint pony of about 13hh, with the attitude of Godzilla with a hangover. Zero hated little girls. While grooming him, he'd try to bite you, kick you, and stomp on your feet. Once you'd finished, and after Buzz had inspected him for cleanliness and an untangled tail, the real fun began.

This was the routine:Lead Zero out to the driveway, keeping his teeth an arms distance away from your body. Gather up the reins, grab a hunk of mane, and face his back.Block his attempt to bite your butt. Watch his hind leg for a muscle twitch heralding an attempt to kick you in the leg.Chase Zero around as he does spins on the forehand, all the while trying to cow-kick your knee.After about 10 rotations, launch yourself at his back.

If you're lucky you get on and don't flip over his back to the other side, because he stops spinning the moment you're airborn, and he'll stomp you if you're on the ground.Wrap your legs as tightly around his fat belly as you can and hold on to that hunk of mane, because the next thing that happens is you're on a pony who's galloping across the field bee-lining for some trees to knock you off on, meanwhile tossing in a few bucks and crow-hops just to let you know he can.

Zero was the great equalizer.I'm proud to say I survived him - many fell by the wayside - literally and figuratively - and were so disheartened they were never seen at the barn again. Those of us who managed to survive Zero and kept coming back - and that's not to say we didn't fall by the wayside literally ourselves, we just were too stubborn to give in - were offered another mount after a couple of weeks.


autumnblaze said...

HA! This story is a hoot. Buzz had quite the little set up there. :) I'd have loved to have a neighbor like that...

Anonymous said...

Half-halts are really simple.

That's why they are so hard to describe.

Anytime you ask your horse for a "wait a minute" or a "move forward", any sort of difference in movement, you are using what dressidge peeple call half-halts.
The difference is neglible, between what mugs describes as a "bump", and dressage people call a "half-halt".
The next big difference comes with what happens after the half-halt. Mugs then assumes there is self-carriage, again, and goes back to the lightest of contact..
Dressage people, the great ones, also do the same thing, but they maintain a much more obvious contact.
It's not that confusing, unless you think about it a lot.
just my unauthorized opinion.

mugwump said...

Good opinion unauthorized or not. I'm still going to post on this, so come back OK?

autumnblaze said...

Hmmm... see that confuses me further, Anon. So, some call it a rebalancing but you're saying it's an asking for a difference in movement. That sounds contradictory to me. Maybe I'm over thinking it which is entirely possible...

Juli said...

Hmmm...I've always used the half halt as a "I'm about to ask for something". Oddly enough, I THINK i use it more for upward transitions than anything else. Kind of a "pay attention" cue. Hmmm....Sometimes I wonder what exactly it is I do to get the response I desire.

I'd go ride and see if I can figure out what exactly I half halt for, but I'd have to put on swim fins and a snorkle to do it. It's been raining steadily here for 40 hours and my horses are growing flippers.

HorseOfCourse said...

Thanks for the story, slavetomyhorses - that was a good one!
I'll wait until you post on halfhalts Mugs, if you want some input from the dressage hooligan in Norway, but I agree with autumnblaze that it is a rebalancing aid, or a moment of collection.

And autumnblaze - I am really happy for you! That horse was meant to be yours. How marvellous that things seem to be turning out your way!

autumnblaze said...

Juli - That's how most people describe it to me. Sort of what you do prior to asking for something. So, I understood Sally Swift saying, really it's a rebalancing but ... what do you DO? What movement are you making. The some people say it's a wait a minute/move forward... but that's the actual asking. Hmph.

HoC - Thanks! :) I'm pretty stoked too. Though, decidign on a boarding barn is sort of daunting.

Penny3 said...

The trailer loading question made me think of a problem I have with my mare. She loads in a trailer just fine, but absolutly refuses to back out. I have a slant load so she can turn around and jump out, but that is not an ideal situation. I live in the midwest and in the winter I would much rather she back out onto bad footing than jump out. I always have to think about what trailer she is going in and if she will be able to turn around. I have tried everything I can think of to make her back out but she refuses. I have done lots of ground work and she will back up for miles on the ground if I tap her chest, but in the trailer is a whole different story. Any ideas? Thanks!

Ponyice said...

I am just dying laughing at the bag of kittens, gotta get me some of those (joke):)

quietann said...

Mugs -- What do you think of self-loading into the trailer? If you remember, my mare was treated similarly to lopinon4's, though by a (big burly) woman, getting her into a really dark, cave-like trailer. (What can I say? I am a newish horse owner and I've made a lot of mistakes.)

Mare was trained to self-load and self-unload by her breeders. She did it well, for them. I personally would love it if she'd self-load for me, because I don't like being in the trailer with her, and she doesn't like anybody being in the trailer with her.

I have a new 2-horse straight load trailer now; it's light and airy and inviting... but my mare is being a goof about it. I got her in once, very briefly, and my trainer led her in and kept her in. This was with the center partition pushed aside and we did not even try to close her in.

We did get her to a show, in a different light airy trailer, a few weeks ago; the person who picked us up is very experienced with self-loading and had no trouble with my mare. I would say that the mare is still anxious about being shut in a trailer, but another horse and a lot of hay were a good enough distraction.

Shanster said...

AWESOME story!!! Thanks for sharing!

Callie said...

Interesting post , I was adviced to park trailer in the paddock and throw the hay in there. Thankfully I don't have this issue with my girls.

mugwump said...

Callie - That's how I learned when I was a kid. Unfortunately it doesn't work for many.

FD said...

Like Juli and HorseofCourse, I use half halts to rebalance, to get attention, and to prep for any change of pace / direction / movement.
I've heard Henk Van Bergen describe it as a 'cometogether' and that does kind of encapsulate it too.

I personally think the hay thing only really works if they aren't already traumatised - I know someone who swore by it, and ended up with a horse that would go into the trailer to eat his feed when it was unhitched and parked in the paddock, but you still couldn't LOAD him for love nor money.

Tammy Vasa said...

Good luck, Lopin, with the trailer loading. I had a gelding that wouldn't load in my 2 horse. Was fine in my 4 horse slant. One day I decided "this was the day". I read the books, asked advice of friends & went at it. Wasn't long before frustration set in. He was rearing, throwing himself on the ground... wasn't pretty. I finally enlisted the help of a trainer. Very similar to what Mugs described. It took 32 minutes and he loaded. The key to me was not to let him walk thru me. Stay firm. Its been 2 yrs and he still loads in it for me. He doesn't run & hop in like my good mare and I know never to rush him. Always be patient & firm. But what I learned that day hasn't failed me since. Good luck!

KD said...

Very similar to the way that I taught my colt to load using John Lyons methods. It wasn't quick or "purdy", but he loads quietly, one foot at a time in almost any trailer - and continues to do so with his new owner.

Vaquerogirl said...

Great description of trailer loading. I do it the same way, and it seems to take forever-especially with a nervous owner nearby. But you are right- it WORKS! I figured it out the hard way- trial and lots of errors over the years- but I can't abide a horse that won't willingly load up!
And great story about Buzz. We had a couple like him here in California too!

Deered said...

We had one that was fixed with a combo of the feed/water in the trailer and the "Mugs" approach - horse scared the crap out of herself when learning to load due to miscommunication between the people loading. Shw ould stand shake and you could see the sweat breaking out as she stood and shook, and mentally shut down.
Shw would then be worked and cooled out, but her feed and water was put on the ramp - so she had to approach closer than her comfort zone - then it went into the float. She could be heard stomping her feet as she didn't want to go in but knew where the good stuff was. Once she was over the absolute terror of the float, she was then loaded like the rest were taught. Yeah - it did take a while to get her to the point that we think is standard - lead over neck and let them go at the base of the ramp.
Others that have just are just naught got the same treatment that Mugs is suggesting. I think a lot of horses are just having the owners on and getting away with it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks alot for your reply about seat cues, it has helped alot!

The way a friend showed me to teach horses to load is quite similar to yours: keep them facing forward, iratate them when they are thinking backwards and let them relax when they are thinking forward.
By staying calm and consistent, my mare is now floating like a dream.

Smurfette said...

Just thought I would share. I shared the "double him back into the rail" technique of Mugs from "how to quiet a hot horse" with someone on the western pleasure delphi forum board yesterday in response to her horse that walks too fast. She hasn't replied, but I know that I love sharing ideas across disciplines.

lopinon4 said...

Thank you for your support and guidance, Mugs. Going forward, I will make sure that I have my trustworthy assistant with me, and will use this method for hard-to-load horses that I encounter. As I said, I was seeing success, but didn't have good helpers for the timing and lack of fear, ie: instead of guarding their personal space, they would back off from her, allowing her to swing to one side of the trailer or the other. I don't think I'll get another shot at this, as it was a sale situation, and the buyers are in a hurry to get her home. They have hired professional haulers to come and get her now. I feel terrible that I let her down by allowing certain others to get involved, ultimately leading to her injury and heightened fear. Being that it's not my horse, I left this to the owner's discretion. I should've done more.
This is a good reminder to check with all of my clients regarding trailer-loading early on, and address it immediately, before it's so much worse, as is the case with this little mare. I have to say, it would be nice to know what it is that created the issue in the first place, but I suppose it's water under the bridge at this point.

Has anyone had a horse who has fits in the trailer? My gelding will unpredictably blow up in there sometimes, if the trailer is not moving. He has managed to break the divider before, and scratch himself up a little bit. I want to rid him of this behavior, but I don't want him to hurt himself or damage my friend's trailer. Ideas?

Anonymous said...

What a blast! I had a neighbor that was a tamer sort than the one in the story...we could earn rides. Do Finast stores still exist? There was one of those nearby when I was a kid....grew up thinking that Finest was spelled Finast. Ha !!!!

Scamp said...

Cool, you chose my story!! I've loved reading yours (which are so much better written) so, thanks!

Redsmom said...

Loved the story - especially the parts about Zero. he sounds like the kind of pony I always ended up with. LOL.

SkyBar Farm said...

I love the story. Buzz sounds like a neighbor I had as a kid. Totally invaluable.
The trailer loading advice is spot on Mugs. I once had a boarder who had a horse, who would load up, but for the life of us we could not get him to stay on without slamming the door behind him the moment the last foot got on. It was so bad that one time we went to unload him and he panicked as we opened the door and he had so much pressure on the trailer tie that when it snapped he toppled out backwards and smacked his head on the gravel. I thought for sure he had killed himself, but nope he was fine. That was when I put my foot down and said we needed help. Chris Cox was coming to the area so we decided to ask the question. The only piece of advice he offered was "if he wants out of the trailer, let him out." At the time I was flabbergasted that we had spent money for that little tidbit, but I said what the heck lets try it. For the next 3 months we loaded him on the trailer and if he wanted to run back out, we let him. month four a light bulb went off and he decided to stay on the trailer. Whoda Thunk! Thankfully, I personally have not had trailer loading issues with any of my own horses, but i have helped plenty who do. The absolute most important thing to realize is it will take as long as it takes.

slippin said...

Sky Bar;
I once had a paint gelding his name was "Sky Bar Bravo" I saw your name and instantly thought of that horse! I don't remember his breeding other than his dad was Domino. He was the one that would run off on me with his head to his chest from me pulling and at a dead run all the way to the barn....until we sent him to a cow horse trainer down the road. He didn't do that to me again! I even showed him in some western pleasure classes at a local show and we got top 3 most of the time! I was only 13 at the time. But then he ended up with Navicular and with him living on a hillside in california, we had to sell him to someone that had mostly flat ground so it wouldn't aggrevate his condition. Last I heard he was a nice english lesson horse and they never had problems with him.
My sister had a leapord appy that would scramble something terrible in the trailer, so one time we had to haul him BACKWARDS in a 2 horse was amazing the reactions we got from other drivers!! Granted we were only going about 15 miles and going slow...but the looks on peoples faces was hilarious! this was also about 25 years ago...LOL

Unknown said...

skybar said "The absolute most important thing to realize is it will take as long as it takes." Amen to that! Trailer training and retraining should NEVER be started when you have to be somewhere at sometime. But...if you have no choice, you have to PRETEND that you have all the time in the world.

I have to load alone 95% of the time and have taught my horses to walk on in front of me using the John Lyons "tap forward" method. Boring as anything, but it has always worked eventually. There WAS the time I stood in my friend's driveway tapping away for 45 minutes while she entertained lunch guests. Embarrassing...but the horse got on the trailer and no one got upset.

When you have a good helper you can increase the pressure more, so things go more quickly. In a pinch time-wise, I've been known to tie another horse to the outside of the trailer by the man-door. (Most of my issues are getting on the trailer alone and leaving buddies.)

lopinon4: my older tb pitches fits in the trailer when it's standing still sometimes, kicking mostly--he's never hurt himself or the trailer, tho. Sorry to say I've never solved it. I just don't leave him on the trailer for very long. Hmmm....who trained whom on that one??

lopinon4 said...

StillLearning, I think our horses trained US on that one! I hate feeling like I have to unload him before we've barely rolled to a stop, but I do feel that way, and the anxiety is just nerve rattling! Hauling is hard on my nerves, anyway, and it really doubles the problem when I have Mr. Impatience on board. The worst is when it's a stoplight and you can see people staring at your trailer that is rocking around like it contains the world's largest Mexican jumping bean. Ugh.

Londoner said...

autumnblaze - I thought I knew what it was too but, like the 'Anonymous' says, it's simple but difficult to describe. I think of it as the moment before a transition or execution of a movement. Say you were doing a medium trot, you wouldn't half-halt and then return to the same medium trot. It is a re-balance of sorts, as you say, the transferral of weight onto the hindquarters, allowing for lightness in the forehand and then (hopefully) greater ease in executing a movement or a transition up or down.

I like the story - I can't believe I'm getting nostalgic about something that didn't happen to me. Mark of a good storyteller!

Shanster said...

Hey Mugs - may I ask a question? What do you think about chiropractic work on horses? I know it's one of those disputed ideas.

The cowboy trainer I took my young gelding to thought he needed an adjustment. Since I trusted this guy enough to take my horse there, I figure I'll follow his program and see where it goes. (I go by every day to see my horse and he has no problem with me coming to watch sessions or him riding my horse and I'm comfortable with what I'm seeing)

Anyway - he had some chiro adjustment and thinks that made a huge difference in my gelding's attitude. It makes sense... I know how I feel when my back is out but I also wonder how much is the cowboy... I think probably you guys (trainers) have so much more experience that his body language is also giving the gelding something to respect?

Anyway curious what your thoughts were on that... Thanks!

chamoiswillow said...

lopinon4 - your geldings unpredictable fits - I have heard of several similar cases, and in both there was a short in the trailer's electric brake wiring. When the brakes were applied and the damaged wire touched the frame, the horses got shocked even through the rubber mats, and flipped out. Can't hurt to do a thorough inspection!

lopinon4 said...

I had never thought of that, Chamois! I was happy for a minute, thinking maybe it was a viable option. However, he does this in the trailer even with the truck not running. For instance, if we park and don't unload him immediately, he has a huge tantrum. He's not as bad if he's hauling with another horse, but he still gets impatient and bangs around some. The time he had a huge fit and hurt himself, the truck was off, and we were parked. Still may suggest a thorough check of the trailer, though...

FD said...

lopinon4 - one horse in particular comes to mind, but we never cured her either. She travelled great, and was sweet as pie to load, but if the lorry was still for longer than 5/10 minutes she would fuss and work herself into a right lather. We found it helped a little to have the windows by her head wide open - even so if we hit heavy traffic I'd have to go back and stand with her to prevent her working herself into a tizzy.

lopinon4 said...

With all the trailering drama, I would really love to relax with a Sonita story. (hint, hint) :)

RHF said...


I'm no mugs, but I'm a firm beleiver in chiropractic work for horses. I teach lessons, and all the on and off and unbalanced riders does a number on my poor gelding's back. He gets an adjustment minimum one time per month, and if he starts looking stiff or uncomfortable he gets extra.

I also was having bucking problems with my mare at the canter, one adjustment and the problem disappeared!

Becky said...


The natives are growing restless for their long-promised Sonita story.

And by natives, I mean me.

And by restless, I mean anxiously logging onto your page several times a day since Monday. I think I'm personally responsible for driving your stats through the roof. :)

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