All natural horse care in the west of Ireland

If a Horse Leads, It Will Load
Sunday, 30 November 2008

Today proved to me the whole belief behind: If a horse leads, it will load


I, and my young friend Annalice, have been working with Dennis, a colt, born to Chrissy, on 22nd May 2008. Chrissy and Dennis belong to a neighbour farmer of mine.

The only work we have done with Dennis to date is leading on a head collar using the NH method of reward by release when he gives to pressure.

Dennis has not been in a trailer since his mum was taken to stud when he was just 10 days old.

At that time he was persuaded into the trailer without a head collar and was not at all happy about being there. The top doors of the trailer had to be closed as he was kicking up such a fuss.

Since then Annalice and I have handled him occassionaly. Getting him used to having a head collar put on and walking with us. This was while we visited him in his field with his mum.

I had him in my yard one day for the vet to be marked and micro chipped. This was an ideal opportunity to work with him on leading. I have since moved him a couple of time between fields on a head collar.

This morning was very frosty and the roads very slippy. We had orginally planned to walk him about 150 yards down the road to where the trailer would be parked up off the road just in case it took some time to load Dennis and his mum, Chrissy.

We didn't want to block the road to any passing traffic and be under pressure to load them quickly.

When we got down to the field this morning we decided it would be safer if we didn't walk down the slippy roads. The trailer was brought to about 30 feet from the entrance to the gate.

My husband loaded Chrissy without any problems. I followed on with Dennis and he walked straight onto the trailer ramp behind me. He hesitated for only a few seconds and then followed me into the trailer.

We tied both up and the trailer door was closed behind us. All was very calm.

We drove about a mile away to where they were to be stabled.

Chrissy was off-loaded first. I encouraged Dennis to walk backwards out of the trailer. Although, hesistant to be walking backwards he walked out with only a little encouragement.

Chrissy and Dennis were then put into their stables right next door to each other where they will remain until Dennis is weaned. There is no solid wall between them only bars so they can see each other constantly.

Today, Dennis led calmly on a halter, he loaded into a trailer, he tied up in the trailer, he reversed out of the trailer and walked calmly into a strange stable that he has never seen before.

Whilst the whole process was relatively un-eventful it was proof that if your horse can lead it will load. The only work this youngster has ever had done with him was leading on a halter!!

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