Thank you for the update. So good to see the Clinics are making a difference!!
I just have to tell you how awesome you are.
I’ve had my pony Star for 6 years and, although we haven’t trailer-ed much, it has been a struggle every single time. Since the course, I’ve done some round penning and yielding with her. Star is very flighty and super responsive so I’ve always thought we had that part nailed. It wasn’t until your course that I learned acceptance vs tolerance. In practicing with her again, I realized Star can tolerate stuff but she doesn’t accept much at all.
This Sunday (today), there was a Cochrane Fun Riders gymkhana at the Ag Society. I thought it would be a good experience for Star, even if all we did was watch. Of course, because of life and work, the trailer practicing was last minute.
So … Saturday afternoon, Star and I start her pre-trailer warm-up by sending her past the trailer with both righty and lefty. She’s afraid to even look at the trailer, so she zoomed by the open door at her mach-one trot, time after time. I realized the send past wasn’t working so I just walked her up to the trailer to have a look. She sniffed tentatively. When she blinked and relaxed, I asked her to step forward.
The battle was on. She tried to deek out to the right. I bumped her back. She tried to run me over with her head and I pressure yielded her back over. I kept my body language quiet, tried not to have predator eyes, and eventually, she put one foot in. We did the one foot in, one foot out, two feet in two feet out for quite a while until I got all four feet in. Then it was four feet in,four feet out, four feet in, four feet out… Finally I got her to stand in the the trailer, head out, but blinking and chewing. I led her out, told her she was the best and turned her back out with her friends.
This morning I got up early, anticipating another battle. As we approached the trailer, I felt her body stiffen, and I knew she was thinking, “Oh God, not that thing again”. I lead her up to the trailer door. She did the tentative sniff again. I let her relax then focused, pointed and gave a little life with the sting – two feet in. I rubbed her, and repeated – four feet in. I let her relax then closed the trailer door.
We did every event at the gymkhana. She was great. We even won ribbons. Getting back into the trailer at the end, she walked up to the door and sniffed. I let her relax, focused, pointed and lifted the stick a tiny bit – hop – all four feet in. I rubber her and closed the trailer door.
The change in unbelievable. I’ve done several horsemanship clinics before, but at yours I finally understood. And I got results. Thank you!