Tuesday, May 1, 2012

For the Love of Wiffle

    I am sure that most of my readers have heard about the wiffle bat woman video but if not, then look here. I will not go into detail about the sheer idiocy of this "horse woman" but talk about something interesting I found while browsing the interwebs.
  Excuse me? In what way is it better than a whip or crop? It can hurt the horse and yes, you could use it for desensitizing, but NEVER to hit! Easy to use. Oh please! I can see how people could be tempted to use this to "move and control the horse's head". Nice training methods guys! *Sarcasm*
    But really, I should comment on one thing that I noticed about the horse in the video. He has stopped moving   and has locked his legs. I call this shutting down. I have seen it multiple times when the horse has repeatedly been punished or whipped (mostly at the water on XC, in front of a jump, trailers, etc.). At a certain point the horse is to scared and just SHUTS DOWN. Once you get here, it is very hard to get back. The best thing to do is get the horse moving again.
   If anybody reading this ever has issues with loading here are some quick (BUT TEMPORARY) fixes:
1. Open ALL windows and escape doors especially in slant-loads with feed doors.
2. Make the opening to the trailer as wide as possible.
3. If possible, collapse the back tack room of a slant load
4. In a straight load push the divider over.
5. Walk confidently BESIDE the horse.
6. Let him sniff the ramp/step and slowly get in, let him back out if he needs too and reward with scratches while he is IN only, not out.
7. If the step up/ramp is too steep find better ground but make sure that no dangerous gaps are present.
8. Wear gloves.
9. Walk forward with horse up to the back of trailer and DO NOT HESITATE!
10. Don't forget to take things slowly and no mater what: do not get impatient.
11. If the whip MUST be used have it in your left hand and use it being you on the horse's rump.
12. If a SAFE escape route is available and easy for the person to exit but not the horse then do walk up with the horse.
13. ask him to load with encouraging clicking sounds
14. Of course a bucket rattling with feed helps too!
15. sometimes a friend of the difficult horse can set good examples by loading in front of the difficult one

But remember: these are only temporary EMERGENCY fixes every horse should have a day or two set aside to teach loading and unloading in the trailer.

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