A few days ago I was introduced to a new horse that would be moving to our barn. I was asked to trailer him over to our place and without hesitation I volunteered. When it was mentioned that this was my 'specialty' I then became skeptical and was wondering what I had gotten myself into. I have to admit when I hear 'trailer loading' a part of me gets excited thinking about the challenge that may lie ahead. Another part of me gets apprehensive that the day will come where I meet a horse that doesn't do anything I expect it to and I give up. Well, this day finally did come when I arrived to pick up the new horse. I ended up spending over an hour playing with this horse trying to find out where he was at mentally. He had a few good attempts to load but I finally gave up after realizing I was running late to my next appointment and someone else offered to pull him in their stock trailer. Leaving the barn I was trying to figure out where I had gone wrong and what I could have done to improve. Not much came to mind. I came home and reported how I had my first trailer loading failure.
The following day the new owner brought this horse into our arena to play. At that moment an amazing thing occurred, this horse joined up and followed me around the entire arena. I began to play with him and he yielded his entire body at liberty! I then realized that the previous day's event wasn't a failure but rather an undetected improvement. The time I spent with him at the trailer actually gained his respect and confidence and he was looking to me for leadership. It was a small but good accomplishment.
Today the horse was brought out to get fly sprayed. He seemed very leery and wasn't sure if the fly spray was going to kill him. I was very pleased when I was given the opportunity to help this horse overcome his fear of the spray. After playing with him for less than 5 minutes he accepted the spray on both sides. It might not appear to be a big accomplishment however it reassures me that given time and compassion, all horses can breakthrough.
If I had the opportunity to trailer load this horse again I probably would do the same thing just allow myself more time to do it.