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SWR Blog: This Never Happens – Part 2

An open letter from Dr. Karl:

This is a follow-up to my situation when I was trying to get my horses up to the trailer to load, and they refused (Part 1). I went after them and then quit chasing them prior to achieving my goal. By doing so, I taught them that if they run away…I’ll go away.

It was a brain freeze on my part. Now I have to fix it!

A better plan would have been to re-teach them that I am desirable to be near, that I provide a place of rest, and that loading into the trailer will also give them rest and safety. There are many ways to achieve this. But next time, I will take some help driving them into a smaller pen or arena. Then, I will work them on a twelve foot lead in proximity to the trailer, moving their feet continuously until I see a “try” at entering the trailer with me at the hindquarters. When they enter the trailer (being driven, not led), then I will let them rest. This will constitute a release from the pressure they were running from. They will know soon enough that the trailer is not a place from which to run, but rather it  is desirable.

No one ever said that communicating with your horse is easy, but discovering how horses learn and communicate is worth the effort. The procedures described above are not “tricks”. To the contrary, they speak to their basic nature and both their learning and communication processing.

Now go spend some quality time with your horse!

Dr. Karl Cloninger
Director of Products & Programs


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