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SWR Blog: This Never Happens – Part 1

An open letter from Dr. Karl:

I bought a new (used ) horse trailer several weeks ago. Since purchasing the trailer I’ve spent considerable time loading and unloading my two horses–Jake and Pappy. They have always loaded easily in a stock trailer or a 3-horse slant, but this unit is an oversize straight load. There’s nothing unusual about the trailer. It’s a simple gooseneck 2-horse straight load.

Yesterday, when I took the trailer out in the early morning to work the horses out, they were nowhere to be seen. Normally, I just call them up and they come. Yesterday…no horses. Chased them around trying to get them into the smaller pen (and subsequently into the trailer) with no luck. Due to the heat and the limits of my physical ability (over an hour of chasing) I had to give up.

What did I teach them? Remember that horses learn on the release of pressure. I quit (rather than risk a heat stroke) but in the process, by releasing the pressure at the wrong time, I taught them a behavior that is opposite to that that I wanted

What should I have done? And how will I re-teach them a correct behavior? See my next blog in a couple of days.

Now go out and hang out with your horse!

Dr. Karl Cloninger
Director of Products & Programs


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