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 TESTIMONIALS > Loading A Difficult Horse Made Easy
Testimonial By: Ria        Publish Date: 2006-01-01

LOADING: A Letter from Ria – about trying to load her horse into a horsebox and the solution

Hi Eugenie
Thanks for an, as usual, wonderful newsletter. I really look forward to them.
I am looking for some advice and maybe you could help or point me in the direction of someone who can.
I have an 11-year-old Chestnut, Thoroughbred mare who is incredibly hard to load into a horse box. I will be moving her in a couple of days and am dreading the process! The last time we loaded her (it was the first time I had to do this with her) it took us 3 DAYS!! In this process I had a vet come through to tranquilize her – this made her even more skittish, I had some one work with a halter with pressure knots which she hated and we tried all the other ways – putting poles in a “scissor” formation behind her, people moving one leg at a time up the ramp, clapping behind her – I am sure we tried all the methods I know of…..

After 3 days of this (we were re-locating from the Drakensberg to George), everyone was fed up and getting really anxious about leaving. I eventually gave in, took her behind a shed and gave her three smart slaps on her quarters – she then towed me into the horsebox! I must add that she was never viscous or nasty while trying to load – it was almost as if she knew she was bigger and stronger than us and she gently forced things into her own way. Never once did she kick, bite or show any aggression.

 One thing I did notice, however (after reading the “Flight or fight” article) is that her head always remained high. She is rather tall – about 16.1 hands and she bumped her head on the top of the box on numerous occasions. I heard from her previous owner (a friend of mine) that she was terrified of boxing and on her trip home with my friend she had dripped with sweat and stood shaking in the horse box continuously. We did just over 24 hours on the road with her and she was mildly uptight for around the first 5 or 6 hours – refusing to eat but standing very calmly. There was not a swollen leg in sight when we arrived here and although she came out of the fairly fast, she put her head down straight away and stated munching grass. Oh ya – I was using homeopathic drops formulated for travelling horses while we were on the road.
Long story – can you help??? I do not want her to become afraid of the horsebox because I am moving her nearer to the beach and would love to truck her down to the sea on a regular basis. By the way, my other thoroughbred boxes like a gem and we never go anywhere without the two of them together. The bay mare boxes first and waits patiently for us to finish.
Please tell me where I am going wrong here – this is traumatic for everyone involved.
Many thanks

Eugenie’s Note: RIA SENT THIS LETTER AFTER RECEIVING MY MARCH NEWSLETTER WITH THE FIRST PART OF THE HORSE ARTICLE IN TTOUCH TIPS. I then sent her the second part of the article, which is in this Newsletter about “Lowering the Head” and Lindy and Edie Jane both sent advice. Here is the result!

Hi Edie Jane and Lindy

Thanks to both of you for the help with loading my chestnut. We did the exercise teaching her to drop her head and wow, does it work!! 2nd time up the ramp and she was in! It really shocked me!!! My husband, prepared for hours of waiting, had placed a chair on the front veranda where I was trying to load, got a glass of cold water and took out his book. I have never seen him move so fast when I shouted to him to close the tail chain of the horse
box : )

The girls are now both happily settled in their new paddock, grazing abounds and they seem content enough.

Many thanks again to both of you.
Take care,

© 2006 TTouch - eugenie@ttouch.co.za.   All Rights Reserved.