An Update From a Tellington TTouch Training™ e-News Reader on Trailering Issues

I would like to update you on what is happening in my work with Campari. As I said in my last email, the TTouch work has been magic with Campari. It has definitely made his mouth accepting and alive. The bodywork has made him more aware of his body, more athletic and more relaxed. I am still having problems with the trailering — once the trailer starts to move. He is fine loading. He will walk in on his own and stand happily.

I will I often put carrots in there for him to find. I went through several days of feeding him his grain in there. At first he was a bit nervous but he got better. One thing, however, is that he wants me to stand inside with him.

I have placed plastic on the ground. After a brief inspection he walked across it easily. It started to rain and spatter on the plastic — no problem. The edge of the plastic blew up, he looked and then ignored it. I put down plywood, large sheets, he walked right over it. I put the plastic in soft footing of the arena, he walked over it easily. I have draped noisy paper over his shoulder and back. He looks a bit scared but continues to eat his hay.

A few weeks ago, there was a schooling show two hours away and I took him to it. It was a nightmare for him in the trailer. I stopped about a half hour into the trip. He was dripping wet and very anxious, pawing. I had to go on but my heart ached. He arrived at the show tucked up. I had given him a full tube of Gastroguard before we left. I topped it up with a dose of ranitidine. I allowed him to eat grass for a half hour before heading for the stables. He was flighty but ate.

I started TTouch. His eye softened immediately and he began to relax. He test was late in the day. I did body work on him most of the day. I took him out of his stall a few times for a walk about and very light lunge. He was very up but handled himself well. When it came time for his test I didn’t lunge him as he was so relaxed but he did tense in the arena, and jumped forward once ta the end of the test because of a huge noise in the background. He got at 67% — not bad for his first time out.

However, the ride home was another nightmare. I monitored him carefully for a few hours to be sure he wouldn’t colic. He was fine.

I don’t have your book but I have some videos of you working with Goldstein, Glorioso, and Rembrandt. I also saved, years ago, copies of your articles in horse magazines so I have a pretty good idea of the touches to use and also all the ground work exercises. As a result of writing this, I have to admit that I have NOT ridden him through the groundwork mazes. That would be one further thing I could do.

We were entered in a recognized show for this weekend, but I had to scratch because he has damaged both his cannon bones, with splints coming out. I think these are because of his pawing in the trailer.

He can’t be ridden until the splints cool out so I have been handwalking in the arena. To break the boredom I placed a couple pieces of painted white plywood on the arena floor. They were 3 ft. x 2 3/4 ft. in size. I first put down one. He easily walked up to it. I asked him to walk over it. He carefully stomped it with his foot to test it. Even though it tipped a bit, he walked over it. I placed another one beside it. He happily walked over the two. THEN I HAD PROBLEMS KEEPING HIM AWAY FROM IT. He WANTED to go over the wood. It sounded hollow when he walked over it. He didn’t care.

I also put of a star arrangement with the poles resting on a bale of hay. It didn’t take him long to figure out the it would be fun to walk up the star and grab some hay…I had him on a long line. I told him to back up to get out of the star…he accepted the verbal command and backed up. Later I led him around the star. He did it perfectly, not knocking down one pole.

I have read the study by Dr. Stephanie Shallohan. The most prominent problem there was loading. I don’t have a problem loading.

Questions: Should I do TTouch in the trailer — i.e. have the trailer pulled forward a few steps and then start working on him and repeat? I am at a loss as to how to break through the phobia he has about the moving trailer. I have ridden in the trailer when it was empty. It is an extra tall trailer..which I need since he is 17 hh. There is a full width window that allows the horse to look into the tack room and then forward through the front windows. The trailer is overall very well lit so I have covered the forward windows with cardboard so he would not see things “coming at him.” It hasn’t really helped.

I have had him on Hilton Herbs Confidence. I am also soon embarking on a program for digestive health which uses the new products Assure Plus and Assure Guard. I know if his stomach hurts he won’t be happy. I have had horses with ulcers before and it is a huge problem.

I look forward to your comments. Thank you so much for your interest and help.

Susan Craig

My response:

Dear Susan, What you are missing is the side barriers (can be plastic) and the overhead that can be pool noodles in the beginning and eventually plastic. Many horses are claustrophobic and fear enclosure. Do you know if he has ever had a problem in the trailer or been driven fast? We did pulse tests many years ago and found that horses riding backward could balance much better. Could your horse be walked in and turned around and tied so he will stay backwards? I also tie a high hay net for food.

One tip: Do the TTouches much slower than on the video. I had so much info to get in the video I was going much faster than we do the TTouches now. And considering what it costs you to keep and show a horse, I believe you would find my latest horse book: The Ultimate Horse Behavior and Training Book for the 21st Century helpful. It has 50 photos on trailering as a special section in the back, very worthwhile. Good luck and let me know how you do.

Aloha, Linda

© 2011, Linda Tellington-Jones. All rights reserved.

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