10 year old Diane has been a Nevins Horse since February 2011, when her owner could no longer keep her. And while she has been a Nevins horse, she has spent over a year of that time at her foster home, enjoying some one-on-one attention from her devoted foster mom Malia. Diane has progressed nicely under the watchful eye and patient tutoring of Malia in the past year, and there is no one prouder than Malia!
But Diane had some baggage to work through in one aspect of her training - trailering. You see, on the day Diane first left to head to Malia's barn - all the way in Rhode Island - the trailer got a flat tire en route. Malia made a quick call to Roger, and our Equine Ambulance was on its way to transport Diane safely to her foster home. But the stress of the trip was not long forgotten by Diane, and the whole idea of stepping into a trailer has been overwhelming for her ever since.
Fortunately, Malia is the patient sort. Using natural horsemanship techniques and enlisting the help of friends in Rhode Island, Malia has helped Diane overcome her fears. Last week, we received this email from Malia detailing her friend Bob's efforts to help Diane through it.
It's hard to believe that over a year has gone by since I began fostering Diane ("Lady Di," as I call her). She's come a long, long way in EVERY aspect of her training -- I'm so very proud of her and all that she's learned/accomplished! One particular aspect I'm e-mailing about is trailer training. You'll recall the day I took her home, we had problems loading her and then the unfortunate incident of a flat tire on the highway on the way home, which made for a 3+ hour, anxiety-ridden ride home. So I knew convincing Diane to get back into a trailer was not going to be easy. Because I don't have a trailer of my own (I'm fortunate to be able to borrow from friends), consistent work on trailer-training was difficult.
However, I made progress and had been able to get three of her feet in the trailer without anxiety (hers!). But to get her fully in the trailer calmly, have her stand quietly and close the doors, I needed help. Friend and fellow horseperson, Bob Larrivee of Hill Top Equestrians, came to my (our) rescue. Bob has been riding and training horses since he was 17 and uses natural horsemanship techniques in his training, which is consistent with the approach I use and the one we use at Nevins. Bob also has a wonderful way with the "hotbloods," which I hugely valued -- Di being a Thoroughbred and all.
Bob DONATED an *entire afternoon* of his time to working with Lady Di and showing me how to follow through with the training!! I'm attaching a bunch of pix (they go in order, 1-7 -- let me know that you get all 7) of Bob working w/ Lady Di. He would teach her a few steps, then her brain would start to fry and he'd work her in-hand a bit to calm her and get her attention back, and then go on to the next phase. By pix #6 she's calmly loading/standing/munching in the trailer -- SUCCESS!! (I love pix #7, so sweet!)
I continued the work during the week and had made a plan to take Lynx and Di up to Nevins to work in the indoor as well as give the gang a chance to see Di and see how she was doing in foster care. Bob was kind enough (again!) to come over in the morning and help me load her. The girls trucked quietly and calmly all the way up to Nevins and we had a super day!! Karin helped me load Diane at the end of the day for the ride home and the girls had a great, quiet ride home.
I was so thrilled! I hope to be able to trailer Lady Di a few more times this fall before the weather turns, and we'll pick back up in the spring. More reports soon... ;-)
Thanks Bob & Malia for taking the time that Diane - Lady Di - needed to feel comfortable once again in a trailer. And an even bigger thank you to Malia for investing your time, enegery, and your heart in Diane's future. It is so worth it!