Today we had another practice at trailer loading. If you can call it that. It's not like Little Love loaded into the trailer, that would have been a miracle. I did learn a few things though.
1. You have two goes at it, then it gets to be too much for Little Love and you will only go backwards from there (literally and figuratively)
2. After about ten goes, I start getting angry which is not productive. I also start using pressure, which is REALLY not productive (Little Love goes into fight mode). So, have to keep tries at a minimum (two, says Little Love).
3. We need to do this over and over and over again for the next umpteen weeks and there is still no guarrantee it will work, but at least we will have tried.
4. I need to really examine my own attitude.
There was probably something else, too, but that was the gist of it.
I swear the first time I walked her to the trailer and she actually walked up the ramp, I thought she would go in. No, let me rephrase that. I didn't think she would go in and therefore her walking so confidently up the ramp surprised me. Which is when she stopped walking up the ramp. Any connection there? Right. I need to start adjusting my thinking about this whole thing. I want her to go in yet I obviously don't believe she will do it. Not helpful. I have decided to start imagining her walking into the trailer. And I will continue imagining that until I believe in it. Then, I'll send her that mental image (like a video).
And what comes to the getting angry bit... I was so disappointed in myself for that. I mean, I KNOW it doesn't help and will only make her frantic. Luckily, at some point I realized what was happening and just walked both of us away from the trailer and into the arena for a timeout. We never went back to the trailer and it was just as well. Little Love has always been a horse that does not like repetition. This is one reason why she didn't make a particularly good dressage horse. If you ask her to do something and she does it once (or feels like she has done her best trying it once) you may get a second chance to do it but after that she is so done. And she lets you know.
There are days when she feels more inclined to try again over and over, but most days she just gets pissed off. Which I can understand. I remember when I was learning French, I hated those grammar exercises where you just do the same thing over and over again. Boring. Makes you want to chuck the book out the window and go do something else. So, I can relate.
I think this is another one of those lessons in patience (Little Love's favorite lesson for me). It's hard since I realize that trailering her may never be easy, yet I have to keep believing it will be possible. I can't wrap my head around that, how to approach it with a neutral attitude but still have the strong belief that it will work. Sigh.