We host many courses at our training centre, varying from practical to more theoretical days. One of the nicest is ‘Advanced Trailer Loading’. When you have completed a number of training courses with us, you can participate in this course. We bring in a number of challenging loaders that the students get to work with, of course all under our guidance. The intention is that in two days these horses get so good that on the last afternoon we can work with the owner to get their horse loaded calmly and confidently. A super fun course to teach, and always very educational for everyone, including for us. About a year ago we picked up a horse for this course, Pegasus, who was extremely difficult to transport. He would load and unload, but was so restless during the drive that the trailer had already spontaneously come off the towbar twice. Mortally dangerous of course! The owner also said that the horse was always soaked in sweat when he came off the trailer. After checking the trailer that Pegasus was normally transported in, it turned out that the shock absorbers were completely broken. Whether this was a due to the horse’s explosive behaviour, or whether they had already been broken and this was what caused the horse’s behaviour, no one knows. One thing that was for sure was that the trailer was so unstable that it was irresponsible to transport another horse in it. A good lesson to always have this checked!
When we come to pick up these types of horses, we always do this with our large four-horse trailer in which the horse can be transported loose. Of course with good barriers on the sides of the ramp. During the drive to our training centre, the horse had been a bit restless, but we got home without any major problems.
We went to work with the students the next day. Our intern at the time, Marcus, came back after driving two laps with Pegasus, saying that he was getting a bit quieter, although he still came back really bathed in sweat after a ten minute drive. “You know, Annemarie, it’s actually very funny… The moment you start driving, it’s as if he is walking along in the trailer, like it’s a treadmill. And the faster you go, the faster he will run!”
Suddenly something came to my mind. I said; “You know what, Marcus? Cover all windows with newspaper, and the back as well.” He looked at me as if I had gone mad. But guess what? Pegasus stood absolutely still! He really thought the trailer was like a treadmill and he had to run along… Ah, such distances he must have covered in that trailer! I came up with the solution because I sometimes help teach horses how to walk on a treadmill. And some horses don’t want to move on an automatic treadmill if they don’t feel wind or see movement. That is why they have a fan blowing on the treadmill for the ‘feeling’…