I meet many owners who never take the time to train their horse to walk into a van, trailer, truck or otherwise. Many people think that it is very normal for a horse to enter in a small, often dark, space.
For claustrophobic people, it’s not hard to imagine what a horse feels when he is standing in a van. For others, I think that when you find yourself in a room where the walls are getting closer and closer to you, to finally “crush” you, you can understand the idea. Nobody wants to be in such a situation. Yet, that’s what we ask of the horses.
In addition, horses do not see the environment the same way we do. Their sight, hearing, smell, sensations, etc. are much more developed (or developed in another way). So, what we perceive is nothing compared to them.
Likewise, you all know that a horse is a prey animal. Can he run away in a space like a van when he thinks he is in danger? Is it not against his nature to put him in a van then?
And we can continue this discussion for hours.
They had to adjust, of course, but that doesn’t mean we can ignore their mental, emotional and physical state!
We want them to do so, so the horse has to do it.
However, we also have to teach the horse to let us on his back. To let us lunge him. They must also learn to perform the shoulder in, the half-pass, the piaffe, to jump, etc. So why should we not teach them to get used to walk (and stand) in a van?
As mentioned above, many owners expect their horses to walk directly in a van. And when this is not the case, violence, strength and especially frustration appears.
Why? Because we must also learn to ride a horse, to lunge a horse, how to make a shoulder in, haunches in, a half-pass, to jump, …
Once the method acquired for both, the horse and the owner, there is no problem anymore. The owner knows how to help his horse and the horse knows what he has to do to make his owner happy (or try anyway).
A little more respect is the title of the blog. I mean, from us towards the horses. Despite the fact that they are scared, angry, traumatized, they continue trying for us.
Many horses (of course, they are all different) walk into a van after an hour of training, while they have never seen one before in their whole life. Without using force.
You just have to be patient and listen to what your horse has to say. It’s better to take a little more time to teach him right from the first time than to lose an hour (or more) each time you want to get him into a van.