Australian Brumby Challenge ©
This week started with Scarlett on the float, relaxed in with both the storm curtain and tailgate closed. All seemed to be well, so I decided to take her for a short trip. However, she slipped and lost her footing, sitting down, almost as soon as the float began to move. I stopped and helped her regain her feet and resumed driving. The total time for the trip, including the unscheduled stop was around three minutes. When she got off, she was a bit stressed but happily ate the hay I gave her when she went back into her yard. Most Brumbies tend to comfort eat, when stressed but Scarlett is one of those who cannot eat when stressed so when she was able to eat immediately, I thought the experience might not have adversely affected her too much.
Later the same day, I again asked her to load. She was a little hesitant but walked on and began to eat the hay in the net inside. I again drove for about 2 minutes before unloading her. While she did keep her footing this time, she was quite stressed by the experience and was quite glad to get off.
The next time I asked her to walk onto the float, she told me that she would rather not do so. I quietly asked her to put her feet on the tailgate, reinforced her for doing so and finished there. We then spent the next couple of sessions working on regaining her confidence just walking onto the float. I have taken the divider out to give her a little more room to stand at an angle, if she needs to do so. I feel this has allowed her to feel more confident as she seems to automatically stand at an angle, with her head towards the left and her hindquarters on the driver’s side. If she is happy travelling like this, I am happy to accommodate her in this. I have not yet closed the tailgate or storm curtain again, we will be working on that over this weekend.
Before I move the float again, I will be installing some carpet on the floor to help her with her footing.
Scarlett is now consistently walking up to me in the paddock and often just stands at the gate, watching and waiting for me to go to her. Slowly and surely, we are making good progress.