This is a part of a series from the film Horses with Problems by Ellen Ofstad. In this clip Tafir gets introduced


The first clip in the series can be seen here:
http://www.barnmice.com/video/horses-with-problems-01-intro
The previous clip in the series can be seen here:
http://www.barnmice.com/video/horses-with-problems-07
The next clip in the series can be seen here:
http://www.barnmice.com/video/horses-with-problems-09

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Comment by Kim Allaby on December 7, 2010 at 10:07pm
Thanks Ellen, great discussion. I will be putting up a video of me and a horse that I am trying to make less spooky. We are coming along slowly for a few reasons, he is not my horse and I don't have lots of time to spend with him, but mainly because i know I am not communicating clearly with him, and would like your feedback.
Comment by Ellen Ofstad on December 7, 2010 at 10:51am
Hi Kim
Great to get such good questions about this clip. There'a a lot going on, and a lot to learn from watching clips like this one. We all make mistakes, and it's a lot easier to became aware of them if we use a camera and analyze what we are doing afterwards. That way we can hopefully improve ourselves the next time in a similar situation.

As for the comments, I have an advantage when it comes to seeing what is going on. We filmed his whole attempt of loading and it went on for over an hour. I also know the story behind the horse and Bengt, not to mention that I worked with him myself.

With that in mind, I'll comment on your observations from the beginning :)
I do agree that Bengt is not doing it right, and that he needs lessons (and that was why we were there…). Bengt has had the horse since he came to his stable when the horse was just 6 months old. Since that time they had a loading problem, he has never (the horse is eight) managed to get the horse loaded, although he has been inside the trailer. A couple of years before we filmed this he had a trainer that came to him to help him, and he taught Bengt this technique. I think that made the problem worse…

I wanted to show this in the video, because the other horse in the film, Boldina, is loaded by leading her in. With that horse I send her in from the outside, and with this one I lead in from the front. I basically do the opposite of what the owner has done since they already has shown that the way they are doing it isn't working.

Many people stand where Bengt does and loads the horse just fine, but it's not helping this particular horse. The horse gets stressed as soon as they get into that position, he is expecting that this will not be a good experience and he is of course right about that.

Often Bengt is stopping him from going in by not releasing the rope, just like you said (and I also comment on that in the clip), but the biggest issue for Tafir is that is is afraid of the loading process itself (more than the actual trailer).

You wrote:
"He isn't "afraid to enter" Bengt keeps such a tight hold on the rope Tafir can't enter, at 3:30 Tafir tries to figure out that if Bengt doesn't want him to come to him then the confusing signals must mean go away. He is frustrated, not defensive."

I agree that Bengt is blocking the horse, but Tafir most definitely is afraid. He is frustrated as well of course…The other problem here is that Bengt is scared and stressed, too. That is probably why he is not releasing enough rope; when he applies pressure to the horses rear the horse pushed back and threatens to kick. Bengt stops this by pulling his head towards himself, and I think this is why he wants a short rope (to be able to defend himself). That interferes with the loading (like I commented on in the clip, too). This is easy to see at 3:30 where Bengt is blocking his way out.

"At 3:46 Bengt lets the rope go slack and Tafir tries to move forward, but once again Bengt's body is in the wrong place and he tightens up on the rope and the cycle begins again."

If Bengt's position alone is blocking the horse from going inside, the same position is even more blocking when it comes to the opening between Bengt and the trailer, yet the horse still goes there whenever there is enough room. Bengt's timing with the rope pressure is actually pretty good here, he is blocking the horse from going to the side, and releasing when the horse is going forwards (not enough, but still). Having said that, I think he shouldn't have gotten the horse in that state in the first place.

"What I see in this video is a horse who knows how to load and a man who thinks he understands how to use the driving rope and body language thing, Unfortunately for Tafir and Bengt he doesn't understand what he is doing. Why didn't Bengt just open the partition and lead the horse on?"

Bengt is trying to do what he is taught, he is stuck on the method. And that is one of the points in the video, to see wh
Comment by Kim Allaby on December 7, 2010 at 12:05am
Hi Ellen,
This video should be titled Bengt Needs Loading Lessons. When watching this video it looks to me as if Bengt is stopping Tafir from loading. Every time Tafir starts to walk up the ramp Bengt should let the rope go and move forward with the horse; allowing Tafir to enter. Instead Bengt takes up the slack in the rope until Tafir is aked to come towards him and Bengt ends up pulling and driving Tafir towards him, away from the interior of the trailer. I think Tafir is afraid of/confused by Bengt even when they are having problems beside the trailer because Bengt is driving Tafir forward with his hand and stopping him from going forward with his body. I disagree that Tafir is afraid of the pressure Bengt is applying to his hind end. In my opinion You are right that Tafir is tense, however Tafir's ears are back, not because he intends to go there but because Bengt is back there petting him, then as Bengt pushes Tafir forward Bengt steps away and back which pulls the rope towards him and backwards. Tafir is perfectly correct - again - when he comes out of the trailer and towards Bengt. I disagree strongly that Tafir has learned that he can "escape the pressure"; he is going where he is being told to go. He isn't "afraid to enter" Bengt keeps such a tight hold on the rope Tafir can't enter, at 3:30 Tafir tries to figure out that if Bengt doesn't want him to come to him then the confusing signals must mean go away. He is frustrated, not defensive. At 3:46 Bengt lets the rope go slack and Tafir tries to move forward, but once again Bengt's body is in the wrong place and he tightens up on the rope and the cycle begins again. What I see in this video is a horse who knows how to load and a man who thinks he understands how to use the driving rope and body language thing, Unfortunately for Tafir and Bengt he doesn't understand what he is doing. Why didn't Bengt just open the partition and lead the horse on?

Usually the horse is not the problem, it is our inability to communicate clearly with them. If I have a problem with a horse I either see if what I think I am signalling is what I am actually doing. Somebody else's eye or a video can usually provide the answer to that question.

I love your videos.

Looking forward to your comments.

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