Yesterday was a terrible day. I had it all planned - I would take Sam out to Bluewater for a lovely trail ride for something other than flatwork.
I back the car up to the float first go! This is big for me! I packed the car caught Sam and then the fun and games started. Sam is always a pain to load but usually I have him on within 5min. Nope we had a lot of arguments. Generally I just stay on the ramp. looking where I want him to go, asking with the lead rope - not tightly just gentle pressure forward, I might use the end of the lead rope behind me for extra umph to go forward. I got him on after a while but then he wouldn't stay in there long even for me to put the back bar across. This I wasn't overly concerned about I want him loading with no problem. After I had him on and off a few times we had a break, I let him have a pick.
I then asked again and that is when the rearing started. I used even less pressure on his halter thinking maybe I have been using too much but I have a 'u' in the lead rope and just ask by putting my hand with the lead rope in it towards the float and saying 'walk on'. He would rear again, big ones, occasionally pulling me side ways.
I don't think he is afraid on the float. I can get him with both front feet on the ramp and he will go to sleep. When he is in the float he doesn't seem tense to stand in there. He snuffles me and is happy for me to rub him all over. I was able to walk out the front door around the float and back in up the ramp. He backs out quietly - sometimes too slow - he is one leg at a time man. I really do believe he is trying to evade getting on the float.
When he is on I am able to back him up a step or too and then ask him to walk forward again. If I think he is about to back off and not stop I really try to get in first so it seems like it is what I asked for.
I finally had him off and on 3 times quickly and then I put him back in the paddock. This was after working with him for an hour and a half. I was exhausted and starting to feel angry so that is why I put him away and left.
I came back in the afternoon and hooked up the float, bought it out and set it up. Caught Sam and I could tell he was tense. From his paddock he can see me drive in and hooking up the float. I gave him a good scratch and rub all over then started to lead him over to the float. About 20m away he started the rearing again. I made him walk straight past the float and around it a few times. Then I asked him to load, rearing, backing up and just general head shaking, pawing, grinding of teeth. Between 4.46pm and 5.04pm (I kept an eye on my watch) I had him on and off 3 times. So this is a major improvement put I don't want to go through this all the time!
OK so here is what I am thinking. His ground work is not good enough - He isn't yielding/giving to pressure enough. This is showing in his flatwork with moving off the leg. Sometimes in my parelli work when I send him back it can take a bit of asking to come back to me - the YO YO game.
What can I do?!!!!!
He really is calm and happy next to the float, for me to be in float or on the ramp. Is he testing me or is he generally afraid?