Relax and breath…. Was just with a friend, who stopped in on her way home from the airport. She had picked up her cats from the cat hotel and had them in their carrier. Mumbai and Lillian, got out of the carrier and had a good sniff, stretch and fell asleep after getting some love and attention. As our visit came to an end, my friend opened the door to the carrier and sighed…”getting them in the carrier is really difficult….Lillian goes wild, she claws, scratches me and howls….” As I was watching her get ready to retrieve the cats, I noticed her body language, she was starting to breath shallowly and was tensing her whole body. Mumbai mentioned this…he pointed out that when she picked them up, she was holding her breath and this gave Lillian the impression that something unpleasant and uncomfortable was occurring, and she reacted by trying to get away. I translated for him and recommended doing some deep breaths…inhaling and exhaling an aaaah sound….to do this in preparation, while she picked the cats up, while she held them and while placing them in the carrier…she did and for the first time, Lillian cooperated in the process getting in easily and quietly.
Horses are the same, some rely on our breathing as a cue in how to respond to a situation. Often horses who are hard to load, will get right on when we breath deeply, evenly and calmly. Try it and see what happens!