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 Getting a horse on the trailer...

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mypony



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Join date : 2009-04-02

PostSubject: Getting a horse on the trailer...   Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:24 pm

On Friday past Tramp and I went to a horse show, a local country fair. It was great, Tramp walked on the trailer in the morning with no real problem. I got the trailer a few weeks ago and he had been on the trailer a couple of times.

We had a great time at the fair. Our best class was the costume class, we won! He was a bee and I was the beekeeper (I will post pictures soon..)

So at the end of the day, we were tired and I wanted to go home. But I guess Tramp wanted to stay a little longer at the fair. He refused to get on the trailer. It was getting dark and a total of five horses would not get on their respective trailers. It is amazing how horses that don't get on trailers attract drunks and all there comments...

After an hour and a half, it was getting really dark, we were all tired and some of the campers were setting off fireworks, we called it quite. Tramp was going to spend the night in a box stall. Some friends were staying the night and the other non loading horses were put into box stalls, so there plenty of people to keep an eye on him. This was his first time in two years being in a box stall. He seemed to be well rested the next day when we got there, he had manure stains on his neck.

It took about an hour and three people to get him on the trailer. We had to blind fold him and use brute force to get him on. He just would not get on. We even had his best buddy, Sunny on the trailer. Imagine Sunny's surprise missing Tramp for the day and night and then being loaded on the trailer, driven to the fair and there was Tramp! They talked to each other and Tramp would not walk on the trailer...

So what training techniques would you suggest to get this fellow on the trailer? What we have been doing is walking on the trailer, me using a lung line to tap him on the butt. Once he is one I praise him and let him off when I tell him. We do only a little bit at a time. Any suggestions would be great.
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PostSubject: Re: Getting a horse on the trailer...   Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:41 am

Quote :
So what training techniques would you suggest to get this fellow on the trailer? What we have been doing is walking on the trailer, me using a lung line to tap him on the butt. Once he is one I praise him and let him off when I tell him.

What I have found that works, is what you are doing, however, after the load and praise...back him off and do it again right away.... Load, praise, off, do it again, until you get him loading without hesitation... (maybe you already do this on and off lesson, not sure)

THEN be done for that session.

Do the same thing the following day... etc

After that becomes too easy, up the anty...do a night time load from home...
Maybe do a load while other horses are being walked around the trailer...
Do a load in the rain... I guess the possibilities are endless...

And then when you take him for a short drive, go to a safe place, unload him and start your lesson again. Load him right back on.


Pretty soon, you will forget he even had a loading problem. :)

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Imagine



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Join date : 2009-03-31

PostSubject: Re: Getting a horse on the trailer...   Tue Sep 01, 2009 8:33 am

ugh, I feel for you.
I had the same thing happen at a show, it took us a while but she got on.
finally figured out that it was the angle of the ramp that was bothing her, at home when we loaded it was not as steep as in the field at the show.

sounds like your on the right track to getting him on there consisitenly.
Practice makes perfect.

Tc's advice sound on the mark
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D-Cutch

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PostSubject: Re: Getting a horse on the trailer...   Tue Sep 01, 2009 8:39 am

You weren't the only one that had some loading issues at Dundas...

We have a boarder here at our barn who has a real nice young horse and we've taken him to 2-3 shows for her and never had an issue loading him. He walks on, end of story.

Anyhoo they had some friends pick him up this time and he hesitated and instead of letting him look, relax, and his curiosity get the best of him they immediately bring out the grain and lure him on.

Each to their own but WE NEVER load our horses with grain - they're not going to be rewarded for being stubborn arses and enless your horse is insanely food motivated it gets old.

Glenn has always told me the key to loading a horse successfully is letting them fight themself. Enless there is nothing upstairs they won't fight themself for too long.

I also think developping trust and/or a good rapport with your horse is key to getting them on a trailer. We play alot of silly games with our horses, making them follow us around - I'd actually think most of our horses don't lead particularly well but they follow extremely well.

I agree with TC as well once you're successful, repeat the process multiple times and everytime do it with confidence. When I walk up to the trailer with my horses I never think is he may not go on today or prepare myself for a battle... I walk up sure of myself and of my horse's ability to load. Your horse knows the difference - I know that's why the boarder's horse hesitated in the first place the other day. She wasn't sure he'd go on and he sensed her uneasyness.

She ended up leaving him at Dundas as well and sedating him the next day...certainly not how I would have handled the situation but each to their own...


Last edited by D-Cutch on Tue Sep 01, 2009 4:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
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lb-ranch



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PostSubject: Re: Getting a horse on the trailer...   Tue Sep 01, 2009 9:25 am

mypony wrote:
It was getting dark and a total of five horses would not get on their respective trailers. It is amazing how horses that don't get on trailers attract drunks and all there comments...

That one line is what I noticed, dark/dusk = shadows which to a horses vision are scary. make sure your interior light is on in your trailer so the trailer is bright and inviting. some other ideas to consider, Open spaces are less threatening so if you have dividers take them out and open it up as much as possible. lower the step up distance, back up to barn/stable doors so it's more like walking into a stall rather than load in an open area, Get rid of spectators (the more people there are the less likely a horse will load, too many distractions) I"d rather work with just me and the horse rather than have 10 unhelpful helpers.
cover the floor ramp with hay or bedding.
At home practice loading and unloading regularly so the horse doesnt just associate trailers with going somewhere.
Dont look back at your horse while loading (most horses quit forward movement when you look back at them)
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~TC~



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PostSubject: Re: Getting a horse on the trailer...   Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:09 am

Lots of great advise that I was going to add, but it has already been mentioned. Worth repeating.
Like:
Walk to the trailer and load with confidence. I always walk my horses on a nice loose lead... And just go. The horse doesn't feel that tension before they even get there.Like LB said...don't look back.

Lighting is huge when first starting out... Your more seasoned horses will load no matter what, but it takes many miles "on the road" to get that way sometimes.

No food... Expect the horse to load with manners.

Ramps can be more of a problem then good... A horse that loads into a step up trailer, automatically ducks their head... a horse walking up a ramp will sometimes keep their heads high... next thing, they are looking at what now appears to be a low ceiling to them...

Practice asking your horse to step up on things... Horses like it once they do this a time or too and will happily stand on a "block" and look around...as if to be in no hurry to get down because of the new cool view... lol

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Ride em



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PostSubject: Re: Getting a horse on the trailer...   Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:10 pm

Lots of great information. I don't really have anything to add but wanted to agree with D-Cutch about being confident with loading. If YOU hesitate, THEY will hesitate. We also never use feed to load horses. Just lots of time and patience. And like TC said, do it over and over again.

We also hate ramp loads. Would never own another one.
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Jolie

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PostSubject: Re: Getting a horse on the trailer...   Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:25 pm

I agree with the above and just want to really stress that you should not look back or face the horse if it stops, this just creates a tug of war situation which I have seen way to many times.

My mare was sold to me as a bad loader but I have never had a problem, and she has always the first one on the trailer when going to shows. That being said and some people might take this the wrong way but I walk on with the chain over her nose (which we rarely use) from her stall and I walk like I walk going out to the pasture, looking ahead and the first time she paused then backed up a step, I backed up a little bit so it wasn't a tug but some pressure on her nose (still facing the front of the trailer), She paused for what seemed like forever half way up the ramp and then followed me on. But I know that if I would have tried a tug of war that day it would have sealed my fate because she is a diva mare and hates being forced into situations.


Good luck!
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mypony



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PostSubject: Re: Getting a horse on the trailer...   Tue Sep 01, 2009 9:47 pm

When we came home the other day, we put the trailer in the field with the boys. Today I went out and give loading a try. Well the only horse that I don't want to take any wheres gets on the trailer...

Tramp did not want to get on. I was by myself and did not want to get. I will try again tomorrow. He won't even step on the trailer right now. I am going to remove the divider. So that will open the trailer up even more. Maybe if I put a rope halter on the bugger, that might make him fight himself more?

I wish I had a horse that would just walk on the trailer!!!!!! Why do they make things so difficult????

I understand the get one get off, praise, get back on theory. But WHAT DO I DO IF HE WON"T EVEN GET ON THE TRAILER?????

Thanks for all the help!
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Twilight



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PostSubject: Re: Getting a horse on the trailer...   Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:29 pm

We went to pick up a horse tonight that is a bad loader.

At one point in his life, a variety of people went a variety of times to try to move this horse. He was boarded, and the owner couldn't get him moved, cos no-one could load him. They tranq'ed him, coaxed him, bribed him, beat him..... eventually he did get moved of course, but we had heard about this long ago.

Fast forward a bad home scene, a rescue/rehab, and a new young owner, who wanted to see how he would be away from home. The rehabber delivered him when they bought him

We opened our trailer up as much as we could, and waited. I know he has flipped over loading, so didn't want to crate a fight. As soon as he saw the trailer, he began rearing a bit. Bear in mind this guy is 16.3 or thereabouts, so force will not work well.

We just kept asking and asking and asking, slight forward pressure until he thought or went forward, then immediate release. He'd step on, fly back, nearly hitting his head.......

We just kept patiently asking, not rewarding the backing or rearing, but immediate praise/release as he went on. Knowing he has had terrible experiences, we really didn't want to make it a fight. He was on in 15 minutes.

Going back home took a bit longer, but it was more of the same, I added touching him lightly with the leadrope when he went back, or froze, just letting it softly touch his hip rhythmically, and stopping when he co-operated; sort of an irritant, like a fly, but nothing at all 'in his face' or confrontational. Just bugged him til he went, lol, then removed the stimulus when we achievedthe desired result. Took a bit longer to load up to go home, about 20 mins, but he never cracked a sweat, or had a fight. It was his choice to go on.
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Dun Tru

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PostSubject: Re: Getting a horse on the trailer...   Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:50 pm

Horses have spent millions of years avoiding enclosed spaces. They are traps. And every self-respecting prey animal knows that he must never be cornered, let alone on all six sides: in front, over-head, under foot, on each side and behind.

From the horse?s point of view, a horse trailer is nothing more than a metal cave on wheels. And when a predator is trying to make him get in it... that's sure death!

We all know that you can force a horse into a trailer and shut the door quick, but there's a better way... a way that will get the horse to love the trailer and that is far less frustrating and dangerous for both the horse and human. One of our favorite sayings is "It's not about the trailer". So then what is it about? It's about inspiring confidence in the horse and getting him to trust our leadership. The more we push and force, the less the horse will trust us and the less he will want to follow our lead.

Think of things from your horse's point of view. This is a good starting point. Then think about the relationship... your success starts a long way away from the trailer. You need to know how to get your horse to trust you, to respect your leadership and to understand what it is you want from him. The trailer is somewhat incidental, however it becomes a goal. The more your horse trusts you, the less he says 'no'. Learn how to get your horse's trust and how to communicate in a language so natural that your horse understands exactly what you want.

(C) Parelli

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~TC~



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PostSubject: Re: Getting a horse on the trailer...   Wed Sep 02, 2009 7:34 am

Agreeing with Moody's post..

Will this same horse travel through just a tight space? Then will he step up on a block? Will he step up on and over a block while squeezing through a tight space..? Keep making those too things more and more challenging as he gets it.. Then add the trailer with the wide open doors, lots of light, no divider etc...

(When I did this, I would work on this in the arena, solid wood block/step, with two big bright orange traffic cones on the side... )

Doing small things like just tight spaces will teach you how to read this horse, and build it's confidence before you head to the horse trailer...

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D-Cutch

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PostSubject: Re: Getting a horse on the trailer...   Wed Sep 02, 2009 8:11 am

I agree with MB as well...

Quote :
your success starts a long way away from the trailer.


This is kind of what I was trying to get at when I said our horses follow us. They follow us because they want to. Teaching to follow/respect/trust starts long before the trailer - teaching your horse to pay attention to you (not to gawk and worry about its surroundings) is huge in the scheme of things.

All the things that TC is mentioning, IMO, are all things that are making your horse follow your guidance on top of the fact horses are generally curious creatures... to get a horse to step up on a block they're watching you and not paying attention to the lawn mower five houses down or your dog chasing a squirrel. With several small exercises it becomes clear to your horse that things you ask won't harm them so if you walk them on to the trailer, the trailer must be safe.

Roundpen work and getting your horse's attention (if you don't already have it) may go a long way to getting him on the trailer.
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