Help! My Horse wont load in a trailer!! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 11-29-2012, 08:48 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Help! My Horse wont load in a trailer!!

Hey guys,

My horse will not load, he is adament that he wont go in the trailer. He isnt scared of it because when he eventually gets in there he doesnt make a fuss at all!
I have tried persuading him with feed, carrots, haylage!
I have tried the nice approach and just stand there waiting for him to make his way up the ramp!
I have tried pulling his headcollar - and he rears up
I have put a chifney in his mouth and he does the same
I have blocked him in so he only has the trailer to go into
i have picked one leg up at a time and literally walked him in my self

I just dont know what to do!!

He is a 16.1hh cleveland bay x irish draught

Please help me!!!
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post #2 of 33 Old 11-29-2012, 08:53 AM
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Does your trailer have a ramp? If so, he might not like stepping onto it. My gelding does the same thing, once he's in he's Mr. Cool and collected, but he'll walk onto a rampless trailer without a fuss. Your horse sounds a lot like mine. I sat in a ramped trailer for about three hours shaking a bucket of feed and only got him in there for about two seconds

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post #3 of 33 Old 11-29-2012, 08:58 AM
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What you want to do is make the right choice (loading) easy and the wrong choice (not loading ) hard. Offer him the chance to load. If he refuses, work him REALLY HARD right outside the trailer for 5-10 minutes. Lunge him - lots of direction changes, back him up, whatever. After that, offer him a rest period and offer him the chance to load again. His rest takes place in the trailer or not at all. If he refuses to load then be immediately goes back to work for another hard 5-10 minutes. Keep repeating until he loads nicely and stays loaded. If he loads, give him lots of praise and pats and snacks and let him stand there for a little bit then ask him to unload.
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post #4 of 33 Old 11-29-2012, 07:43 PM
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Block the trailer so it doesn't move and guess where breakfast lunch and dinner will be? If he's turned out, park the trailer in the pasture or a paddock. I'd set the hay better than half way in so he sees it and put the grain so he has to go all the way in. This way the decisions are his, he can go hungry or step in. He'll likely go in, grab a mouthful and back out. But that becomes too much work and he start staying in longer. If you have windows up front open them so more light comes in.
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post #5 of 33 Old 11-29-2012, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by DancingArabian View Post
What you want to do is make the right choice (loading) easy and the wrong choice (not loading ) hard.
I agree with this method most. Make being in the trailer comfortable ( no pressure ) and outside/moving away from the trailer uncomfortable ( pressure ).

When I got my TWH at almost 2 he had never been on a trailer. It took 45mins that first time to get him in. After that I vowed I'd have him loading himself, and a week later he was.

This is what I did with a slant load trailer, which may be worth a try, but I'm not a trainer and can't make any guarantees. I walked him to the trailer and had a HandiStick with me. I stood to the left of the opening, making sure there's no space between me and the trailer ( so the horse doesn't see it as an "exit" ) rope in the left hand, stick in the right. I signalled him to walk on and lifted the lead rope towards the trailer. When he moved towards the trailer, even if it was just to sniff it, I did not put any pressure. If he moved away or stalled for too long I would slowly apply pressure using the stick behind him, starting with no contact followed by light contact on his butt if needed, stopping immediately the moment he moved or motioned in the right direction ( closer to/stepping into the trailer ). He quickly learned trailer = I don't bother him. Now I can stand at the trailer, lift my hand with the lead rope to motion him in, and he goes in, stands ready to tie and waits for me to follow. I can do this with both my horses.
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post #6 of 33 Old 11-30-2012, 02:25 PM
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I've always used two friends and a butt-rope to encourage reluctant loaders.

When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure. - Peter Marshall
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post #7 of 33 Old 11-30-2012, 02:52 PM
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basically what dancingarabian said.
However you want to set your self up for success not failure. That comes from groundwork, Start teachiing your horse to go where you send him. On the ground. DOnt worry about the trailer yet. Get him in a round pen and do your normal lunge drills for warm up, I like to keep em at a steady walk, go left, go right, back up, come here, join up. I also prefer to keep a 12-15 foot line on them. Again your not sprinting or working on gaits just simple left right back come here. Next add stuff to the round pen. I use old truck tires and traffic cones, couple landscaping timbers, plastic tarp, then do the same stuff, send the horse over the obsticle, left right come here, same stuff. Send the horse, with you towards the center of the pen. work on that a few times a week and the horse gets used to the game. Next time you approach the trailer, the horse will look at it as another sending game. Stand off to the side of the door and use the same commands, motions to send the horse in the trailer, let him come up and sniff, being hesitant is ok, keep encouraging. But if he resists lifts his head and moves to the side or backs, back the snot out of him, then walk em back up to trailer, repeat, I dont do much more than an anoying tap tap tap on the withers, if they resist that they get backed up again. I might back em in circles or 50 feet across the yard. I guess I may be lucky or the fact I generally dont deal with butthead horses, but I havent ever had a horse take more than a couple round pen sessions, then one or two back ups to get them to load.
I do have to admit you add made me laugh. I got a picture of you lifting his feet up one at a time moving him up.
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post #8 of 33 Old 11-30-2012, 02:57 PM
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course there's my old addage. A horse that wont load isnt being rode hard enough. General Beauregard runs to the trailer and jumps inside if I let him. He knows the work day is over. I once came in from a ride tied him to the trailer and went to the bathroom. Came back out my horse is gone, went around front asked other people where my horse was, noone had noticed, had a second or two of panic till I noticed him inside the trailer. ready to go.
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post #9 of 33 Old 12-01-2012, 05:25 PM
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Joe, DancingArabian and Lunavi are spot on. Also, I would add to that, never lose. Make sure when you go to load in the trailer, you are NOT in a hurry, you have the time to take an hour or more if that is the case, and just do NOT give up or give in at all. I am currently leasing a horse that her owners allowed to set the tone - she wouldn't load if another horse wasn't in the trailer, and she would run away from them in the pasture, and she wouldn't go in her stall if they wanted her to. She is now on my property and I have none of these problems. When I went to catch her, I made sure I had hours and she finally realized that she *wanted* me to catch her or she'd gallop the pasture all day. Same thing with the trailer - I made sure I had hours and hours and did not take "No" for an answer. She eventually realized she *wanted* to go in the trailer, too, instead of running in circles in various directions. Problems come when you are in a hurry and then give up. Make sure you are not in a hurry and don't ever give up. It took me until it was PITCH DARK outside to get her into her stall. My kids came out to the barn to kiss me goodnight and put themselves to bed because they knew me winning the argument was paramount. You have to have the same resolve - don't be mean, but don't take any crap. You have to win the argument and put yourself in a position where you have the time and resolve to win. You will probably have to work on it for several days, but it should go faster and faster as your horse catches on that you are the boss and won't stop before he does.
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post #10 of 33 Old 12-01-2012, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Tarpan View Post
I've always used two friends and a butt-rope to encourage reluctant loaders.
So you can never load a horse by yourself? Not really a very good long term solution.
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