Help! My Horse wont load in a trailer!! - Page 2

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Help! My Horse wont load in a trailer!!

This is a discussion on Help! My Horse wont load in a trailer!! within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • Horse loads once then wont again
  • I took my horse on a 4 hour trip now she refuses to load in trailer

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    12-01-2012, 07:14 PM
My horse loads like a gentleman and has never required a rope to load.

When I worked at an animal shelter we would get lots of horses/mules/donkeys that had never seen a trailer in their life. If we couldn't solo load an animal we'd use a butt rope. It wasn't meant to be a solo endeavor.
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    12-03-2012, 01:42 AM
I wouldn't bet on him not being worried about the trailer, just because he stands in it OK. Of course he may just be trying it on because he knows it's worth a try, but don't discount fear & be accordingly considerate with training him otherwise.

I agree with the *principles* of making the right thing easy & the wrong things difficult, but along with Joe's suggestion of preparation & training so when you get there you're more likely to succeed, I do things a bit differently to DA.

Firstly horses learn from *instant* consequences. So 'Making it hard' wouldn't be turning him around & making him 'work' for 10 minutes(I also don't want to turn 'work' into a Bad Thing for him), but if he won't load, I'd just keep the pressure on, until the *instant* I got the smallest yield from him, at which instant I'd quit all pressure & relax a few seconds before asking again. Also 'making it easy' would start with accepting whatever he will give, even if it's only one step forward to begin with. I wouldn't keep hassling him until he's right in there, but make any forward movement work for him. Once he gets the idea, then you can start asking for a bit more.

I also agree with the principle of trying to make sure you win, including ensuring you have however much time it takes. But again, I think if you've got to keep it up for an hour at a time, you're asking way too much. This will also become more stressful for the horse, so make him more resistant & have a bad attitude to the trailer. Instead, working at his level for short, easy sessions, asking for small improvements, rather than attempting to 'win' the whole goal in one session is the way I go about it. After all, I don't just want to make the horse get in there, I also want him to be confident & comfortable about it, so it becomes less stress & hassle & time each time we do it.
nvr2many, Lunavi and Herdof2 like this.
    12-03-2012, 02:56 AM
My friends mare is the same, hates to load... once on she's calm and munching on hay.

As I got sick of this game and the rope behind the butt or grain I just started lounging her in circles in front of the trailer door. Of course my friend wasnt happy of me working her mare like this, until she seen a change in the mare.

A few time around lounging next to the trailer door. I would ask her to stop and stand. I would collect her in hand and lead her towards the trailer doors.
If she hesitated one ounce we went back to lounging in the circle.
Again I would ask to stop, collect her in hand and ask to load again.
I played this game for almost a hour, lounging again to the slightest hesitation towards walking towards that trailer door.
But when we started this game she was snorting, rearing, tossing her head and pulling away...At this point my friend seen her, not snorting or rearing a half hour in. Still head tossing and pulling away but less active movements.

Eventually that mare got sick of lounging and she finally just gave up and instead of the head toss or backing in fear she made baby steps. Even with her over exaggerated jump on, she got to rest and enjoy resting in the trailer. I wasnt working her anymore for the day. She stood for about 15 minutes to breath, we unloaded her walked her for a while and then let her loose in the pasture with her pals.

There was no blow out fight. Eventually she just got tired of fighting and got the best reward for her accomplishment. Back with her buddies and fresh grass.

My friends mare is still learning this as she has only been at it 4 lessons already.
But two weeks ago that mare would still be jerking back, rearing, pulling, kicking out or fight us.
As of yesterday it was only a 15 minute lesson. We walked her to the trailer she snorted and backed up twice, we lounged her twice about 5-10 minutes each and she remembered the last lessons were just the same and this time walked and popped her rear end up and on. She's learning slowly.

But atleast its not a full blown JUMP ON or plow over anymore.

Hope that helps :)
    12-03-2012, 04:11 AM
Green Broke
Too often we see threads like this. We also see many offer ideas of bribing the horse into the trailer. "Just lead the horse in holding treats in your hand." "Feed your horse in the trailer." Or force the horse in with pulling or pushing.

I have used both methods of DancingArabian and Lunavi. Loosie and Joe4d, I think yours are similar to Lunavi. With the second method, you have to have good timing of releasing the pressure or it doesn't work very well. DA's method is a little more lenient and simple. Outside = work and inside = rest. The horse makes the choice of whether to work or not. It's not a punishment for not loading. It's just having to work.

Set yourself and your horse up for success. It will take as long as it takes. If you try to rush it or lose your cool, it won't work.
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flytobecat and Herdof2 like this.
    12-03-2012, 12:11 PM
Green Broke
There is another way that I've seen work for a horse that refused to load. This horse would load fine into a stock trailer but not into a 2 horse straight load. It was the middle of winter and they were transferring it from one to the other. Bribing, pulling, pushing, and even the tapping method didn't work. It was packed snow and ice on the ground, so the work outside rest inside wasn't feasible.

What finally worked was holding the lead rope tight thru the trailer and rocking the horse side to side. The rocking would get the horse off balance and the horse would step to rebalance. The forward pressure of the line would cause the horse to step forward. The horse did finally load this way but I would only use it for an emergency.
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    12-03-2012, 12:21 PM
Green Broke
I just worked on this yesterday with my new gelding. Is stubborn to load, not even scared. Just plants his feet and doesn't wana load. Once he's in he's the perfect horse in the trailer. Just getting him on is a task.

I would grab a lunge whip and line. First I'd ask to load. When he refused I lunged him immediately as soon as he refused right on the spot. Got him in a good 'working' trot so he knows I ain't messing. Then tried loading again. He put his front feet on so I let him rest and praised and rewarded. (I use treats with my gelding as he is a treat hound, will do anything for a treat but isn't pushy about it. It makes him pay attention more too but I don't advise using treats) once I let him rest with his feet on the ramp I'd ask him to move forward. After a few times of backing out, lunging again then letting him rest aslong as he had a foot on the trailer he got the pont. No loading=work. Loading=love, treats and rest!

I've had awesome success with this approach. Especially once my gelding got the point just to get on or his butt is working he jumped right in no issues.

And I also wouldn't disregard him not being scared. He very well might be just not showing. I know my gelding isn't scared cause I've hauled him before. Getting him on was a tad of a process once on he coulda caredless. My gelding is also an ex school horse who has gotten away with murder.
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    12-03-2012, 12:31 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by Joe4d    
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.
LOL, this is awesome!!!!! I can just feel the panic you must have had at first when you didn't know where he was, lol. Love it! What a good horse. Smart too!!!
    12-03-2012, 12:47 PM
Green Broke
I agree with the lunging. When Hunter wouldn't load I would immediately make him trot fast in circles (on rocks was even better). Not for 10 mins though. Usually it only took a few circles and he would walk on. Now he walks on without a hesitation.

You have to do it immediately though. My friends mare wouldn't load and I told her to lunge her. Well she walked her over to the nice grassy area and lunged her for 10 mins and then came back. Mare wouldn't load. I tried to tell her to do it right there and right now but she wouldn't listen and again walked her horse over to the nice soft grass. I eventually had to leave and my horse had loaded 45 minutes earlier (I wasn't her ride) I think some guy finally got her loaded an hour later.
    12-03-2012, 12:50 PM
Green Broke
I purchased Clinton Anderson's Trouble Free Trailing DVD and it is worth every single penny.

All trailering issues come about because your horse is either 1) scared 2) lacks respect, or a combination of both.

I don't feed a horse treats to get them on the trailer. What happens when the day comes when they are not hungry?

I don't like to just feed them in the trailer. Because you aren't teaching them to load when YOU ask. You are teaching them to casually go on when they feel like it.

I don't like loading a horse with a butt rope or any sort of "emergency" device .... unless it is a true emergency (like a fire) and you must get that horse on the trailer right now. Those methods do not work if you want to load your horse for a lifetime.

Here's a snipet of CA's method from YouTube. I advise you to buy the actual DVD. It's awesome, and addresses other issues besides trailer loading that stem from the same problem.

His method has to do with "making the wrong thing hard, and making the right thing easy" but his method also has to do with getting your horse to have good ground manners.

You need to have 100% control of your horse's hips, shoulders, ribcage, and head before you can expect to put them into a trailer. If you can't control those body parts at any time, even if you are 10 feet away from the horse, forget about trying to force a 1200+ pound animal into a tin can.

Also. Do some searching on this forum. This topic of traile rloading comes up all the time!

Timing and consistency are crucial. Which is very hard to convey over the internet on a forum. If you can't find a trainer to help you in person, a DVD with video is the next best thing.
    12-03-2012, 12:50 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by Hunter65    
I agree with the lunging. When Hunter wouldn't load I would immediately make him trot fast in circles (on rocks was even better). Not for 10 mins though. Usually it only took a few circles and he would walk on. Now he walks on without a hesitation.

You have to do it immediately though. My friends mare wouldn't load and I told her to lunge her. Well she walked her over to the nice grassy area and lunged her for 10 mins and then came back. Mare wouldn't load. I tried to tell her to do it right there and right now but she wouldn't listen and again walked her horse over to the nice soft grass. I eventually had to leave and my horse had loaded 45 minutes earlier (I wasn't her ride) I think some guy finally got her loaded an hour later.

It would be better if someone who knows how to do it could show you. I thought this exact same thing as stated above. Yesterday my gelding was on the rock driveway. It started to get slippery from all the lunging but by the time it did he got the point to just load.

Ask to load - they refuse - lunge. On the spot. Don't wait even a second. Grab that whip and lunge like hell! Hehe. And agreed. Not for 10 minutes. More like 5 rounds around then ask again. They'll get the point.
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