Trailering - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 06-10-2013, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Genesee Twp, Michigan
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Question Trailering

I have a bit of a strange questions. Actually its an idea that I'd like some feedback on before trying.

I have a 6 yrs old QH that has done great in training and is really coming along nicely. I have owned him for a year now. When I got him he had never left the farm he had been on since he was a yearling. We had trouble getting him in the trailer. Over the past year the trailering issues have gotten worse. The last time we loaded him it took nearly 3 hours to get him in. I have done natural horsemanship with him since day one and like I said he has come along great in all aspect except the trailer. OK my idea is to try using a calming agent a few times to get him on the trailer and have him calm. I'm hoping (thinking) that maybe this will help him to realize the trailer will not eat him and that he is safe.

Feedback please :)
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post #2 of 15 Old 06-10-2013, 07:04 PM
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If you already do NH with him, you should be able to "drive" him (Parelli calls it the "squeeze" game, I think.....). Work on that. Watch Clinton Anderson (for example, there are several good ones) on loading. THey work. You should be able to do this without sedation, but it will require regular work. Like daily for a long period of time.

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post #3 of 15 Old 06-10-2013, 07:05 PM
Green Broke
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No. Calming supplement is unecessary. He needs loaded and unloaded, over and over and over and over and...add nauseum.

Leave truck and trailer in the pasture with the hay around it (if possible), feed him in the trailer (on the edge at first and eventually in all the way), etc.

If that isn't possible at all or you've accomplished that step, move onto loading while on the lead. Just load and unload until he hops right in and backs/hops off.

Eventually when you've successfully completed that take him for SHORT rides, maybe with a buddy. Just go around the block once or twice, come home and unload.
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post #4 of 15 Old 06-10-2013, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Genesee Twp, Michigan
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I have done the Clinton Anderson trailer loading with him. CA is the training method I have done all his training with. I can get him up the ramp with two feet in but no further. When I try to drive him in he freaks out and backs out. He will go over the ramp, around the trailer, all the steps without issues. I can get him in with food.... he is very food motivated. But the moment the trailer jerks, or something sqeeks he freaks and is out of there. I have run him till he was dripping wet and would try to get him to rest in the trailer. I have tried more old school methods of getting him in "cowboy" style, closing him in and going for a short ride. He moves around so much you can feel him and when stopped the truck will actually rock. And like I said his behavior is getting worse not better. If I was seeing some improvement I'd believe it was just a matter of time... but that's not the case. I'm really at a loss!!! It's not a respect issue because he does everything I ask of him, he will follow me anywhere off lead (except for into the trailer). I wonder if we haven't traumatized him with some of the things we have tried/done. It is to a point I'm thinking I may have to sell him. I love him to death and do not want to do that, but a trail horse I can't get to the trail isn't really an option either.
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post #5 of 15 Old 06-10-2013, 07:19 PM
Green Broke
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Personally..I'd get him in there, get out and leave him tied up (or loose) until he calms down then. Soon as he's calm, let him out. And repeat until you can stand inside with him on lead relaxed.
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post #6 of 15 Old 06-11-2013, 12:42 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jan 2011
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I don't know how well you are versed on CA's methods but something seems to be missed. With every horse I've trained to load, either the pressure behind and release with forward movement, or the work outside and rest inside has worked. It could be you timing of the release is off.

If you have a video, we could see what is happening.

Do not use food or calming meds to get him in.
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post #7 of 15 Old 06-11-2013, 01:01 AM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Melbourne
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Keep his nose pointed into the trailer. I'd take out the divider to start with more room for both of you.
I'm not sure of CAs methods but probably cant be that much different to Parellis right?

I take a dressage whip or carrot stick or lunge whip, preferably carrot stick with string off as I've had it catch in the hinge before.
Walk him up like nothings wrong ask him to step on to the ramp by driving him with hand or stick. I tend to place myself slightly in front, preferably in the trailer out of jumping around range.

Take a feel on the lead and tap again very gently at first on back, sides or bum remembering to increase the pressure to as much is needed. If he runs back keep his head towards the trailer and dot let him stop, Keep him facing the trailer and drive forward again, remembering to reward for each correct movement.

Get his hoof back on the ramp and let him relax.

Ask again tap gently and get as hard as you need. Repeat the process until he's in. It always helps to have a hay net in there too!

Once he's in the trailer give him a really good rest. Then taking your stick walk slowly out. If he goes to move out a tap on the bum should keep him there. Stay in his eye range for now, if he backs out without being told get him back in.

When he's shown he can stand there, doesn't have to be long just enough so he knows not to rush out ask him to come quietly off. take a break, mostly for you as this can get frustrating. Then do it all again. Slowly increase the time he stands then close the rear doors, let him stand and open them again.

I spent 3 hours on this with my mare who was a HORROR to load.
She now self loads.

When it comes time to actually float it is IMPERATIVE that the driver knows how to float! Keep it slow and steady especially around corners. Bad floating is the main reason most horses become hard to load.
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post #8 of 15 Old 06-11-2013, 01:18 AM
Join Date: Jun 2011
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Is it a straight haul? Some horses can't handle being hauled in that configuration, I know, I owned one. Switched back to a stock trailer and she was fine again.
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post #9 of 15 Old 06-19-2013, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Genesee Twp, Michigan
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Yes it is a bumper pull two horse straight load. I'm trying to find a stock 3 horse slant style... Hoping to do a trade for trade. He is getting slowly better but he isn't relaxed at all in the trailer. Like he is claustrophobic or something as silly as that sounds!!!
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post #10 of 15 Old 06-19-2013, 09:52 PM
Green Broke
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I don't think that's silly at all - it's entirely possible that he is the horse equivalent of claustrophobic. How big is your horse? How tall/wide is the trailer? What's the light like inside your trailer? What's the suspension system on your trailer? And, at the risk of being blunt, what's your driving style like? These all play important parts in getting a horse accustomed to and accepting of trailering.

I know I started out with a straight load with ramp (only 6'6" high), spring leaf suspension - it was a little crowded and bouncy in there for my liking and I suspect the horses may have thought the same way. Now I have a slant load (7' high) with rubber torsion suspension and the horses are definitely liking that one better.
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