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Anxiety while loading horses...

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        05-23-2013, 06:17 PM
    Green Broke
    I trained my guys to load up themselves. That way I have a straight escape out if they do freak. So I'll flip the lead over their back, tell them "load up" then follow behind to close the divider.

    Then go out and around and clip on the quick release trailer strap

    From the window.

    We NEVER tie them with their leads. Well either loop the leads around their necks or toss them over their backs.

    Then to unload we go reverse order. Unclip the tie, go open the divider and they're trained to back SLOWLY when we cluck or pull their tails
    Sharpie, Corporal and Stan like this.
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        05-23-2013, 06:31 PM
    Mine also turns her head to watch me when I am trying to close the slant. So then she is slightly stuck. Ugh horses.
        05-23-2013, 11:00 PM
    Green Broke
    All 3 of our horses self load. Even the 3 yr old. The problem I've had is getting them to back out. I end up having to go in there with them to get them to back out, because otherwise they will turn around and go out forward. Which is great for some trailers and not for others. My mare almost got stuck in a friend's trailer trying to turn around when there wasn't room to turn around. So now I practice backing her out of every trailer she gets into. And the 3 year old is a BEAR to try to get to back out. Sigh.

    I also have been in the trailer with a horse (my first horse) who hit the end of the rope and panicked while I was up front in the trailer with him. Being in a tiny cubicle with a thrashing horse is scary and you realize you could die in there. Luckily the horse quit thrashing and I was able to get him untied. But you always remember those experiences!
        05-23-2013, 11:18 PM
    Originally Posted by SorrelHorse    

    I won't tie a horse in right away, I will shut the divider and then get out and crawl onto the window to tie them from the outside

    I get that you are nervous because you had a bad experience, but I see nothing wrong with what you are doing.

    It's rare I load alone as I am bad at driving with a trailer. But if I am alone, I do a similar thing. I would get horse in, tie, go back do butt bar, put up rear door, then go back in the little escape door and make sure that I tied with enough length and everything is well.

    The only thing that's different is that you are poking your nose into the trailer rather than actually getting in. So what. No big deal. I think that's fine. Do what you are comfortable with.
    Roadyy likes this.
        05-24-2013, 03:01 PM
    Aldebono and OP, I'd like to see you BOTH teach your horses to self- load. But, honestly, horses that trailer WELL are not going to panic in the trailer. When we were new to horse ownership (and Stupid!!) we used to travel with 5 horses in a 4-horse straight load stock. We'd load the 1st two, then the back left, then the back right, and then, "Toma" would load himself in the middle, in the back.

    Toma is the stocky paint, left
    Sometimes he'd bite the necks of the other two horses, but I tied everybody. The POINT is that if you have no slip mats, and pull out and slow down S l o w l y, JUST like the semi's do, your horse will load, travel and unload without any drama.
    Stan likes this.
        05-24-2013, 03:13 PM
    She self loads in a two horse straight load. Really no room to walk them in and we took the divider out so it is easier for them to self load. In my 3 horse slant, there is plenty of room to move around but the opening is a single door (saddle rack behind the other door) and not as inviting. She also hasn't been hauled much and is generally not an easy walk on. Self loading in the slant will be another good life skill to practice.
        05-24-2013, 03:25 PM
    Green Broke
    Nothing wrong at all with being nervous! THAT will keep you safe because you won't let your guard down. Versus someone who's going about it not paying attention and doesn't see the wreck coming....

    I love self-loading horses. It completely prevents the human from having to go in the trailer. Last time I practiced with my 2-yr-old, he self-loaded into the back slant (trickiest, smallest-looking spot). Such a good boy!

    Now, if anyone has any tips on teaching your horse to self-unload, well I'd love to hear it! Because I haven't figured that out yet. I'm still having to get into the trailer to unload them. (On one hand, I don't mind that, because they don't rush to get off the trailer when that door is opened. )

    But a few basic safety things I keep in mind:
    --Horses must have on their breakaway halters to be trailered. I won't have anyone getting "hung" if we get into a car accident.
    --Horses do NOT get tied until the dividers are closed and the back door is latched. In the rare event they would bolt backwards, they won't be trapped to their lead.
    --Horses get untied BEFORE the back door is opened and before dividers are opened. Same problem averted.
    (I drop down the windows to facilitate hooking and unhooking them from the ties.)
    --All trailer ties have quick-release snaps on the window side (not the horse side).
    --Fly masks get put on after the horse is loaded, and get taken off before they are unloaded. I feel it helps them to see things better and judge distances better.
    --Horses are never trailed without hay in front of them, and without shipping boots or standing wraps protecting their legs.
    --And as the pictures above that someone else posted depict: Always stand off to the side of your self-loader so you are not in harms way.
    Corporal likes this.
        05-24-2013, 04:29 PM
    This is a big issue for me too. I've had a horse suddenly try to turn around and bolt out of the trailer while I was in there, and although no one was hurt, it scared the heck out of me. Since then, I've been keen on horses self-loading. I must admit though, that trailering and travelling with horses in general makes me pretty nervous. Really brings out the paranoid worrier in me!

    Originally Posted by beau159    
    Now, if anyone has any tips on teaching your horse to self-unload, well I'd love to hear it! Because I haven't figured that out yet. I'm still having to get into the trailer to unload them. (On one hand, I don't mind that, because they don't rush to get off the trailer when that door is opened. )
    I've taught my mare to back up using voice cues ('back up' to move, and 'woah' to stop). Originally I used it when getting her to square up, give me more space at the hitching rail, or when she was invading my space, but I've realized that it works for unloading too. I feel a lot better not having to go into the trailer to unload, because that's always the scariest part for me.
        05-24-2013, 04:38 PM
    Here are 2 ways to train/practice trailer loading without the trailer.
    Buy 3 landscape timbers and create an open box. Use THIS for practice.
    Train your horse to go into the barn with a human width (34"-42" wide) door. The concepts are the same to the horse.
    I used to lead my lesson horses into the building where I kept hay, and had extra tack, etc. when I taught. Small width doors never bothered them. It was almost pitchy black in there, too, so they got used to a small door and a dark place. My current barn has a 34" wide door and I lead through THAT all of the time. My horses will load themselves in my 4-horse slant, with a 1/2-width opening in the back, no trouble. It's just a matter a familiarity.
        05-24-2013, 06:41 PM
    Only thing annoys me about loading to go somewhere the horses act like tools..on way back their angels LOL.

    Takes us 20 mins to get 2 horses in float cos 1 plays up the other one follows

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