Originally Posted by Koolio
My awesome DH dug my horse trailer out of the snowbank so daughter and I could take my Arab gelding, Koolio and our very green Welsh x Hano mare, Himmy to the stable yesterday for a ride. Part of the reason for this trip was to give my daughter a chance to try out her new dressage saddle before the fitter comes on Tuesday. As always, Koolio was a perfect gentleman in all respects and Himmy, although very green, was pretty good.
Trailering was a little more challenging. Again, Koolio was awesome, but Himmy was a bit reluctant to load up when we left home. I drove very slowly as the roads were rough with snow and ice in spots, but then we met the train at the crossing, and the conductor blowed his whistle over and over. Poor Himmy couldn't see what the monstrous noise was. She settled as soon as it passed, but the event seemed to have rattled her for getting back in the trailer when it was time to come home.
I don't think she was really scared, just being stubborn, but she had no intention of getting on that trailer. We pulled and pushed and prodded and coaxed for over 30 minutes to get her in. Working in the slippery snow made it they much more frustrating for all of us. We did finally get her in and get her home, but tomorrow we take her and the other mare back for saddle adjustment and fitting. She will also be hauled regularly to lessons once the snow melts, so we will have to work on practicing loading ASAP. The trailer is a two horse straight haul, so if anyone has any suggestions for loading a reluctant horse, please share them!
I have had trouble with my horses loading. First lesson I learnt was don't let the horse win. When loading you have to get them in or it re-inforces them not going in.
Second lesson I also learnt was not to lead them in. Its dangerous. If the horse suddenly charges forward you are going to get hurt.
I had a Parelli trainer take Stella in hand and sorted her loading, and me. I had some learning and changing from leading her in. To driving her in.
The conclusion was Stella was being the boss and that had to be changed. Bugs demonstrated fear, he would start to show sweat spots on his neck. Two different problems.
I now stand at the left of the trailer ramp and drive her into the right side stall all by tapping her on her ample rump. She tries it on by walking down the right side of the trailer but I just bring her back shorten up the lead and she will go in. Its all part of her trying to maintain control.
I am about to start on Stella and Bugs getting them used to the new float. Its a rear straight loader, but has a front side ramp to unload from if required. I expect both horses to try and take the advantage and not want to load. I have news for them and its all bad.
The best thing I did with Both horses was I got some oine they did not know to get them going in and out of the float and then while they were doing that I took over. The look on Stella's face when she went in for me and then it clicked what she had done. She turned and looked at me and you could see the expression in her eyes. How did that happen. But I had controll back again.
If you get some one else to try make sure they really know what they are doing.
If the horses are loading but reluctantly each time they get in take them for a short ride and then home again. Leave the trailer on the tow vehicle as you will need to do this a dozen times over the next few days to get the message installed.