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Problem loading horse on float

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    01-08-2013, 10:20 PM
  #11
Yearling
Hmm, do you have access to another horse that isn't scared? Maybe tie the other to the side and it will teach your horse it's not so scary after all.
     
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    01-08-2013, 10:22 PM
  #12
Green Broke
My other horse is fantastic to load and take places
     
    01-08-2013, 10:45 PM
  #13
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by apachewhitesox    
Thanks DA that's the sort of approach I was planning on. Taking it slow because I don't want to push him too fast, since it does seem to be a genuine fear and not just him being a tool.
Horses are claustrophobic by nature, they don't like small, dark, enclosed spaces. They have to learn to a) trust that you're not sending them in to the lion's den and b) learn that the trailer really isn't the lion's den.

My very favorite way to get them used to the trailer, once they have learned to load and unload, is to take them for a nice long ride in it, long enough for them to be scared, sweat and come through the other side. I try to plan a nice long 4 hr drive at some point, if I'm not hauling to a distant show any time soon. All of my show horses are super easy to load and trailer because I try to make sure they never have a bad experience and because by the time we get out to Scottsdale, AZ or Lexington, KY for shows, they've been on and off the trailer several times and then the trip takes 2 or 3 days depending on whether I have to push it or not. They get over trailer fear real quick that way.
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    01-08-2013, 11:08 PM
  #14
Green Broke
If you are on your own would you tie the horse then close the back once it is on or close the back then tie it?

Does anyone have an answer to this particular question, if I get to this point. I'm having a bit of a mind blank at the moment. I think I remember someone telling me that if you do it the wrong way a horse can be more likely to freak out and hurt itself.
     
    01-08-2013, 11:41 PM
  #15
Yearling
I'm far from being an expert, but I have gone through this with my horse. She was very hard to load when I finally started riding her this spring, I think because her few trailer rides had all had unpleasant consequences, like vet visits & surgery. (Indeed, IIRC she almost always was tranquilized.) Now she's very easy to load. Here's how we went about it, for what it's worth...

As others have said, make sure the horse is good at being led by you before you start.

What we did to start was to hook a lunge line to her halter in addition to the lead rope. That went through a loop in the trailer (it's a two horse, slant load), and was held by the second person, well outside. The idea is to keep enough pressure on it so the horse can't turn quickly and get out, trampling you in the process. The second person may also have a "carrot stick" for the occasional butt smack.

We began leading her into the trailer. At first she would only get her front feet in before she wanted to turn. We kept her from turning for a few seconds, praising her, then let her turn to come out. Eventually she'd get four feet in before wanting to turn. Now when she wants to get out, make her stop and wait a few seconds at the edge (facing out) before telling her to go ahead. Eventually she gets to the point where she will stand in position, and you can clip in a tie rope and close the divider panel. Of course praise and treats are given for each successful step. And what I found very important was that _I_ had to remain calm and treat it as a normal, everyday thing. If I got nervous or hasty (and I am very much a novice), she'd pick up on it and want to turn and get out.

What else I think was important was that every trailer ride meant she either got to go for an interesting trail ride, or to come home, so she came to associate the trailer with good things instead of bad things. Now she loads up like a champ, without any fuss or bother at all. But it did take at least two months of 1-2 rides per week to get there. I honestly don't think it's something you're going to manage in a day, especially by yourself.
     
    01-08-2013, 11:54 PM
  #16
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by apachewhitesox    
If you are on your own would you tie the horse then close the back once it is on or close the back then tie it?

Does anyone have an answer to this particular question, if I get to this point. I'm having a bit of a mind blank at the moment. I think I remember someone telling me that if you do it the wrong way a horse can be more likely to freak out and hurt itself.
Thatd kinda depends on the horse. Will it stand tied and not set back or try to breakaway? If it loads calmly and isn't trying to get away from the killer horse eating trailer, tie then close. If you tie in the trailer. If it wont stand and is freakin out then nether are good options. They can and will break ties, and will beat you to the door. Or stomp you silly. I guess what I'm saying is, the horse needs to be ok with the trailer or either way isn't going to be good. Also I wonder if your thinkin about untying before you open the door? That's more of an issue from what I've seen then loading.
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    01-09-2013, 12:19 AM
  #17
Green Broke
james: Thanks for the reply I also only hope to have him calm around the trailer and calmly walking on and off it. Anything else will just be a bonus.
I'm not just going straight the massive issue. I have broken it down over the past months. Working with him on the ground with leading, working in small spaces, dark spaces, dark small spaces, going up and down ramps, walking on different footing (not always solid sounding footing) etc. This is just putting it together and taking the next step.

Phly: Thanks you might be right I could be thinking of the unloading
     
    01-09-2013, 02:08 AM
  #18
Foal
If your trailer is a straight load, you should close the back before tying the horse when loading. And untie the horse before opening the back to unload. It's worse for unloading because horses know that they are backing out soon and think that once the butt bar/door is open they can back out and forget that they are still tied. It's probably less likely that they'll try to back out and freak out about being tied when you're loading up since they know that they are supposed to stand on there and drive somewhere, but there's still those seconds that you'll walk from one end of the trailer from tying their head to the back to close up. Horses can easily get themselves in trouble in that timeframe.
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    01-09-2013, 01:54 PM
  #19
Trained
I'm going to defer to the straight load folks, I have only used a straight load trailer a few times and that was under protest. They make ME claustrophobic, don't worry about the horse, LOL!

I would say the tying thing would depend on, how well does the horse tie when not in the trailer, how calm is he now about going in and standing and then say, if you have issues with either of those things, solve them first before trying to load by yourself. I also HATE loading by myself, no matter how good the horse is, that's one of the most vulnerable times you'll ever have working with a horse.
     
    01-09-2013, 02:05 PM
  #20
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians    
I'm going to defer to the straight load folks, I have only used a straight load trailer a few times and that was under protest. They make ME claustrophobic, don't worry about the horse, LOL! .
Yeah, I should have looked more closely at the linked picture. Bad me What I did was in a slant load trailer, where the horse has room to walk in, turn around, and walk out again head first (and won't trample you in the process). I've never used a straight load, so the only thing I'm sure will carry over is the bit about staying calm
     

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