How to get a trailer-anxious mare to keep relaxed? - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 10-28-2012, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
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How to get a trailer-anxious mare to keep relaxed?

Alright, so if luck and finances are on my side within the next few weeks, I will (hopefully) become the owner of a little quarter horse/percheron mare, who is 14.3hh and a very sweet, gentle girl. She's very well behaved and has flawless ground-manners, however the owner recently informed me that she can get very anxious when entering a trailer by herself, and this has led to a stressed colic, once before. Transporting her from her current residence to ours would probably be a 15-25 minute drive, and would be on the highway majority of the time. Any pointers as to how I could prevent her getting so worked up?

The owner said that she trailers fine when she's with another horse, so if it's safest, I may rent a two-horse trailer and kidnap a friend of mine's horse for a day, to help out. But, I have no idea if that is even an option. Any pointers?
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post #2 of 8 Old 10-28-2012, 10:03 PM
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Will the seller not accompany you with one of her horses? That's a horse your mare is already familiar with.
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post #3 of 8 Old 10-29-2012, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
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Unfortunately, she only has the one horse and I doubt anyone on the property would lend their horse out for use, aha.

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( things are only getting better )
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post #4 of 8 Old 10-29-2012, 01:53 AM
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My suggestions are:
1. Use, if possible, a trailer that is light coloured inside and roomy
2. Put some hay in the trailer to occupy her (I know it's a short ride but...)
3. Drive carefully - slow to accelerate and/or stop; slow going around corners and do not accelerate until the trailer has finished its turn and is pulling straight behind your truck

and finally (I am not a supporter of chemical warfare but in this circumstance it's worth a thought) consider a mild tranquilizer provided by a vet.

Good luck.
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post #5 of 8 Old 10-29-2012, 03:03 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chevaux View Post
My suggestions are:
1. Use, if possible, a trailer that is light coloured inside and roomy
2. Put some hay in the trailer to occupy her (I know it's a short ride but...)
3. Drive carefully - slow to accelerate and/or stop; slow going around corners and do not accelerate until the trailer has finished its turn and is pulling straight behind your truck

and finally (I am not a supporter of chemical warfare but in this circumstance it's worth a thought) consider a mild tranquilizer provided by a vet.

Good luck.
Thanks so much, this helps a lot. I figured there wasn't much else I could do besides what is listed here, so it'd good to know I wasn't thinking wrong. I'll be sure to rent one that's as open and light as I can get!

sing out, sing out !
( things are only getting better )
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post #6 of 8 Old 10-29-2012, 08:00 AM
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if the person you are buying her from has a trailer, ask if you can visit for a few days before hand. load her up and feed her standing on the trailer.

or if you buy your own trailer down the road remember to just start feeding her on the trailer so she gets used to it and is fine with it.
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post #7 of 8 Old 10-29-2012, 03:17 PM
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If you can borrow a stock trailer it would be better all around. Some horses don't like to be enclosed. Maybe the openess of it will help her and if anything goes bad she's better off than in a 2 horse.
Mine ride better in the stock than slant load. Plus they will turn and face the back..

I had a friend that had a nervous one when hauling and he used quietex with good results...

Just don't rush things and it will be fine. Once she's loaded just go ahead and get moving so she doesn't think to much...If she's moving she'll think more about balancing herself... Slow and easy...Make it a good experience for her...

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post #8 of 8 Old 10-29-2012, 03:43 PM
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Why is she nervous on the trailer?

I think that's the question you should answer, whether or not you ever plan on taking her anywhere once she is at your home.

I purchased Clinton Anderson's trailer loading DVD about a month ago and it is amazing. I highly recommend it. And the DVD is not just about getting your horse on the trailer; it's about everything else, including horses that are nervous on the trailer.

How does she load up? Does she leap into the trailer? (not necesarily a good thing, because that means she's rushing) Does she get out of that trailer as fast as possible once the door is opened? Does she paw and move around alot when on the trailer?

Basically, you need to make this trailer a place of rest for her. The trailer should be a good place to be.

Are you sure her ground manner are perfect? Can you move her feet and any part of her body (shoulders, hindquaters, etc) in any direction at any time? Does she crowd you or run over you when frightened of something? You'll need to work on those things first before working on trailer work.

It sounds like you have a few weeks to work on this, so you should take the time and do that. If her previous owner allows, get over there and work with her on the trailer loading.

You should be able to load her foot by foot. That means she doesn't rush to get into the trailer. She should put a foot in, or back a foot off whenever you say.

And in order to make the trailer a happy restful place (for those who are nervous on the trailer), is you need to make her WORK outside the trailer, and then get to rest inside the trailer. WORK can be lunging circles, changing direction frequently (as that's harder, and it keeps the horse focused on you). Eventually, as you are WORKING her, she'll head for the trailer on her own because she's thinking "Silly human. All I have to do is jump in this trailer and he makes me stop working!". And that's exactly what you want the horse to think.

Do this in the weeks ahead BEFORE you need to move her to your place. This will help her to see that the trailer means rest and it's a good place to be, and no need to be nervous in it.

You can feed her as a treat if you want in the trailer, but that's not entirely going to take her nervousness away.

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