Loading a difficult horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 06-28-2012, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Apr 2011
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Loading a difficult horse

This has probably been the subject of 1,000 threads so far but couldn't find any that we're fairly similar to my situation.

When I got my gelding he loaded onto the guys 3 horse slant no issues. (not sure if he was drugged or not...)

When we moved him he loaded onto a 3 horse slant no issues again. (different trailer then the first one) but when he got off he was dripping sweat around his neck and seemed a bit freaked out. The ride was less then 5 minutes and we went right down the road. We were infront of the trailer so not sure if something bad happend or what. But the ride was literally 5 minutes.

Then we bought ourselves a nice 2 horse straight load gooseneck. It's pretty nice, definitely big enough for him too.

He will go right up to the trailer but won't go up any further. Sometimes he will step in halfway look around, then back out.

The last time I tried practicing loading with him the day we actualy needed him to load he completely refused to go anywhere near the trailer.

The time I didn't practice he loaded within 20 minutes with some coaxing with grain.

Now, I have to move my two on Tuesday and I practiced alittle bit yesterday but didn't push anything. He would come right up to the ramp and then put on the brakes. He's not scared, just being extremely stubborn. My pony who got into a trailer accident surprisingly loads with little coaxing. I only tried loading her though with the divider pushed to the side because she only has one eye.

I also forgot to add that when hes on the trailer hes okay but a bit ancy. But once we start moving he starts pouring sweat. I mean the last time when he loaded within 20 minutes on our way home we stopped at a gas station and it looked like a sauna in the trailer. (it was 30/40 degrees outside at the time) so he got himself super worked up.

Now it'll be a miracle if I can get them both in the trailer, but doubt it'll happen. So that means I'll have to load one drive to the new boarding barn, drop that one off in our private paddock which means that one will be alone until I get back with the other. Ugh!

Any tips and suggestions are welcome. I know I can try working him around the trailer and try to make him think the trailer is a 'happy place' but no matter how hard I try he just is stubborn and puts on the brakes.
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Last edited by Cowgirls Boots; 06-28-2012 at 08:18 PM.
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post #2 of 4 Old 06-28-2012, 11:40 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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post #3 of 4 Old 07-03-2012, 12:09 AM
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I have TBs that can definitely be a handful, and I'll tell you what works for me, and maybe it can help for you too!
I basically make the trailer the only friendly place to be. I open the escape doors (if you have any) and lighten the space as much as possible but never provide food bribes.
Outside the trailer, however is where all the monsters lie. I'll attempt to first load them without any other encouragement, not looking at them while walking them up. If/when they refuse, I lunge them on a medium-legnth distance on the lunge line and whip if you need it. Basically make them move their feet, and constantly asking for changes in direction by them yielding their haunches.
This is the "punishment" just making them move their feet when they're not in the trailer. After a few minutes of doing this, ask them again to load in the trailer with no other distractions, and no treats or food.
If they step up closer or react even a little better than the last attempt, then lots of praises. It's likely they won't get in the second time, but you then just do the same, make their feet move a few minutes, and try again. As time progresses, ask them to pick up the pace from walk to trot, trot to canter, and what have you, with often direction changes, every couple of strides to keep them focused on you, and working them harder. Soon they'll find that the trailer is a place where you aren't asking them to work, and when they move more in the trailer, good things happen. Maybe a rub on the neck, or verbal love will work.
Biggest things I find will ruin this method, is food for reward, and any sort of physical reprimand, even as you grow frustrated (and believe me I'm not one against a solid thump when they're acting a muck) It just frazzles their minds, and both will just elevate the situation.
Hope this helps, and please ask any questions!!! :)
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post #4 of 4 Old 07-03-2012, 12:28 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Mar 2010
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Check out Clint Anderson's trailer loading videos. He does pretty much what Greener Side said. I'm not promoting him, but the method works, and I've seen it work more than once.
You make the trailer the safe spot, and work outside the trailer, letting him rest near or in the trailer. Your timing has to be spot on though, because if you don't release at the right time, he won't understand what you are asking him to do.
Be patient, it can take a long time before he is comfortable enough to just walk in the trailer. It pays off in the long run though.

So in lies the madness, the pursuit of the impossible in the face of the complete assurance that you will fail, and yet still you chase.
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