3-year old having trailering problems-I'm out of ideas! - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 14 Old 07-16-2008, 12:33 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: California
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A client I work for sets his trailer up at the gate making it secure, and he opens the barriers up and feeds his spooky horse in the trailer,no feeding anywhere else on the property, everyday for weeks. Eventually his horse easily goes in there to get his feed and special treats. We pet him and rub him always leaving the door open for him to back out at his need in the begining, later he shuts the door on him to eat in the trailer about an hour. The finishing touch of this experience is to secure him in the trailer, door closed, and pull the trailer on an excursion to travel about ten minutes then back home for the horse to finish his meal. An hour later let him back out and lead him to his pasture. For many days after that I take him over to the trailer and show him the treats and feed in the manger, and he will go in to eat again, now the door is closed. Sometimes we drive around a short ride, some times not. It is a long process, but not traumatizing. Very good for yearlings to eat in the trailer and go for rides to no where, just to get used to the trailer drill.

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post #12 of 14 Old 07-17-2008, 09:32 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Texas
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I guess I'm a meanie, I do not train with food. I give a choice with any lesson - do as I ask, or do something harder. Treats are reserved for after the training session or trail ride or whatever and re put in the feed bucket. Sometimes I'll wander to the barn with a bag of carrots if it's their day off but I do not use them as a training tool. I know folks that do, quite successfully but I choose not to, I can't stand nipping.
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post #13 of 14 Old 07-19-2008, 08:15 PM
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Have you tried standing in there with him?? Horses can gain confidence from the person who's "holding" them. But I guess it doesn't help since you're not riding in there with him.

I sorta have the same problem. My boy did not like the trailer. I finally got him to walk all the way in. Then, right after he got his whole body in, I'd back him up. To me, the back up said "good boy." We'd walk right back into the trailer and do the same thing a few more times. Then I'd start having him stand in the trailer for just one second and back him out. After he was comfortable with that, I'd have him stand two seconds. After he was comfortable with that I'd gradually increase the length we stood, making sure I was the one who told him to back out.

If he decided to back out without me, I'd ask him to move forward. The slightest movent forward would be rewarded with him backing out of the trailer.

. . . .Now, I still haven't gotten the butt bar closed But hopefully that is in the very near future. I also groom him the trailer. He also does self load now.

So, hopefully something in this post helps. Good luck
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post #14 of 14 Old 07-19-2008, 09:23 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Re: Trailer loading

Originally Posted by Curly_Horse_CMT
Loosie: my horses dont work for me, they work with me. I dont make them obey me, I ask them. We work as a team, not as a boss and a employee, so to speak.
I think this is a very good point! Agree fully and find it interesting that my comments came out sounding in contrast to this. Actually, in my more pedantic days, I hated hearing the term 'working a horse' and would only talk about 'playing' instead. OK, a pedantic mindset issue, but it's about attitude & intent, in the same way as your above comments & I believe this is imperative.

What I meant was +R means the behaviour works for the horse - leads to desirable outcomes, is effective. Things that aren't reinforced (either positively or negatively) can be thought of as not working - not effective - for the animal. I personally do all I can to make sure that partnership and friendship and *games* are effective for the horse, rather than them just feeling like an employee in a 'job' that must be done.

So I guess you see food treats as 'pay' but you don't see praise & other +R in the same way? I think the difference is to do with our species. Humans desire praise & recognition whereas horses don't tend to care for it(tho it can be a learned bridging signal or secondary reinforcer). OK you would expect 'real'(strong) 'pay' from a boss, but if a friend or partner gave you no praise or recognition, you might not be all that keen to work - or play - with them either. Just because p & r 'works' between human friends doesn't mean it is equally as effective for other species.

The way I look at it: when my horses load in the trailer, I use positive reinforment such as a kind word, patting and then we end the session on a good note.
That's OK, but just wanted people to understand that these things are weak reinforcers, if they are that at all - often they are just 'noise' to the horse. Again, never say never - if they work, they work, regardless of strength.

Our horses have gotten nippy when too many treats were given, so they get grain at the end of a work session. I guess we can just agree to disagree lol
You can read my comments on the c/t thread for more on this if you wish, but essentially, it's what you teach rather than the tools you use and people often don't fully comprehend exactly what behaviours they're reinforcing. I actually find c/t a very effective way to teach good manners and modify the behaviour of a nippy, rude or pushy horse.

Yes, we can certainly agree to disagree I certainly don't think anyone should do what I say just because I said. :P We all need to come to our own conclusions. Just giving my behavioural knowledge as another perspective for people to make more informed decisions. Likewise I like to read & think objectively about other's opinions too, even if on the surface I might think I disagree. I think it's very important to stay open minded, to make the best decisions in the face of further info. I agree with the quote "If you're green you're growing, but if you're ripe you're rotten"

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