This past Saturday I rode Arabella in the downtown St. Louis St. Patricks Day parade with my ranch and she did awesome! Here are a few pictures from the parade..BUT she didn't do so awesome with trailering. She is great with loading, I can just point and she hops in since we've been practicing a lot. We practice in a 4 horse slant load without the tack compartment in the back and a wider door, like the 2nd trailer picture. She backs out of that just fine even when it is a big step down. However, she got assigned to the slant load with the tack room in the back for this parade like the 1st picture. She loaded into this one okay, not perfect like when we practice, as she was alittle hesitant with the narrower opening but still went right in. When we finally got downtown to unload, she would not back out of this trailer. She refused to move and tried to turn around but she's a big horse so there was no way to turn around. Took about 30 minutes with alot of frustration that I know made her even more terrified. We were all stressed and in a hurry to get to the parade staging area. So my question is, any ideas on how to work on this with her? I know it was out of fear, and it will take patience, but I'm worried if I put her back in this trailer to practice she won't get out before I have to leave the barn, without going through all this frustration again?
If you have a person width door--~34" wide, 6' tall--in your barn, practice "loading" with that, instead. I NEVER had any problems loading my original herd into my slant load trailer w/tack room on the left, rear, but I never thought much of it, until I realized that at the previous place, I constantly led my lesson horses through the door to my hay/grain room to grab lesson supplies. They saw no difference between this and the 1/2 width of loading space.
Also, practice with the trailer until your horse is SO BORED with it that you aren't frightened of the experience, either. =D
I personally like the exercise of putting one foot on the trailer, then same foot out.
Two feet in two feet out ect.
That is how I rectified my problem and it worked great and still works great.
Agree, this is how we're teaching my yearling. She gets one foot on, we praise, then make her back out. Then two feet on, praise, then make her back out. That way she gets super confident with the front feet backing out. Then we put her all the way in, and teach her the word "step". So when she gets close to where she has to drop her hind foot out of the trailer, we say "STEP, STEP" so that she searches with that foot.
Also combined with a lot of backing practice at home, backing through poles, backing into fences. And, believe it or not, squaring up lessons. I can control each foot at a time, and where they are supposed to step. So we go one step back at a time, and I can adjust how far each foot steps.