Bens loading lessons! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 10-02-2012, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Saskatchewan
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Bens loading lessons!

Big Ben was a great loader, when I originally got him we transferred him from his nice posh slant load into my old stock and he jumped right in.

Fast forward a couple of months and a friend took him to ride for a couple of weeks, he jumped right on the trailer after me and off he went. I was surprised when he was due to come back that she said he didn't load, so he was a day late coming home.

Then I was due to take him to a lesson, tried to load him, refused totally to go on, rearing up, bolting away, just a real PITA.

Worked on him for a while, and managed to get him to load, and he loaded quite well to go to the trainers, and 2 months later loaded again, with only a little fuss to come home again.

He was due to go to a lesson with me on Saturday, this time with a friend, so she arrived in the yard with her trailer, and once again, he would have nothing to do with after a while I had to give up and take one of the girls instead.

Debs who I was trailering with wanted to try lunging him, the work and see the trailer as a place of rest, tried it when we came home and he was having none of that thank you. I also tried putting him on mine, just in case it was the different trailer that upset him, but no joy.

So yesterday at 5 pm or there abouts I started lunging Ben by the trailer, I don't know how long we did that but he never got to the stage where he was interested in looking to the trailer as a place of rest, so I quit with that one.

Started leading him up to the trailer, and keeping pressure on him until he gave me forward, we kept getting to the stage where he would be lifting a foot, but not actually placing it in the trailer, then he would go into major reverse. Every time he went in reverse I got after him, brought him up to the trailer and back to pressure and release.

The sun set, it got cold, the light was fading, when he gave a huge sigh, and stepped his front feet up, I stopped him there, gave him a mouthful of feed, then backed him off, he tried to rush threw his head up and grazed the roof, *sigh*

So I brought him up again and WHOOPEE, front feet on again, mouthful of feed, back him off, a little better. Third go, walks front feet straight on, stands and finishes the crumbs in the pail, then backs off slowly, let me keep his head low, listened for the cues to back, and stepped down nicely.

Had a nice cuddle, and put him away......lets see how today goes.

The big wins

He only once did his super high speed, reversing to Alberta trick, the rest of the time he only backed up a few steps, and gave to the pressure on the halter.

He will now straighten up smartly with the dressage whip waved along his side, he tries to come in crooked and slide round the side of the trailer, but that got better as time went on.
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post #2 of 10 Old 10-02-2012, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Saskatchewan
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Day 2

Today I decided to go and work with the horses, then finish up in here, yeah like that is going to happen [IMG]http://**************.com/Smileys/Lots_O_Smileys/laughing7.gif[/IMG]

I intended to ride Ben, but as the wind is currently blowing 3 parts of a gale and is making every sheet of tin in the place rattle, and Ben is a little lively I chicken out and go for some ground work, seems he has never seen a ground pole before now, that was a shock for the poor boy LOL.

Then it was time to go visit the trailer, didn't start so well, he had a major melt down walking towards it, but once we found forward gear, he walked up, hesitated briefly, did his little which foot first dance (it occurred to me that he looks like me getting onto a escalator) then woomph, he is on the trailer beside me, had no time to stop him at front feet on, he is all the way in. I let him relax and chill, have a mouthful of food, then take him off, and then we do it 3 more times[IMG]http://**************.com/Smileys/Lots_O_Smileys/icon_thumleft.gif[/IMG][IMG]http://**************.com/Smileys/Lots_O_Smileys/headbang.gif[/IMG]

So in that case I see food as a reward, I don't hold it in front of him as a bribe, but offer it to him once he is in as a reward. I'm happy with what I'm doing, so not going to change it, but welcome the discussion....
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post #3 of 10 Old 10-02-2012, 10:46 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Ontario
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You are braver than I. I will not go into the trailer with a horse. He either goes in on his own or I send him in. Too many people have been hurt in trailers with a horse that gets upset or panics. An experienced rider walked her difficult horse into a big trailer after a jumping competition at the Biltmore Estates. She didn't come out of the trailer alive.
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post #4 of 10 Old 10-03-2012, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Saskatchewan
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I have a stock trailer, so you have to go in with them, other wise I can't close the centre door.

I've led horses into lorries, and trailers, jump on and ramped, slant load, straight load, stock and walk through, and have always led them in. It is the way I was taught, accidents can happen any time.
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post #5 of 10 Old 10-03-2012, 09:28 AM
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keep it up GH he will get it soon enough and wont need the treats:)
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post #6 of 10 Old 10-03-2012, 12:21 PM
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Congrats! So happy to hear he got right in! I agree with the whole treats as a reward not a bribe (im the same way)

Never forgot the horse that taught you to be fearless (Braveheart RIP) the horse that taught you to stay strong no matter how bumpy the road is (Caesar) and the horse that always had to test gravity by throwing you in the air (Cali)
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post #7 of 10 Old 10-03-2012, 12:51 PM
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Since he's giving trouble only sometimes, could something be happening INSIDE the trailer while you're on the road that's scaring him and turning him off of it?
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post #8 of 10 Old 10-03-2012, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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Could be, but he loaded ok to go to the trainers, then wasn't to bad coming home. Part of the problem is being in a hurry, loaded him a couple of times then hauled him, now he is walking in quietly I will load him on and off 3 or 4 times every day until we travel again.

Hopefully that will reset the memory to being a good experience.
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post #9 of 10 Old 10-03-2012, 03:26 PM
Green Broke
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GH, I wonder if something happened in the trailer ride when you loaned him out. I'd be very hesitant to let that individual trailer him again.

Nothing may have happened though, my horse went from jumping in and happily trailering to pretty much the same reaction you are having and he's never had any sort of bad trailer experience. Hang in there, I'm sure you'll have him happily jumping in soon... I've been doing about the same things you are any my guy is getting better and better. I was really nervous his last ride as the Vet has just stitched his leg up and I needed to move him to a friend's barn for stall rest. Even though his leg had to really hurt as the Vet had me wait until the pain meds wore off, he got on with encouragement and other than sweating a lot, was very quiet on the ride there and quietly stepped off. HUGE improvement over his usual crazily running out as fast as he could.
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post #10 of 10 Old 10-03-2012, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Saskatchewan
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I am confident we will get there, Mr G was a complete ass to load when we first got him, but he was awesome in the end.

Ben has a day off today, but we will start again tomorrow and see how he goes.
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