Finally loads trailer; but backs off right away - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 7 Old 08-06-2012, 12:16 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jul 2012
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Finally loads trailer; but backs off right away

We were very very patient with my horse until he finally got in the trailer, little by little. I reached a point at which I thought this would never happen. Now I am so surprised and overjoyed that he walks right in! We achieved this by taking it very slow and rewarding him for each step by petting and backing him out. When he finally put four feet in we would give him a handful of grain and he would back out. After doing this a few times he walked in very easily and without hesitation. So, we decided we must stop relying on grain. He still walks right in, but backs out after a few seconds. He stayed in longer with grain. We are thinking that we just need to keep practicing, and when he stands in there longer than usual reward him with petting and backing out. Is that a good idea or is there a better way?

He is a 12 year old gelding, he was free from a neighbor-who received him from a friend who didn't want him. I know almost nothing about his past but he was untouched for over two years before I got him

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post #2 of 7 Old 08-06-2012, 12:24 PM
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Don't block him from wanting out, he will feel trapped. Keep doing what you are doing. Lunge him when he backs out. Repetition with time. He will eventually figure out it is nicer to load and stand still in the trailer than it is lunging outside.
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Last edited by goneriding; 08-06-2012 at 12:26 PM.
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post #3 of 7 Old 08-06-2012, 12:36 PM
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Instead of trying to explane who I teach a horse to load I thaught I would just post this link. This is very similar to how I do it and even adds so much more info and will be added too.

Lifes A Journey Stop Often

Then click the video link.

-I'm so busy... I don't know if I found a rope or lost my horse.
-An Armed Man is a Citizen an unarmed man is a subject.
-Where ever free speech is stifled Tyranny will reign.

Last edited by nrhareiner; 08-06-2012 at 12:41 PM.
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post #4 of 7 Old 08-06-2012, 01:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you! I forgot to mention that we do lunge when he backs off
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post #5 of 7 Old 08-06-2012, 02:02 PM
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repitition..repitition.. oh and try doing it again. Lol.. eventually you'll have to push them a bit. I take the rope and hold it outside the trailer and apply a bit of pressure when they back up.. not enough to alarm them but just enough that they understand I want them to stay put. Then allow them to back out. It takes time but you'll get there. Then at some point you just gotta close the door and haul them around the block.
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post #6 of 7 Old 08-06-2012, 04:02 PM
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You just have a treat-smart horse. He gets a treat everytime he goes in, so backing out just creates another opportunity to go back in for another one. Our mare Lady figured this out very fast. We had to change the game to treat after the butt bar is up and door closed.
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post #7 of 7 Old 08-06-2012, 04:34 PM
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I really recommend CA's method to get him comfortable in the trailer. We had the same problem with my (now) 6yo KMH. We used the method, where you lunge back and forth with the trailer in between and open. The ONLY place he got a rest was in the trailer, and every time we repeated the exercise he WANTED to go in and rest there. NOW, no problems loading. PLUS, a lot of my groundwork in backing, and he backs very well out of my step-up, as well. Right now, you're asking "Pretty please and you'll get a treat." He is afraid of the space and fear will trump treats every time.
Btw, I have a 4-horse slant load, and I closed it to train him so that only the back stall was open, so as to prevent him turning himself around in the trailer.
Sometimes trailer-scared horses will injure themselves turning around in the trailer. I had a spooky mutt gelding--the one that was afraid of his shadow and threw me and broke my arm 8 years ago--are HE hurt himself in this trailer trying to turn himself around. I trailered him to his new home (previous owner) with my older, calm gelding in the front stall, and there was plenty of room to turn around, but he panicked. They MUST walk in and back out.
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