Hard-To-Trailer Horse - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 14 Old 03-17-2013, 01:45 PM
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Excellent, Like I said what a wonderfully diverse array of opinions the poster has to work with, good luck to you.

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post #12 of 14 Old 03-17-2013, 10:47 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
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OP, I somehow got the idea your horse was fine to load but stressed out about actually travelling? If that's not the case & he's frightened of everything about the trailer, I'd use a similar start to what beau described very well. Is that CA's 'method'? I should have guessed, because it's basically the same as PP

A few points I think it's worth considering though...

Originally Posted by beau159 View Post
I highly disagree with the method of leaving the horse's food in the trailer. Not only it is possible that some horses will be so scared to go in the trailer that they WON'T eat, but even if they do go in the trailer, they are going in because they wanted to -- not because you have asked them to load. It teaches them nothing.
If the horse is that frightened, I agree that leaving it's only food source right inside the trailer is a bad move. I have seen horses so frightened they go hungry with this approach & be it 'only' a day or so, that's bad for them too - I'd rather not risk colic, not to mention I don't think 'sink or swim' setups are the best way to get anyone over their fears.

*However* if the horse isn't that afraid, &/or you do it gradually(put the feed on the tailgate for a terrified horse & get him confident with that before asking for slightly further, for eg.) I do think it can be helpful. No, it won't teach them how to go in when asked, but it will teach them to become more comfortable & familiar with the trailer, which is usually part of the problem, not just their trust & willingness of what the handler wants.

You shouldn't be getting tired because your feet should not be moving -- the horse's feet should be moving, but not yours.
I'm assuming the 'method' is to lunge or otherwise 'work' the horse when he doesn't do as you ask. This is the principle of 'make the Wrong thing difficult'. It is a very valuable principle in training and great for so many situations, including sometimes for trailer loading IMO.

But I don't believe it's a good one for getting horses over fears - it's a 'sink or swim' ultimatum. It's only making life so unpleasant &/or wearing the horse down so much that he feels he has no choice. I'd consider this a breaking of spirit in order to get the results. Also running a horse around, especially as a kind of punishment, will only further raise their adrenaline, causing them to become - & associate the situation & you with - more anxious. Not to mention I want my horses to enjoy their 'work', not associate it with punishment.

I want my horses to do as I ask because they're confident & trusting of me & happy to do as I ask. They can't learn optimally if they're stressed or exhausted either, especially 'learning' to associate good feelings with doing as I ask & float loading either. Therefore I think it's best to work through any fears gradually & considerately.

**By the way, I don't know that much about CA, but as everything I have seen/read has sounded like almost word for word Parelli, and as Parelli instructs as beau describes, but not for desensitising fears, I'm guessing CA is probably on the same wavelength, but it wasn't clear to you in the DVD or some such. *BTW, I'm also talking about what Parelli taught about 20 years ago - not up with his current stuff.

Every time you do a session with him, how long does it last? You shouldn't be working on this more than 10 to 15 minutes a day.

Are you trying to get him all the way on the trailer each time? You shouldn't be. You need to start in baby steps.
I think they're such big keys. On the first point, I think it depends what you're working on, but even 10 minutes may be way too long depending on how you go about it & what the horse is up to. But there's nothing to say you can't do many 5-10 minute sessions, so long as there are stress free breaks in between. I might, for eg. play with a horse doing something it's already good at & enjoys, then ask it to step on or walk over the tailgate a few times(session 1), then go back to the fun game, then ask for another few goes at the float(session 2), etc.

& the baby steps are a HUGE key in desensitising without stress. The trick is to find the edge of your horse's comfort zone on whatever issue - the point at which he's OK with whatever, but 2 steps further or 2 seconds longer would cause him to become reactive. Get him reliable about going that far/long & then ask him to come away, until he's fully confident & comfortable at that point, before pushing that 'comfort zone' just a little further then repeating.

Eventually, your horse will WANT to put that one foot on the trailer because you are making no big deal of it.
Especially if it also earns Something Good such as a treat or sweet spot scratch, it will want to try that much quicker!. This method sounds tedious & to be fair, it can indeed be to begin with, but if you take the time it takes gradually like this, the horse will gain trust & confidence in YOU(it's not so much about the trailer after all IMO), which causes it to start progressing much more quickly & also rub off on other 'issues'.

I felt that when we outnumbered him he felt after a while that he had no choice..
Of course, some times you may have no choice but to force a horse that's not ready onto a trailer. But that's separate to - & often detrimental to - training IME. I don't think it helps(the horse) to think of it in terms of herd behaviour for this type of thing. Just get it done & do what you have to(as in have to, I don't think it's worth doing if you just want to take the horse out for the fun of it - competition or such, for eg, or because it cost a particular amountlol:), & get back ASAP to taking the time it takes to Desensitise & train properly.

Clinton Andersons DVD is great as are most of the DVD's but unfortunately it just simply does not work on all horses...
Again, not speaking from much knowledge of CA specifically, but if I had a $ for every trainer/technique that I've heard that said of, when there are those who can 'make it work' with virtually any horse... I think that it's because in order to teach people what to do, you have to have a 'recipe' type plan, but that in reality, if it were only that simple! There are only principles, no hard & fast rules & a heap of exceptions, of which perhaps the trainer doesn't emphasise enough, the student misses or misinterprets, the student doesn't have the knowledge or skill to understand more than the recipe...
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post #13 of 14 Old 03-17-2013, 11:04 PM
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I find that this has worked for me (assuming the horse is "sane") ... One person inside, giving pressure n lead rope to move forward. Mind you, not a tug of war with the horse, enough pressure to make it "uncomfortable". One person behind steadily whacking its rump in a steady pattern... Again, not beating the horse, just a firm whack on the backside steadily. Every time the horse even thinks about moving forward, drop all the pressure (both parties). The horse will usually step in, and then step back out- that's normal, just start over. You want steady progress. When the horse moves in and doesn't automatically jump back out (even if its just one foot) back them out yourself (don't fight them, but you want to make sure that they move on your accord. If they back out on their own, start right back over with no release. If they don't back up automatically, let them rest a bit and then back them out.)

Rinse, repeat until all 4 feet go in without balking, and back out without balking.
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post #14 of 14 Old 03-18-2013, 01:19 AM
Join Date: Feb 2013
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agreeded with wausauw this is what we done with my very first horse, she had been forced into trialer by 6 men, slipped and got a huge gash under her eye. We used this same methhod wausauw has done. After doing this everyday for bout 2 weeks she was loading by her self.

There are times when you can trust a horse, times when you can't, and times when you have to.
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