Help With Horse Trailering - Page 3

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Help With Horse Trailering

This is a discussion on Help With Horse Trailering within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    02-22-2009, 04:18 PM
What an interesting thread. I agree with the likes of Koomy who use clear and direct methods when trying to load a horse. Although again the situation changes depending on the horse.
My best mate has had loads of experience getting horses up on trailers that would be something they would NEVER get on in a million years for their owner. I have rarely seen her approach the ramp, perhaps get the front end on it and then retreat so to speak. What does that exactly teach? That you only have to go so far before the ordeal is "over"? Perhaps I misread that and you mean merely make them back off the ramp and come back up and go in further... in which case I have seen happen. No means for attacking your method Spirithorse, I'm just trying to understand what you meant!
I think horses, as naturally claustrophobic animals, find its not the ramp that worries them, or actually being inside the float. It's passing that edge where the roof begins. From there in, the horse realises it can't lift it's head as high as it may want. It would make sense as to why some horses prefer the warmblood sized trailers. My 16.1hh gelding originally would look at the space and go "you think I'm going to fit in there?!" He really proved the roof theory... he had no problems with the ramp, no matter if it was more bouncier than some (unfortunately we don't have our own transport and when hiring sometimes you have to opt for an amazing floor with a ramp that's in good condition but not amazing. And he had no problem when he was inside, even if his long body was JUST in. It was the moment where his head would cross from freedom to restriction.
In one session with my best mate, he learnt to self load. Now I don't have to worry about him rushing backwards when he gets to that point on the ramp. Because he's allowed to take his own time to get passed that point and load himself. He is not rushed, and he is not left to take forever. He get there, takes a breath and gets it over and done with. There is no fear or anxiety in that reaction, he simply knows what he has to do now.
It always makes sense as to why horses will pretty much load themselves on a truck. The roof is MUCH higher than one on a trailer. The horse doesn't have that fear of hitting themselves (if they decide to lift their head) and can see that there's a lot more room height wise.
I personally like to know that my horses will trailer well. There's nothing worse than needing to go to the vet for an emergency xray or making a trip somewhere on the spur of the moment, and then having to take an hour because you know you have a time limit, and the horse doesn't want to get up.
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    02-22-2009, 06:45 PM
Have you tried self loading with her? That did wonders with my paint mare who had problems loading into straight load trailers...
    02-22-2009, 07:02 PM
The approach and retreat method I described is, again, only for horses who are afraid of the trailer. So because he is afraid the worst thing you could do is "shove him over the edge" which in this case would be forcing him to look at the trailer, go toward the trailer, or go in the trailer. If you do, the horse will lose confidence and will not trust you. So you approach the trailer and when you feel the horse hesitate and tense up you stop, let him settle and then retreat. What you are showing him is that you recognize his thresholds and respect the fact that he is afraid, and when you retreat you prove to him that you will not push him past the spot where he is afraid. This builds his confidence in you as his leader because a good leader does not force the other party to do something they are afraid of. They relate to the other party and help them through the situation....thus gaining tons of rapport. So pretty soon, once the horse believes that you will not force him, he will offer you the world because he trusts you completely. There is no fight, no loss of confidence.
    02-22-2009, 07:32 PM
This trailer is extra tall and extra wide because my friends horse is a 17.3 hh Warmblood.
    02-22-2009, 11:09 PM
I would really try the backing the trailer up to something, and creating a box so to speak. What that does is instead of having the claustrophobic horse going from a big ominous area into a tiny box, he'll go from a small space to a small space. It really worked wonders with this mare we had. She'd make the effort to get in with her owners, but then she'd come flying out backwards like she just got stung in the nose. :)
It's worth a shot anyway!
    02-23-2009, 11:06 AM
LOL @ ratbags...
    02-23-2009, 03:49 PM
Is it just that my horse does not want to go in the trailer in the "You can't make me!" way? Or is she actually afraid?

This is what she does about trailers:

Even the sight of the trailer will freak her out. I had her in the cross ties and she flung her head upwards a couple of times because a trailer was backing up outside the barn. She started backing up and whinnying, which she normally never does.

There is a really long driveway at the barn I’m at and we have to walk up it sometimes when we need to trailer somewhere because of the snow and the driveway not being snowplowed and such. Well, I was walking her up it one time and she started flipping her head up again (almost ripping my arm off in the process) and she was whinnying and she was trying to turn around and run back home.

Whenever we try to get her in the trailer she might go on the ramp but then she’ll freak out and rear up fully and shake her head. If we get her in and don’t get the back bar fast enough, she’ll flip out and try to rear in the trailer and get out really fast. She even slid on the ramp with her knees trying to get out and made her knees all bloody. =(

Can anyone identify if she’s afraid or just stubborn? Thank you.
    02-23-2009, 03:54 PM
She is scared to death.
    02-23-2009, 07:51 PM
Originally Posted by Spirithorse    
She is scared to death.
    02-23-2009, 11:08 PM
How sad. :( Do you know if she has had a wreck in a trailer before? Any idea to what caused her severe anxiety?

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